Thursday, February 26, 2009

If it weren't for the ups and downs, my life would be normal?

Tom had his second chemo last week, and things seemed to be pretty normal afterwards. Considering he's only had chemo once previously, we don't have a whole lot to compare with. But it was mostly the same heavy-duty weariness as before, although he managed to get some chores done around the house and went out for a bit visiting friends. Pretty normal, as far as we could tell.

Until yesterday. I should warn you - this post is not for the faint of heart.

He'd not been feeling well all morning, suffering from severe constipation. We tried everything (unfortunately for him) - 2 enemas, various over-the-counter medicines, magnesium caltrate, prune juice - and the situation was getting worse instead of better.

Poor guy - he was in a lot of pain. Finally, a call to his oncologist, who - after hearing what we'd tried unsuccessfully - suggested we just go to the emergency room and find out what the problem really was.

Patients who take morphine have this problem, and - coupled with not enough liquids in their diet (something Tom's had a hard time with) - things turn ugly and one ends up with severe, painful constipation. So we spent 6 hrs at the ER last night, where they initially were concerned that he might have a bowel obstruction. After x-rays, they learned that there was no obstruction (whew!!) and that he was just completely blocked across nearly all his lower intestines. I keep telling him he's full of shit, and for once, I was actually right. Big time.

The ER doctors fixed him with - are you ready for this??? - a milk/molasses enema. Honest. Really. I just couldn't believe it when they told me what they were going to use, but it worked. He's feeling much better today, and all those concoctions he used yesterday - plus the milk/molasses special - finally caught up with him. Amazing how weird food combinations can make one's day . . .

However, Tom now has a very special claim to fame at Bronson Hospital. Turns out he's the only patient the ER has had where this goofy concoction didn't work on immediately. The nurse told us that in his twenty-year career, Tom is the only patient who didn't respond within 15 minutes (usually it's about 5 min for the average person). Tom's now been named the Anti-Enema King - it took him nearly 2 hours. The drs and nurses were all walking around shaking their heads, not believing anyone could last that long. He actually fell asleep during this time period (they couldn't believe that either!).

Me, well . . . I decided to wander down the hall to a quiet little family room that I could have all to myself, and spent the time knitting. Couldn't really do much else, so I nearly finished a baby cap instead.

I love the Anti-Enema King. And he's promised to drink a whole lot more liquids, considering the alternative.


Jonara Blu Maui said...

haha! I love it that the med docs basically turned to something natural! Cam had such a bad problem with that at first when his gastroparesis was acting up. about two times a day I worked on all his digestive points on his hands and feet as well as did stomache massage. Theres a certain way to do it that follows the way things flow and it's supposed to help things eliminate. And then I got him on some awesome products as well..he seems to be working like he's supposed to now for quite a few months!

patty said... if he is dealing with enough already. Hoping & praying that is a one time event for Tom...

Gardenartus said...

Ughh! hey it isn't just Morphine but almost all narcotics and some other meds too, I know, lol. He isn't kidding when the hole is plugged up it makes you miserable. Sometimes I look like I am 9 months along and totally miserable.

I don't know what he can eat but raw oats with a bit of cinnaman and non-sugar sugar works really well. More grains, even popcorn, with lots of fluid on a regular basis. The other things he can keep down on a day to day basis that he tried will help too instead of waiting to the motion don't motion anymore. :0)

I was thinking the smell might have driven you to the other end of the hall. ;0)

p2pix said...

Beth, you have a knack for relaying a story...Glad to hear Tom did his thing...but I have to admit I was giggling thinking of the expressions on the hospital staff's face as they waited for the concoction to work...;-)