Last night around 11 pm I started having abdominal cramps. By 2 am I’d thrown up three times and the waves of abdominal cramps reached the point I was afraid I’d pass out. I told my wife three times that if I passed out to not revive me under any circumstances. (I didn’t tell her what to do with me if I passed out, I didn’t care.) Off to the ER we went. Fast forward through two morphine shots, four x-rays, a CT scan, two bags of Potassium, and about six hours. I was diagnosed with dehydration a potassium shortage, and, most significantly, colitis. They contacted my primary care physician, who wanted me to come to his office. Shortly thereafter, I was walking out of the ER, puking into vomit bag, headed to my primary care physician’s office.
I have no doubt that the radiation played a role in the development of the colitis.
I was pretty sure I would be hospitalized, just to get the painkillers I needed, but I was assured he could control the pain and treat the colitis at home. A magic pain patch did the trick. Within a couple minutes after my wife applied the patch I was in heaven. Constipation was the heart of the colitis problem. Even with the heavy duty pain patch I was able to resolve the constipation in a few hours. But I wasn’t “over” the colitis yet. For the next week, I was on a Jell-O diet and truly bedridden. At least I was out of pain.
One final comment. The experience at the ER was appalling. They might just as well have worn “I don’t care” signs. I’m lying on the bed, doubled over crying out in pain, and the paramedic is staring at a computer monitor asking what drugs I’m on. I understand the need to get that info but it wouldn’t kill him to make eye contact and say “I know you’re in pain, we’ll help you”. He couldn’t have cared less if I died right then. The nurse hooked me up to a potassium and ringers drip, telling me the potassium had to be diluted because it would burn otherwise. Sure enough she failed to check on it, the ringers ran out and all of a sudden my arm was on fire from a straight potassium drip. I signaled for help, she answered and casually said “oh yea, the drip must have run out”. There was no sense of urgency in fixing my problem either. Unfortunately, I needed a second bag of potassium after I painfully finished the first. Twice, twice I asked her if she could set it up to ensure the burning wouldn’t happen again. Both times she assured me it wouldn’t. Of course it, did but she wasn’t on shift anymore – not her problem. One of the measures of a person’s humanity is their willingness to be inconvenienced to help others. These folks fail big time.