Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Doctors Don’t Take Me Seriously

He’s in pain. He’s urinating every few minutes and it’s bloody.
His belly is puffed up like a balloon, and he’s constipated.
He’s vomiting every few minutes. This has been going on for days.

Finally, after 5 days of calling with more and more problems, the doctor agreed to see my husband. The first thing she said to me was, “He doesn’t look as bad as you described.”  

But she had him admitted to the hospital.  That took 6.5 hours.  When he was finally admitted, the staff decided he needed to be in the ICU.  He was in worse condition than I had described. He was dehydrated.  His kidneys were damaged.  And he had an obstruction in his small intestine.

All of this as a result what was supposed to be a simple out-patient hernia repair.

Several doctors have come by and explained that sometimes the small intestine gets kinked during abdominal surgery.  One of the nurses said he should have been admitted after 2 days with his belly swollen like that.

My husband is on a saline and dextrose drip. He’s got a tube from his nose to his stomach sucking out any fluid that gets in there, like the melted ice chips that are the only things he’s allowed to eat. He’s on antibiotics.  He caught the diarrhea that is going around the hospital.  I have to wear a special yellow gown when I go into his room and I have to take off the gown just inside the door way when I leave. Then I have to wash my hands for 15 seconds before I leave the room.  When I give my husband the phone, I have to put a glove on his hand so he won’t contaminate the handset.  

As I left this evening, they’d just taken an x-ray to let them know if the kink in his small intestines is healing on its own or if he’ll need a second surgery.

And just as I was thinking this is all awful, my husband said something amazing.  He wants to spend more time with me and with his students. He wants to spend more time doing things he enjoys.  He sees that he could have died and he wants to make the rest of his life more enjoyable. 

So, now I’m thrilled at his new outlook and still terrified about tomorrow.


  1. Thought are with you.

    I once had my life saved by a physician’s assistant who was the only one who could see that my symptoms were much worse than even I realized. We all need those most observant individuals at such times.

    Hope all works out.

  2. If your doctor is rude to you or doesn't take you seriously some more, you could fire him/her. Or Eric could I guess. Ask for a doctor who is respectful of patients. This is making me really upset.

  3. Oh, and love and good thoughts to you both.

  4. Surviving - I hope, with all the tests and all the people going through my husband's room all day long, they are finding what they need to know to help him. He was much pinker last night than he's been in days.

    Alison - Thanks for your good wishes. My biggest hope at the moment is that there will be no need for more surgery. I think the surgeon is one of those people who loves doing surgery on anesthetized people, and is not good with humans who are awake. In other words: good with knives, not words. I hope I don't have to find out.