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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.

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 distention of my stomach.

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.

Dr. Rombeau wanted me to stay at Temple Hospital that evening just incase he has to preform 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 real bad, I want you to come in to 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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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • 4 years ago

    Be strong.
    And god bless you

  • 4 years ago

    What ended up happening? I too was just in the hospital for a partial obstruction. It has not blocked all the way and I really pray it does not. I had a resection back in 2000 and it was truly the hardest thing I’ve had to do so far. We are hoping the remicade infusions will heal that area and keep it from being blocked. I live in constant fear that any pain I have is it. I go through such pain trying to get food to pass through sometimes. It’s the worst pain but I breathe through it and pray it just goes through. I was on the gi tract through my nose for two days in the hospital and a liquid diet for a few days and that helped some with the work my guts were doing. I am careful what I eat and I’m also on steroids to help the inflammation. I’d like to hear the rest of your story. Seems we have a lot in common in our crohns fight. Thanks for your time and story to help with awareness and giving info for things you went through and what others are going through too.

  • Paul Richman author
    4 years ago

    Thank you for sharing. In June 2009, I did have a resection. A few years ago, I had the terrible pain that your were describing. At that time, I was put on bowel rest, and liquid diet as well. You are very welcome. I pray every day that patients like you and I will have a great day. Did you have an NG tube to drain you stomach? They are the worst!

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