Bowel Obstructions

Between the Summer of 2008 and June of 2009, I was doing pretty well. I had not been in the hospital and things were looking on the upward swing.

One day in June of 2009, I started to have pain in the right side of my stomach. The pain was a dull one, so I first thought that it was a kidney stone. I started to get worried after a few days because if it were a kidney stone, most likely the pain would travel as the stone did.

I decided to call my colorectal surgeon and see what he thought was going on. He told me that it would be better if I came down to see him in his office. I drove down to Temple Hospital with my mother; I was very nervous to hear what he was going to have to say.

Pain and a distended stomach

As I spoke about in my pervious articles, Dr. Rombeau was my colorectal surgeon. He is known as one of the “founding fathers” of colorectal surgery. I knew that he would have an answer for me.

When he saw me in his office that June morning, he noticed that my stomach was a bit distended. He had asked me if I was eating my regular diet, or was there a decrease in appetite. I had no issues eating and fully digesting food.

Usually with a full bowel obstruction, food gets blocked in the intestines or scar tissues (from surgeries) causing a backup. Another classic symptom of a full bowel obstruction is nausea and vomiting. I had none of these. The only thing he had felt was tenderness due to the distention of my stomach.

Scar tissue as a result of surgeries

Dr. Rombeau was concerned because of the fact that indeed I had developed scar tissue due to the nine surgeries he had performed up to that date. He was only certain that I had a partial bowel obstruction.

There wasn’t a full blockage, but enough that it was causing a problem. He sent me for an x-ray of my stomach. He warned me that if it came back positive for a blockage, he would want to conduct a surgery to correct the obstruction. That is when I really started to panic.

A suggestion to stay overnight in the hospital

Dr. Rombeau wanted me to stay at Temple Hospital that evening just in case he had to perform surgery the next morning. I had told him that I had Jimmy Buffett tickets and really didn’t want to miss it. Talk about priorities.

He made a deal with me: He said, “I want you to go to the concert. Don’t do anything dumb. If the pain gets really bad, I want you to come into the emergency room.” Finally, he told me that he wanted me back into his office the next morning for a CT scan. I agreed on all of that.

I did attend the concert that warm July evening. I didn’t think I was going to be rushed into surgery the next day. Again, I was in for an experience that I would never forget….

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