09 July 2011

Learning Curve 10 facts and 3 new words

It’s been an interesting (stressful, scary) week where I’ve been introduced to many new things. 

Fact 1- the large intestine is about 1.5 meters (5 ft) long. One can have 100 cm removed and be okay.

Fact 2- 6 ft. 4in. mild mannered, easy going son-in-law (BLM) becomes quite stubborn and difficult when in a lot of pain.

Fact 3- it is better to go to the emergency room early in the day. If one arrives around 4:30 p.m. by the time the x-ray and CT scan is completed, they call in the surgeon, the O.R. staff and prep the O.R. it will be 11 p.m. before surgery starts. This means that it is at least 3 a.m. before the surgeon visits with the waiting family members and discusses what she did. (this also means that those waiting family members take a long nap during the beautiful, sunny, ‘we-never-get-days-like-this’ 4th of July holiday afternoon)

Fact 4- When, within a few minutes of returning from the x-ray, the nurse hurries in and starts a strong antibiotic drip in the I.V. line, something is seriously wrong (a rupture in the large intestine- complication from Crohns that BLM was diagnosed with 3 weeks ago) 

Fact 5- Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland Oregon is a REALLY good facility. Also, it is set in a nice area of town so family members can take a walk, or stop in at a café when needing a break from the hospital. 

Fact 6- when a person does not eat for 4 days, and they are already very thin, they will lose a lot of weight. 

Fact 7- even though one is only 28, upon discharge (which only happens when one can keep down food and meds taken orally) one will return home with a nifty cane and can apply for a disabled parking placard. 

Fact 8- my daughter, BAM, is amazing, patient, kind, supportive, doing what needs to be done but encouraging BLM to do what he can, recognizing his limits while at the same time letting him do all he can. She is also strong and courageous, thankful and loving. It has been wonderful to watch her with her sweetheart. (Um, yeah, I was truly blessed with an angel for a first child)

Fact 9- fireworks are just as fun set off on the 8th (the night BLM returned to our place from the hospital) as they were on the 4th.
                Fact 9a- Costco is the BEST place to purchase fireworks ( go ahead, you know you want to, get the grande pack)

Fact 10- Use Southwest Airlines whenever you can. They don’t penalize you when you need to change your flights at the last minute. B&B were supposed to return home from their visit to us on July 6. They might now leave on the 11th. But, seeing how BLM can’t sit upright from more than ½ hour at a time this might be tricky. 

Vocabulary Words:

Stoma- official definition: an artificial opening between two hollow organs or between one hollow organ and the outside of the body, constructed to permit the passage of body fluids or waste products
Layman’s terms: taking the small intestine and bringing it to the surface of the body, turning the end of the intestine over like you would the top of a sock and fastening the intestine to an opening then attaching a bag to catch the waste. (yucky but fascinating at the same time) btw- the intestine does not have nerve endings

Ostomy- an operation (such as a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy) to create and artificial passage for bodily elimination

Crohn’s Disease - a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that causes scarring and thickening of the intestinal walls and frequently leads to obstruction.

The run down- BLM had emergency surgery on July 3 because his large intestine had a rupture. He will have an ileostomy bag for 2-3 months while his large intestine heals, then they will hook his small and large intestine back up (so yes, more major surgery). He will be out of work for at least a month (this go around). He has really good medical insurance. As soon as he can travel they will return home.