Too Much...

Too Much…

After Christmas Day 2007, I found myself still in Temple Hospital. The surgeons came into my room to remove the staples from my chest. Can you imagine getting 83 staples removed one by one! The pain was too much, but I knew it was a one-time thing. The doctors started me on a “liquid” diet, which was far from appetizing. It consisted of various juices and chicken broth. At this point, it was the first thing I put into my stomach in a week. Although it wasn’t filling, it got my taste buds working again! The doctors and I noticed something different. There was way too much liquid excreting from my ostomy site. My bag was filling up way to quickly. There was no way they could send me home, because the output was way too much. The doctors decided to put me on an opium diet. The hope was that the opium would slow my stomach down. I would have to drink this substance every few hours. The doctors eventually cut me off of the liquid diet, in a dire effort to stop the output. Nothing was working!

I started to question and wonder, “Why was this going on?” “Did the surgery go right?” My colorectal surgeon and his team, along with the gastroenterologist assured me that this was common amongst patients who had an ostomy, and that it will settle down in a couple of days. Well a couple of days became a couple of weeks. Before I knew it, it was February and I was still in Temple Hospital. The output that was coming out of my ostomy was outrageous. Since I wasn’t eating or drinking anything, I was just eliminating bile. There was a lot of it! Let’s look at in this way: A human body produces ten liters of bile a day. I was excreting 4 liters a day! That is two large Pepsi bottles! Way too much! The problem that I was running into was that I wasn’t getting any nutrients.

The doctors in response decided to put a PICC line into my arm. A PICC line is a access port that leads into your veins. Doctors use that so they don’t have to depend on a IV line. The liquid nutrition that the put into the PICC line is called T.P.N. Total Parenteral Nutrition is a liquid fed through the arm, consisting of a balanced diet that one needs. The only difference is that it stays away from the stomach. It actually looks like a milkshake. Once a day the nurses would come into my room and hook up the TPN bag. It would drip slowly for a few hours. Things were not getting better. The output was so much that the nurses couldn’t keep up with the bag emptying and changing. I was starting to lose hope. I was already losing lots of weight, but that wasn’t even the worst of it. I began to get major infections, ones that could be deadly…

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