Shoulders, who needs shoulders

October 20, 2013 17:52 | Categories:

Don't ever discount the power of jinxes. I had been joking recently that I had gone almost a year without surgery. Bad choice!

October 2 after golf I got sick at my stomach. I could not keep anything down. That continued through the evening, but by morning things were back to normal. Then a week later, also after golf same thing happened. Maybe something I ate at the club both days. (That did not make sense since all I had was iced tea and popcorn.)

The next day things had not improved. Maybe the flu? But I had got my flu shots several weeks earlier, so if the flu then a rogue strain. Friday things were still not good. I managed to keep a small amount of soup down, but not enough to sustain. No fever, either.

By Saturday Nurse Susan was concerned and called the doctor. He told us to go to the Emergency room, so that is where I spend Saturday night. I got a CAT scan (actually, two.) The diagnosis was a hiatal hernia that my stomach had intruded through.

I was admitted to the hospital Sunday morning about 3 am. By then I was so dehydrated that the doctor had two bags of saline pushed as fast as the drip would go. The day doctor added some glucose and potassium to the drip for electrolyte balance and nourishment.

I was admitted by a doctor from the group of the surgeon who repaired my inguinal hernia several years ago. When he saw me Sunday morning he said that I would need surgery to put things back in place. About half my stomach was in my chest and it was twisted to boot. (That is why nothing stayed down—stomach filled up and the only way to empty was back the way the food came.) Anyway that doctor thought the procedure could be done laparoscopicly, but not by him.

So we got a new doctor. Dr. Bui was a stomach specialist. He confirmed the diagnosis and proscribed a nasal-gastric tube to take care of the fluid that could not get out of the stomach. That was exciting. Seems I have a tolerance problem with things at the back of my throat. They tried three times with a normal adult tube but I could not tolerate them. Finally a pediatric tub was put in place and I was able to let it stay.

The doc needed some barium stain x-rays to judge what kind of repair he would make. Susan asked if they could be done with the tube in place (so we shortened as much as possible the waiting time.) Turned out the answer was yes, so I got the x-rays. Good thing, too. The NG tube was not actually in my stomach. It was only draining the fluid in my lower esophagus. That got fixed in X-ray.
The radiologist determined that no barium was exiting the stomach—a complete block. He seemed concerned enough that he called Dr. Bui before even writing up his findings. Dr. Bui had surgery time on Wednesday and Thursday. I got the second slot on Wednesday.

Surgery started late (not unusual) and lasted longer than forecast. But it was done laparoscopicly, so my recovery will be quicker. Five holes in my belly but no muscles cut.
I was released from the Hospital on Friday. Have two weeks of a liquid diet, then progress to a soft diet for a week. By the second week of November I will be starting a regular diet. So, probably no tacos for my birthday but definitely a full Thanksgiving dinner.