It seems as though every time I get one of those exciting moments of doing something normal, I end up back in the hospital. First, there was the tonsillectomy after a weekend of hanging out listening to island music. Then, shingles followed lobster-diving with Fred in July. Now, a few days after pulling off the Weekend Warrior show, I headed back to the ER with some serious cramping in my stomach and an afternoon spent regurgitating leftover turkey soup.
Initial x-rays showed that I had a swollen bowel, which means there is probably some sort of obstruction. With my CT scans done four weeks ago showing nothing, the likelihood is that this isn’t cancer-related. The ER doctor stated this can happen, with the scar tissue from the two abdominal surgeries. According to her, there was nothing I could have done to prevent it, which got me off the hook for last weekend’s lapse in diet and increase in activity. The colorectal surgeon agreed with her, and has already started me back on liquids. We just need whatever is still sitting in the swollen bowel to, er, “pass through” and make sure I can keep food down, and I’ll be out of here.
Besides screwing up weekend plans (we had a quick trip to Orlando for a law seminar for Jen), just being in here kind of sucks. The glacial speed at which things move in a hospital can be frustrating, especially when the plan is “just wait and see if it clears by taking x-rays every day.” Not exactly the definitive course of action I was looking for. I was “NPO” until this morning, which somehow stand for “nothing by mouth” (it’s a Latin translation) – no food, no water, nothing. I understood this in certain circumstances, especially when surgery is an imminent possibility, but that doesn’t seem to be where I am headed (thank God).
That is one of the little things that make “recovery” in the hospital feel oxymoronic – denial of food (and the nutrients it brings with it) will NOT help my body fight cancer, and a bag of saline water isn’t cutting it as a replacement. There are other things, like having cranky octogenarian Mr. Flynn for a roommate — complaining about everything to the nurses, snoring, and leaving the TV on until midnight blasting Law and Order. Getting stuck for blood three times between sundown and sunrise. Or the tendency for the night-time nurses to, shall we say, be “less on the ball” than their daytime counterparts — in this case, trying to remember all of the admitting questionnaire from memory instead of getting the form from the nurses’ station, forty feet away. Or asking me when she came up to the room and what time medications were given because she “forgot to write it down.”