Well, I should know better than to ever record that things are "routine and almost boring." Seth spent Thursday night in extreme pain and vomiting. I thought he just had the stomach flu, so I just made sure he stayed hydrated. On Friday morning, the pain had not subsided, so his squad leader told us to take him to the Warrior clinic. The nurse practitioner who saw him there was obviously annoyed that I had not taken him to the emergency room during the night because "that was delaying treatment." So we headed to the emergency room where we spent the next 10 hours. Seth had a CT scan, urinalysis and blood tests, and finally the doctors discovered that he has a bowel obstruction.
This means that they had to put NG (naso-gastric) tube down his throat to suck out the contents of his stomach and upper intestine--or everything on the "up side" of the obstruction. Having a bowel obstruction is very painful, so keeping his pain under control was difficult. In the evening, he was finally re-admitted to the hospital, Ward 4 Center, just three doors down from his old room.
As an inpatient, he was able to be hooked up to the PCA (patient-controlled analgesic) again. The down side is the pain medication presents a bit of a Catch-22: the obstruction is excruciatingly painful so he needs the relief, but the narcotics slow down the bowel, thus slowing down removal of the obstruction.
The doctor said the obstruction could be caused by scar tissue from Seth's many abdominal surgeries. The CT scan did not show the cause, only the distended part of the bowel. We all hope he will not require surgery, but in the meantime, he has to sit with a nasty tube down his throat, and he cannot eat or drink--only ice chips. We were feeling like we could handle this until we found out the earliest they will remove the tube is Monday (today is Saturday). They may begin intravenous feeding today or tomorrow.
Seth knows it's temporary, but it's a long, miserable temporary nonetheless.
(On the small bright side, we picked a good weekend to be inpatient because there are many groups doing Christmas service. He received a beautiful Army blanket, and I received lunch and a Blue Star Mother's pin.)