Tim’s stomach hurt badly on Sunday afternoon. There was also a sharp pain in his right thigh or maybe in the, er, neighboring sensitive area.
It was hard for him to pinpoint. But it was incredibly painful. Or as he so eloquently (though I’m sure aptly) put it, “It feels like you just sat on your nuts.”
So we went to the ER. Where they initially thought it was a kidney stone. A CT scan showed one nestled up at the top of one kidney, but there didn’t seem to be any migrating south.
They admitted that he may have just passed it while he was there. It’s hard to know, since the Demerol they gave him nicely masked the pain.
They were sure, though, that he was severely dehydrated. They sent him home after a nice refreshing IV saline bag.
Monday morning at 5:30 a.m., the pain was back, along with nausea and vomiting.
His potassium and magnesium levels were also very low. Probably due to the aforementioned puking.
They also were more concerned about the increased lipase levels they found. The normal range is under 400. His were around 100 on Sunday and had ratcheted up to around 1,200 in the intervening 14 hours.
That and other symptoms pointed to pancreatitis.
They kept adding that lipase levels can increase rapidly just from a lot of vomiting. About half the health professionals made it sound as though that scenario and pancreatitis were mutually exclusive, while the other half made it sound as though it just meant the flare-up would be brief.
They were going to let him go home, but then his arms started intermittently shaking violently. It kinda looked like he was operating a jackhammer.
Apparently, this was likely a response to pain. One we’ve never seen before but… whatever. Point being, Tim was admitted. And very, very unhappy about it.
Not that I blamed him, but at one point I seriously considered stapling him to the bed to keep him from leaving AMA.
A gastroenterologist was sent for a consult. The guy was… still confusing.
He said the pain in Tim’s, uh, bathing suit area sounded like a kidney stone. But when he described what pancreatitis would feel like — pain in the mid- to upper abdomen radiating into the back — it was apparently exactly what Tim was experiencing.
Through all this, no one felt the need to do another CT because… reasons. Instead, we had to listen to them refer to Sunday’s, which showed no inflammation (but his levels were normal at that point) and a kidney stone far away from where it would cause pain.
Tim got an endoscopy on Tuesday to check for ulcers. Sure enough, there were some small ones in his intestine and a minor spot or two (irritated or actual ulcer, I’m not sure) on his esophagus.
So now he’s been ordered on a lamentably bland GERD diet. It restricts pretty much every food he loves.
We’re supposed to have a follow-up appointment within seven days, and the guy wants another endoscopy in about eight weeks. Not sure why we need the follow-up if we’re just going to be told to schedule another endoscopy. But who am I to question medical professionals’ logic?
Anyway, I was at the hospital most of Monday and a good chunk of Tuesday. This led to lots of posts on my blog’s Facebook/Twitter feed, including the image for this post. Some of them were may even have been amusing, so go see if some mirth can come from our experience.
Been hospitalized recently? Was the diagnosis helpful? Did the facility trust you to recognize water sources on your own?