Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Crohn's Emergency Room Visit

Our Crohn's Emergency Room Experience


Basically if you have Crohn's, it really stinks to have to go to the Emergency Room. Because you're in lots of pain, really nauseous (with potential of throwing up in front of other people - awful, just awful), and feeling really bloated, but you're not considered to be a "life-threatening" case in the eyes of the ER staff. That being said, things move realllllllllly slow for you. Why? Because the guy who comes in having a heart attack, and the family who've been in a car accident take precedent and your doctor ends up spending lots of time with them, and you lay there looking at the same spot on the wall for, eh, roughly 15+ hours.

This was us in the Emergency Room today. We saw a hospitalist right away, got labs and some other tests done quickly, and then sat... and sat... and sat some more, waiting for Brandon to be taken back to Radiology for a CT scan. Then we waited for um, a long time, and a little while longer, for the results to be read. Then we waited for someone to come and tell us the results. Then we saw a few more doctors and did a little more waiting. Oh, and we're still waiting. Ha. No, really, we are.

Brandon has a partial intestinal blockage at the site where they stapled him back together after removing those 18 inches in his surgery a year ago. One of the physicians showed us the CT scan and it is crazy that you can see where he was put back together and how different the intestines are above and below that site. No wonder the poor guy is in so much pain. (Insert sad face emoji.)

The whole day I was afraid someone was going to say the "S" word. You know, "surgery." The whole day basically feels like a blur, since I'm running on 4 hours of sleep, a cup of coffee, and a lot of adrenaline (and anxiety). The GI surgeon came to see Brandon this afternoon and said that they'd like to take a conservative approach, but then the GI doc called and said that the site of the blockage is too high to reach through a lower scope and too low to reach through an upper endoscopy. Sooo, essentially, our options are steroids and medications and time OR ... the "S" word. (insert despair face emoji, or the sad face one again, or let's be real, both of them)

I cannot tell you how exhausting an Emergency Room visit of this magnitude is. I'm sure some of you know what I'm talking about, but for those of you who have been blessed enough to have never had to visit the ER, its just this crazy hurry-up-and-wait, anxiety-filled time of pain and unease, and getting really stiff (hospital furniture leaves a lot to be desired). Plus, there's this thing called shift change, where all the nursing staff switches out and you have to get to know a new nurse, feel them out (you know, whether they have a good attitude or if they stink, or whatever) and tell your story AGAIN. We probably said the same thing 16 times today, because that many doctors and nurses were in and out of our ER room. Plus, its this disjointed awkward retelling of the story, because we're sleep deprived, one of us is doped up on pain meds, and we can't remember who we told what, and when. And leaving out details is not an option, not when your intestines are at stake anyway.

On a high note, I got to eat a really lackluster sandwich from the hospital cafeteria, and Brandon didn't have to drink contrast for his CT scan. I kid, I kid. That was my attempt at sarcasm as a coping mechanism, but I really did have a pretty lifeless sandwich and Brandon really didn't have to drink contrast, which is a blessing, because when you're bloated and feeling full and overly nauseous, being told you have to drink 32 oz of wanna-be powerade-like syrup is definitely awful.

Please pray that he will get admitted quickly and get into a room upstairs soon. He has been laying on a stretcher (again, it leaves a lot to be desired, or in Brandon's words "Its a glorified piece of cardboard") ALL DAY and he's ready to be a little more comfortable. Also, please be praying that the GI doctors and GI surgeons can collaborate well together tomorrow and come up with a solid solution. While we're praying we can avoid surgery, we also want the best solution for the long-term. We don't want to put a bandaid on a big problem and end up back here again next week.

Pray that we can get some rest, that the boys experience some normalcy, and that we can arrange for childcare for them if I need to be with Brandon at the hospital.

Thank you for being our prayer warriors, and for reading such rousing and comical posts (read: long and heavy/depressing) about our experience with Crohns and our long day in the Emergency Room.

Look for more rousing and entertaining satires later (insert big toothy smile emoji, or the laughing one).

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