It's mid-November and we still don't have a schedule for C's second surgery. It's been a little over 3 months, but as many of the nurses have warned us, usually people wait longer than that to get their surgery. We just had high hopes since our Dr. said he would get us in end of October, but as of now, we're not even looking at 2017 anymore. But by God's grace, as I mentioned previously in our posts, C has already gotten back to work. We were even able to go on an amazing trip to Peru!
A few weeks after we got back, C was busy working. And work is work, you know. There's up's and down's and stressful moments, that's part of it. He took a break for lunch and received a phone call again from a customer so he had to go back. And C being his responsible self usually wouldn't be able to let this customer wait, so he finished his lunch quickly and went back to the customer right away.
C didn't feel good after lunch, and neither did he for the next couple of hours.
He came home and I was just finishing work, and he said he was going to lie down because he wasn't feeling good at all. That raised my level of concern as he hadn't said anything remotely close since we went to the hospital 3 months ago. When I finished work and checked up on him, he was in so much pain and he was almost feverish. I suspected he had a blockage and I thought he was trying to hold off the pain all on his own.
I couldn't wait. We had to go to the hospital.
Despite it being close to 5 in the afternoon on a rainy Thursday, traffic wasn't bad at all, as we headed to St. Paul's. It's not our closest hospital but we wanted to make sure that they knew what to do with him, since he had his surgery and his last hospital visit there. Throughout the car ride, I kept praying for God to open the roads for us and it was actually a smooth drive getting to the hospital, although it was probably eternity for C who was visibly in a ton of pain at this point.
The moment we got to the hospital and the triage, I heard the nurse call for a Level 2 Emergency in the waiting room, which meant that C was really high up in the priority. At this point, C was in so much pain that he was sobbing.
I had never seen C cry this much, or at all, through the many years of his suffering. It really broke my heart.
Thankfully, within 7 minutes he got his bloodwork going and a few minutes after that we were in the stretchers being examined. They immediately gave him an IV, and were just about to give him morphine when C threw up, all 1300cc of it. Lunch, water, stomach fluids, everything.
I know it may sounds terrible but it was actually good that this had happened so that it could relieve the pressure a little bit from his stomach. After that, they were able to give him the morphine.
The next step was a CT scan to check what is going on inside. The wait was almost 2 hours but it was nothing compared to how long the regular people had to wait to get a CT scan. I took a quick break to get some dinner, and of course things happen when I'm not around, haha. They admitted him to the acute emergency unit got his CT scan. In the acute emergency unit we were surrounded by tons of patients in various degrees of pain and suffering, definitely lots of moaning and shrieking, and the bickering of an incredibly rude patient that was right next to us. He really sounded like a parrot.
But thankfully, we had a "room" at the unit, with two real walls instead of curtains, so that helped give us some privacy at that moment.
After much waiting, the doctor came back to report that C did have an intestinal blockage and it was higher-up in his intestines, almost right after his stomach.
While it was good to know what was causing all of his pain, we weren't excited to hear that he would have to get an NG tube, plus a couple days stay in the hospital. The hospital really is not a fun place to be. We were hoping to get sent home since C had his pain in control at this point, but of course we knew nothing was resolved yet because after vomiting, his blockage was still there.
So the next step was to put in an NG tube. It's a 0.25 inch tube that they put through your nose into your stomach and suction your gastric juices out.
No fun. Especially because C's blockage was higher up in the intestines, with the blockage still there, it will take no time for his stomach to fill up with gastric juices which naturally occur, and put pressure / pain on the blockage. What the NG tube was doing was to help reduce the pressure so that the body can get working on the blockage and resolve it naturally. 80% of the cases can be resolved naturally, else it would require surgery, which we wouldn't want.
While the doctor said that blockages typically happen as a complication from surgery when adhesions occur in odd spots in your small intestine, and that people with abdominal surgery are especially at risk, we definitely felt the stressful moment of weakness with the customer + lunch contributed to it all.
The doctor slowly inserted the tube and C had to swallow it through, and it was in for 3 days. It also somehow caused some kind of sore throat which made C tired and sick and irritable. This was really not how we had imagined post-surgery to be like (this is our 4th visit to the hospital this year, 3rd unplanned) but we knew that God had a plan and was sustaining us through this crazy time.
Before long, C was wheeled into the surgical ward on the 10th floor, where we were a few months ago when C had his surgery. We recognized some of the nurses while we were there, who were hoping that they wouldn't see us again :(
The second day at the hospital, we found out that C is on a 3 day plan for recovery, so most likely he would be at the hospital for a total of 4 days (admittance being day 0).
We actually thought that C probably resolved the blockage by the morning as he didn't need to take morphine any longer, and he no longer had any pain, except the annoying NG tube.
Hospital stays come with great stories, I could imagine someone writing snippets about this one day.
This time around we were placed in a room with 4 beds, with the three beds full as well. They were all older and seemingly good friends, and extremely loud. One was a recurrent patient and had to leave later on the second day, so we didn't know much about him. One was a diabetic who kept leaving his hospital bed and heading to the cafeteria in his wheelchair and his table was full of treats and snacks. He was in line to have surgery to remove his legs but man he definitely was making most of his last few days with them. And the last guy could win an award for being the loudest patient ever, perhaps because he was a teacher, and so he had a loud voice. I just couldn't comprehend for the life of me why he had to vocalize his conversations with the nurse every single time. He could go out for walks in his crutches and all, but he decides to talk extremely loudly on the phone so that the whole world could hear his conversations with his many, many friends. LOL.
But thankfully C had a much better outlook than me about this, so he just ignored it all and was just focused on getting out of the hospital.
Day 2 and 3 were both fairly uneventful, except for the occasional snow and flurries. C was in a very conservative plan for recovery so he was just asked to rest the entire time.
Thankfully, on Day 4 they decided to test plugging the NG tube to see whether or not C will have any bloating / nausea - essentially to decide whether or not the blockage is gone. This test was going to last for 4 hours. I went for a walk so that I didn't have to stare at the clock, haha. Thankfully it went well. We got approval to remove the NG tube, and C was allowed to have some jello and eventually some solids.
The last test was solids. If he could keep it down and also have some output, then that's a good sign that we could go home.
And of course C had to have his favorite cupcake, the red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting for his solid test (hospital food is so gross).
By God's grace, all was well. The blockage was gone, and C was finally given the green light to go home! It's honestly crazy spending another 4 days at the hospital (on a weekend, too!) but we went home with a lesson learned, because these hiccups are so painful! Both C & I are incredibly passionate about our work and while it's great to do that, we just shouldn't ever let it compromise our health, which is priceless. Our God is able to sustain us whatever challenge we'd have to face at work, so it's ok to take it easy just a little bit.
We are hoping and praying that C will never have to ever experience a blockage or any other complication again, but we don't know. All we can do is move forward, and trust God. Chew a little longer, eat a little slower, take a little easier ;)