Thursday, August 20, 2015

4 ER Visits & 4 Days in Hospital & Still No Answers

I've had quite a few major health challenges in the past two weeks. Here's the background and latest info.

1. On August 10th, the attending physician at Davies ER diagnosed my cough as either early pneumonia or bronchitis, prescribed a regimen of bactrim and discharged me. My bowel movements grew less frequent, odd, given that bactrim can cause diarrhea. By August 14, I was back at the same ER with a more pronounced hacking. Had to fight for a new x-ray and the doc said it was certainly pneumonia, gave me prescriptions for levaquin and cough suppressant with codeine.

2. The doctors and nurses started to blend together, making it harder to remember all the details they tell me. Various x-rays and scans and tests are not showing any blockage in my colon. On August 15, symptoms are worse and I'm back at at the ER with stomach pain. Doc prescribes norco 5, which causes constipation but alleviates my pain. Finally, on August 16, with Mike at my side, the ER folks finally admit me into the hospital.

3. My hospital stay starts with an IV to deal with the dehydration. Staff is unsure how to solve my stomach blockage but to keep me pain-free, I'm kept on the norco 5. If I'm awake and not spaced out, I can't find a comfortable position sitting in a chair or lying in bed. My roommate is a handsome young gay Portuguese-American. When he has energy, he's on the phone speaking in Portuguese and it's the most musical sound bringing me significant calm and comfort.

4. Thank goodness over the years I've received a lot of care at Sutter Health's Davies Campus's ER. This means my main doc in hospital, a mature Romanian with an Old World comportment and temperament, has scads of data to look over, trying to help me. His prognosis that the lung troubles are not pneumonia but stem from the blocked bowels gets me off bactrim and levaquin. 

5. On August 18, Dr. Robert Elsen, a gastro-intestinal expert I've seen over the years, performs a colonoscopy and while the results show no blockage, good news, we have no answers behind the problem or how to return me to wellness. While under knocked-out, my bowels are finally moved and my stomach no longer knotted in pain when I wake up. So many doctor and nurses and tests and drugs and questions and still no clue what's causing the obstruction.

6. Yesterday, August, 19, I was discharged and given two new prescriptions and can't recall what they're for. At my request the hospital provided me with a thick stack of papers about the ER visits and hospital stay, doctors' notes, lab results. Mike and I took a taxi home and it was so great to be back in our apartment. I followed doctor's orders, ate a small even meal including a dozen prunes, drank a robust amount of psyllium, took two stool softeners, and went to bed. 

7. Sure wish that my seventh note was good news but had night sweats so badly I had to change my tee shirt and underwear twice last night, and there's been no bowel movement this morning. Well, actually, I do have good news, of a sort. Tomorrow, I have an appointment at my UCSF positive clinic in the late morning and then a late afternoon appointment with Dr. Elsen. Let's hope for some solutions!

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