January 14, 2009
SO how did you spend your weekend

It started out with such great promise. Friday I dropped the kids off at school and then started shopping. When we moved into the house we really didn't decorate much since we knew within a couple weeks we would just be taking everything down to put up our holiday decorations. With the holiday season officially over and with our first get together with friends planned for Saturday I was off to buy to decorations. Then about 1:00 it started to happen. For about 10 years now I've been suffering from what I was told was GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). But over the last few years the episodes had become alarming painful and often debilitated me for a a couple days afterward. So when I felt the cramping start I was determined to keep going, I had things to do, a party to plan! I skipped dinner and instead took some Zantac and though the symptoms were growing worse by the minute I thought that if I just made it through the night I'd be ok.

Then a new symptom. It was pretty common when I had an attack that I might vomit once or twice, I always figured it was my bodies way of getting rid of the excess stomach acid and whatever food triggered the episode, though I never have figured our anything other than red onions that seem to have a direct correlation with the attacks. This was different though I was repeatedly throwing up long after there was nothing left in my stomach and I couldn't stop myself. In order to get through these episodes I typically slept upright, whether sitting up in bed or this time actually sleeping on the couch, and then in the chair here at the computer. My lower back was killing me and was convulsing, I was getting quite convinced that this was not GERD.

After seeing the interview with Patrick Swayze last week that talked about the early symptoms of cancer I started to have panic attacks, I was displaying most of those systems, though I was so much in a panic to remember I didn't have a fever nor had I been suffering from weight loss. Still there was a part of me that was now convinced that I need to get to the hospital. So at 4 am, Brie drove me down to the emergency room at Sutter Tracy Community Hospital and checked me in.

I was the only one there and I was immediately seen. They drew some bloood hooked me up to some IV liquids and soon had me on some pain medication. The first doctor however was not very helpful, and almost insulting. He was determined that, even though I had a elevated white count and even though I had never really suffered from a burning sensation normally part of acid reflux disorders like GERD, the pain medication would to get me through it and I should be fine becasue he felt it was just a gastro-reflux attack.

Brie was not amused. Brie asked if perhaps there was something else they should do to make sure. Maybe an X-ray or CRT Scan. Since Keegan has Crohn's Disease which is often genetically linked we know a little more about this stuff than most people, we knew a blood test wouldn't always reveal what was going on. She actually had to demand to get a second opinion. Fortunately a few minutes later a nurse returned and said there had been a shift change and that the new ER Doctor on duty and he wanted me to have a CRT scan because he felt the blood results were indicating I could have Appendicitis or Gall Stones.

After the CRT scan it was confirmed, something was wrong with my Gall Bladder. I was admitted into a room to rest and prepare for surgery. Since I had not eaten for almost 24 hours already they opted to have me eat a couple of meals of clear broths before once again going NPO in preparation for the surgery. I can't really tell you much after that point. I know I got up and showered Sunday morning for the surgery, I know a male surgical nurse wheeled me in to what was going to be my recovery room, and then I remember being back in that room and hearing someone say they couldn't find Brie. (Apparently they locked her out of the surgical waiting room).

They kept me under observation for 24 hours then released me Monday morning. Since then I have spent a majority of time in bed being extremely uncomfortable but slowly regaining my strength. I've started going to the bathroom again and I don't have a fever, so that's great. Each day I feel less sore and I am able to walk and stand-up a little easier. But I am also very weak, light-headed, and today I have been suffering low-level nausea (and throwing up is unacceptable with the 4 incisions they made already feeling like they are pulling even sneezing causes horrible pain, I imagine vomiting would send me right back to the hospital.

I do have a vial with a couple of what seem to be alarming large gall stones. It's clear this is something that was going on for years. This angers me that my primary care physician always chose to write it off without ever doing a full run of tests. But that's a post for another day. Right now I've been sitting up for about an hour and I really need to go lie-down

Posted by John at January 14, 2009 11:22 AM