Pancreatitis … Idiocratic Pancreatitis No Less

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Last week was a motherf***er of a week.

So, Tuesday, CJ had her eye surgery scheduled. Great, she’s finally getting the cataract dealt with (that she should have dealt with 3 years ago, but …). That took a while, and she may have to have more work done later, but we’re at a “let the eye recover” phase. She’s doing a ton of eyedrops, has to sleep with a plastic cover over her eye to keep from damaging it, and can’t lift more than 20 pounds. Fun. But … it will be worth it in the long run.

Same day, my stomach started giving me some trouble. Seriously? I decided to be stoic — she had enough to deal with, and it wasn’t bad. Wednesday, the pain was not getting better, my coding project on hold, I watched movies and drank a lot of water, that was about it.

Thursday it was worse, and no signs of getting better. Worse, I hadn’t had a BM since Tuesday morning (if you need an explanation, think about it …). I finally told her I was not doing well, she set up an appointment, we went to the Park Shadelands branch of Kaiser late in the day (first appointment available). Doctor checked me out, sent me to get a blood draw for lab testing (which was horrible — I don’t think I’ve had that much problem with a simple blood draw in ages — pain, nearly passed out — badly handled by student nurse …), get a stool softener (for the BM issue), and put on my schedule that an ultrasound scan of my intestines needed to be done.

Friday morning: around 8, while I was trying to sleep (because sleep is tough when you’re not feeling well), I got a call from the doctor, told me I should go to the emergency room. Herself was trying to work a half day. Oy. Well, her boss was cool. Went down to the hospital.

Checked in, got set up for a CT Scan (Cat Scan). Did that, and then “hurry up and wait” time happened. Waited for results, waited for results of yet another blood draw. Preliminary diagnosis: Acute Pancreatitis. Got admitted to the hospital proper. The doctors I talked in ER (both of them) felt an ultrasound of my gall bladder was a good idea.

I haven’t been in a hospital for a long time. I mean, I dance around the edges for lab work and such, and my regular doctor’s office is in the complex, and so on, but …

Got settled (as much as one can be). Spent a lot of time waiting. In the hospital, waited and waited, got lots of tests, but no ultrasound. Waited. Spent the night (CJ went home with Don and BJ, who also took the van home for us). Sleep was hard, because of the IV. They were giving me saline and also antibiotics. That was because the inflammation of the pancreas might have been because of some sort of infection. They really didn’t know.

Saturday rolls around. Had a blood draw at 5:30am. Good grief, what a horrible time for that. The roommate I had was a bit of a prick, and his family was worse. He was upset because he needed to have his gall bladder out and the surgery wasn’t happening right away. Took his frustrations out on everyone. Felt bad for the poor nurses who had to deal with his ranting. Luckily he slept a lot.

Eventually I got the ultrascan. Turns out the gall bladder appeared to be in perfect health, no signs of stones, no signs of sludge. I get to keep mine. On the downside, if they found that to be the problem, removing the gall bladder and I would have been done. No, turns out I have idiocratic pancreatitis — meaning they don’t know WTF caused it.

Another night for observation, but I was allowed (finally) to have some “food” — chicken broth and gelatin. The gelatin sucked. I ate one of them (they gave me two). Never again. “Clear Liquids”. A tea with pretty much no flavor (Lipton teabag, no caffeine).

Sunday: Early, doofus roommate finally got his surgery and left. Didn’t come back for recovery. Fine by me. I got the room to myself. Niiice. Quieter. Tried some “full liquid” — split pea soup and pudding. The pudding was so sweet I could barely touch it. Not doin’ THAT again. A little pain though after. So back to clear liquid. Figures. Later in the day I got some Milk of Magnesia (hated the stuff as a kid, still don’t like it). Even later I had a BM. Messy, but it cleared out the pipes. The pressure and pain reduced quite a bit at that point.

In the meantime, somewhere in all this fun stuff, I had an endoscopy, which is the opposite of a colonoscopy. They put me under for that, which is just as well. The reason was to check for possible issues at the top of the stomach (the duodenum). Nope, nothing wrong there! Clear liquids didn’t cause problems. So I had more broth, fruit juice … slept with the room empty until about 4 in the morning. (Very old man, nearly 90, had a heart attack, his breathing was rough, he was barely coherent … but he slept most of the time and was really quiet.)

Monday: was feeling much better. Had a shower in the morning, which was nice. Doctor was encouraged. Got “Full Liquids” again for food, to see how my stomach handled it. This time the soup was tomato (kind of a weird aftertaste to this one), and more pudding (and fruit juice). No pudding for me, not falling for that sugar bomb again. However, no reaction — my stomach didn’t give me more pain. Doctor let me go home! Yay!

Don and BJ came and got us. Of course we got all kinds of lecture from BJ about fibers and low-fat diets, and blah blah blah. Oh well. She means well. Was really happy to be home. Spent some time dealing with things that needed dealing with on the computer, and then watched movies and such. I have not been quite as intense on the computer, but doing a lot better. I tell ya’, after all that time in the hospital (it felt like longer — 3 days and nights) sleep was fantastic.

Of course, one problem with all that is that I was in the hospital during the time change. Didn’t notice it because everything was automatic. Got home and the alarm hadn’t been touched. Wednesday morning took CJ to work an hour early. D’oh! Oh well. All is good again.

My diet for awhile will not be as exciting, and because alcohol can be a cause of pancreatitis (none of the doctors we talked to felt that our drinking habits were such that there was any chance that set it off) no booze for awhile. Just in time for the holidays. Yay. But, it beats more hospital time. It’s not like they can remove the pancreas and you can live, after all … Anyway, that’s been my big excitement. Never mind the election, that’s a whole other topic.

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About Ken Mayer

Who am I? That is the question, isn't it? Over the years I have been many things. I assume this will continue. At the moment, I am actively seeking work. I am married to my wife of 23 years, am active in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.) ... and much, much more. The purpose of this WordPress site is to put my "Autobiography" here, allowing for easier commenting and such. We'll see how that goes.

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