Crohn’s Disease and the Longest Month of my Life (pt. 1)

Finally, this is when I tell you where I’ve been for more than a month. Why I’ve been MIA from this bog. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you probably already know. Here are most of the details; at least part 1.

Here’s the skinny: Crohn’s Disease came back. Hard. And put me in the hospital for a month.

And I almost lost my life. Twice.

It had been two weeks since my partial bowel blockage, and I was feeling not as great as I thought I should be after starting Prednisone, a steroid to help with inflammation. But as you do, you live life, keep going. I was being careful about what I ate. On Aug. 21 my dad came down to visit and that entire day I felt fine. It was when he was leaving that I felt a new, slightly painful sensation take over me, but I didn’t delay his departure.

small-intestineFast forward 30 minutes and I was in agony. Agony barely begins to describe what I was feeling. Thinking back, it was like my insides were getting ripped out of my body and I wanted to throw up, have the largest bowel movement ever, and then die. In that order. I was crawling on my floor, in so much pain there was nothing else to think about. And sweat was rolling off me in multiple droplets like I had just run 20 miles.

After suffering for about another 10 minutes (10 minutes too long), I called my dad and asked him to turn around and take me to the ER since something was very wrong. He speeds back and he almost has to carry me to the car since I can barely move. We get to the ER at the hospital that’s just around the corner from my apartment, we wait, they run a test, we wait hours longer, and they find out I have a perforated small bowel and need emergency surgery. However, because the procedure would be too much for them there, I was shipped via ambulance to that hospital’s sister hospital in downtown Detroit at about 4am. By that time, my mom and Justin joined the chaos to make sure I was looked after.

Now, if I would have waited even a day longer to get checked out, I could have died. A perforated bowel means everything in your intestine is spilling into your gut, poisoning your blood and destroying your body.

This is where things get a bit hazy for me, since I was becoming doped up on pain medication. I was placed in the ICU right away and remember at least five IVs in my arms, and I even had a type of IV in my neck called a Central Line. It sounds a lot scarier than it was. The worst part was the burning of the lidocaine to numb the area where they put it.

henry-ford-hospital-downtown-detroit1

(Photo by Justin McKee)

I had surgery that day, and the surgeon had a game plan in place. Because the Crohn’s was so bad, two feet of my small intestine had to be cut out. Unfortunately, the rest of his plan all became irrelevant once my blood pressure dropped so low they almost lost me on the table. They literally drowned me with fluids — about a half dozen liters — to save my life. Obviously that stopped everything right there. I didn’t even know what happened until later, and it was still hard to believe.

The next day I had surgery number two, which went much better, and the surgeon decided to let my body heal the incision wound on its own without stitches or staples. Instead, I was hooked up to a wound vac, which helps everything heal. And even though dressing changes hurt like a mother, I would highly recommend this technology. It really helped my wound become smaller each day. It didn’t take too long until I didn’t need it anymore and just changed to regular gauze and tape dressing.

Waking up from surgery was the scary part, because I was intubated (had a device down my throat to help me breathe) and also had an NG tube down my throat. I couldn’t talk, it was hard to swallow, and each moment was very painful. It was hard not to just rip them out of my body, and it was frustrating trying to communicate my needs. Thankfully, the breathing apparatus wasn’t in for too long.

This was just the beginning of what would become a month-long stay in the hospital.

Instead of this post getting too long, I will stop there and give the next half of my story very soon. Keep your eyes on the lookout, and once it’s up I’ll add a link here in this post.

—K

About Karin

Journalist, singer, reader, movie fanatic, photography buff, GVSU alum, wanna-be-Brit, Crohn's fighter, Coca-Cola addict, animal lover, not a kid person, hater of winter, Michigander
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2 Responses to Crohn’s Disease and the Longest Month of my Life (pt. 1)

  1. Leslie says:

    So very sorry that you experienced this…..I pray everyday for a cure, as I have a son with Crohns. God bless you and take care. I look forward to your positive recovery. Leslie

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