Monday, June 7, 2010

It's Complicated

I didn't end up having my colonoscopy on friday. I drank half of my prep like I was supposed to, and had every intention of getting up early the next morning to drink the other half. But sometimes things have a tendancy of not working out the way we want them to.

I could feel the familiar rumbling in my belly, but I also felt a nagging nausea and that made me nervous. After downing that horrible stuff, eight ounces every ten minutes for two hours, the last thing that I wanted was to feel like it was going to come back up.

I'm sure that I'm not the only Crohn's patient that has certain traditions that they keep for the day and night before a colonoscopy. I always set up the bathroom with things to keep me occupied like books, games and my Journal. I was writing an entry when I started to feel horrible abdominal pain and a migraine coming on. It kept getting worse, and worse so at first when I threw up I was happy because the pressure in my head subsided. But then I realized what was going on and I was not a happy camper at all.

I have had over ten surgeries so I have a lot of scar tissue, adhesions as they are called. Every time that I get cut open my scar keloids, this is when it becomes wider and thicker than normal. Inside my abdomen the scar tissue attaches itself all over the bowel, other organs and to the peritoneum, the lining of the abdominal cavity. These adhesions have caused bowel obstructions before and I knew that was what was happening again. The scar tissue is sticky so it makes the bowel stick to itself, or it wraps around the bowel cutting off the passageway, and potentially the circulation. This is one of the complications of having surgery. I have had to have emergency surgery for this before because the circulation was cut off. If the blood can't flow through the bowel, it will die and eventually cause gangrine, which causes blood poisoning that could lead to death.

I knew that it was only a partial obstruction due to the fact that things were moving out of both ends. If I was only vomiting I would have been way more concerned. If this ever happens to you, DO NOT think that it will just get better on it's own or that you can take care of it on your own, go straight to the hospital. Most likely you will need a naso-gastral tube inserted into your nose to suck out the fluid which eases the pressure off of the obstructed area. It is highly uncomfortable but helps to eleviate some of the pain. Most of the time with bowel rest, no food or water, the obstruction will loosen on it's own, only when it doesn't will they operate and go in to cauterize, or burn off the adhesions. This is one reason that surgery is always the last option, because every time they operate, adhesions can form, so having the adhesions cauterized can just cause more adhesions. It's a very vicious cycle.

I have been through this many times and know what to do to help the obstruction resolve itself, so I didn't need to stay in the hospital, also it was a partial obstruction so I didn't need a tube. If it had progressed, I would have been right back up to the hospital begging them to admit me.

It is now Tuesday and I am feeling much better, also my colonoscopy has been re-sheduled to take place in August. If you have any questions about complications of any kind I will be happy to answer them. And I hope you never have any yourself.

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