Gut it Out

Well, that’s 5,400 minutes I’ll never get back…..

Last Wednesday afternoon, I told Bill I knew in my heart of hearts (well, really my gut of guts) that I needed to go to the Emergency Room. Heck, it had been nearly four months since my last visit. Plus, I had a houseful of company — my sister from Arizona and our family from Vermont, including grandsons I only get to see a few times a year. What perfect timing and a simply fabulous idea.

But I knew something was amiss and I was right. Unlike last time I was in the hospital in April, however, after which I wrote a generally amusing blog post about my hospital experience, there was virtually nothing funny about my most recent stay.

I’ll tell my readers right now that there is every possibility that this will happen again. And again. It seems my bowel resection in 2011 didn’t say goodbye to me when the doctors stitched me back together and I went out the Mesa hospital door. The scar tissue is omnipresent, and may occasionally rear its ugly head.

What this means in practical terms is occasional bowel obstructions. Last time it was the small bowel. This time it was the large bowel. I don’t like to discriminate.

It actually all began a week or so earlier when I began having muscle spasms in my neck, likely a result of the arthritis that presents there. I haven’t had a serious bout of arthritis in that particular spot in literally years. But wait! My sister is headed my way! Now is the time.

I think I have a pretty high threshold for pain, but I found the muscle pain to be nearly unbearable. Nothing helped. Not heat; not cold; not massage; not gin and tonics. Nothing. I tried to make an appointment with my primary care physician, who could get me in sometime around Addie’s graduation. From college.

Please, please, please, can you just prescribe me a pain medication? I promise I’m not going to go downtown and sell it in the nightclubs. I couldn’t even get into the nightclubs as I don’t own proper attire.

No can do. Not their fault, but being a controlled substance and all, I had to see a physician. So I did. A very nice fellow at the neighborhood urgent care who cheerfully prescribed Vicodin and sent me on my way.

I’m not going to go on and on about this (though reading back, it appears I already have), but one thing lead to another and I began experiencing one of Vicodin’s most renown side effects (which the friendly doctor never mentioned) – constipation.

After seven days of not, well, you know, I was bloated, had regular and severe cramps, and knew something was wrong. It was. I would go into detail, but then I’d just been like one of those people in the lobbies of retirement homes that sit and compare ailments. I’m actually afraid I already am.

What I will tell you, however, is that a few days after my April hospital visit, Bill and I went to Disneyland. This time I can barely get out of my chair. Ladies and gentlemen, this one kicked my butt.

Finally, after indescribable indignities, painful procedures, and more forms of laxatives than you would ever imagine are made (including one that was shot directly into my stomach), the blockage finally made its way past the narrow part where the scar tissue eagerly awaits, and I was able to go home.

And the good news? My muscle spasms in my neck have stopped!

I will leave you with a couple of upbeat notes.

300px-Betty_White_Sue_Ann_Nivens_1973Friday afternoon, I felt my absolute worst. I had been given a medication that bloated my stomach to the point that I could have floated right next to Snoopy in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. I was in excruciating pain, and was just this side of a Dilaudid coma. I felt horrible. It was right then that the hospital nutritionist reckoned she should stop by to give me a pep talk on proper eating. She was lovely, reminding me of Sue Ann Niven of The Mary Tyler Moore Show fame. My obvious physical discomfort didn’t dissuade her. She continued to speak cheerfully about fiber and fresh fruits and vegetables and making sure you blah blah blah even as the attendants were lifting me onto the gurney to take me to my next procedure. I promise you this is a true story.

The second upbeat note is that on Saturday, I was able to see every single one of my grandkids. All nine of them. Not at the same time. Still, even in my state of duress, that made me happy.

Here are a few examples of why……


Maggie and Joseph on a camping trip. Photo taken by Dave.

Joseph and Alastair on the same camping trip.

Joseph and Alastair on the same camping trip.

Kaiya and Mylee at recent  Renaissance Festival.

Kaiya and Mylee at recent Renaissance Festival.


Micah going vroooooom.

Aren’t they they cutest things ever? And these photos are just a sampling!

4 thoughts on “Gut it Out

  1. Get well soon and keep……. well, you know. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the hilarious and spot on Emoji many of us sent you while hospitalized! 😗

    • I remember when I first learned about the particular emoji about which you speak. I wondered who would ever use it and under what circumstances? Little did I know…. And you’re right. The emoji did appear on texts from many different people. My sides hurt from laughing.

  2. I was thinking it might be the noodle bowl and feeling terrible! Now, I’m just thinking of that bones song — Toe bone connected to the foot bone; Foot bone connected to the heel bone; Heel bone connected to the ankle bone… and I’m wondering about muscle/organ version — the bowel and the neck, aw shoot! Good thing I’m not that kind of doctor!

Comments are closed.