Monday, February 23, 2009

More on Don's Little Friend

            CAUTION     CAUTION     CAUTION

The following posting contains information that some might find offensive. If you don's find it offensive there's something  wrong.

Last Friday Don had a feeding tube placed in his jejunum (the part of the small intestine that is closest to the stomach). They entered through the stomach then pushed the tube through the pyloric valve and into the jejunum. The surgeon had planned to leave the tip in the stomach (which is preferable) but he couldn't because Don's anatomy is very abnormal. Most of his stomach has migrated through the hiatal hernia into his chest. This means that the lower part of the stomach is much smaller than it would be under normal circumstances. But then did anyone think that Don was "normal"?

Saturday: So, after surgery everyone thought that all was OK and Don actually had one of any hospitals best meals; the famous clear liquid diet. He nibbled on it a little but did not want much. This was on Saturday morning. He got the same thing for lunch but did not even try to to eat any. By early afternoon he was beginning to have increasing nausea and vomiting which continued throughout the night in spite of being given various anti-nausea medications. 

Sunday: Sometime around O dark 30 it was decided that Don should be transferred from Kaseman hospital to the Presbyterian main hospital downtown. Various tests are more readily available at the main hospital. So Don arrived there at about 6:30 and I got there a little after 7:00 am. He was continuing to vomit copious amounts of gastric fluid. He had more than 2 liters out while I was there. Finally the doctors decided that maybe  a nasal gastric tube would be a good idea in order to keep his stomach empty. This was finally done in the early afternoon and Don began to feel a little bit better. He put out another 2-3 liters through the NG tube. This is the lovely green gastric fluid and bile. Better out through the tube then vie emesis. Bile really tastes vile! Through the afternoon and early evening he was supposed to be drinking contrast material for a CT scan to wee what was stopping the gastric juices from flowing through the small intestine. He did have the CT Scan and was told that they got good pictures. I am not sure what that means.

Monday: The surgeon was in to see Don and I just happened to call while he was there. I asked him what the CT had shown about the blockage. He said that he didn't see a blockage. Then when are the gastric juices coming up instead of going down the digestive track to the exit? Don is really uncomfortable and wants this whole business over with. He is very cranky and crabby! I think that the feeding tube should have been inserted before he needed it rather than now when he i really feeling the effects of the chemo/radiation therapy. He was in better health and better able to deal with the surgery and it's aftermath. If this ever comes up again, and I hope it does not, I will know where to draw the line in the sand.

He continues to put out 6 - 8 liters of this wonderful gastric fluid every 24 hours. 

Today Don is doing some reading and watching the news on CNN and other stations. I am not sure whether  this is a good or bad sign.

He has had visitors and is very appreciative of this. He continues to be very reassured by the fact that so many people are keeping him in their thoughts and prayers. One of my clients plays piano for the Sunday evening worship services at one of the Baptist Churches in town. When I saw her on Sunday she asked me if she should ask then to pray for Don I said" absolutely". You cannot have too many good thoughts and prayers. I asked her today if the Baptists had prayed for him and she said: "They sure did."

I stayed at the hospital until about 5:45. I got home at about 6:30. (It didn't take very long for me to get home it just took a long time to find the car. I had to ask hospital security to help me find it. I thought that it had been stolen. The security person said that this happens often. I did not feel quite so stupid when he told me that.) Anyhow, right after I got home Don called and said that both the surgeon and medical oncologist had been in to see him. They are going to have interventional radiology look at him to see what if going on with the placement of the feeding tube. Hopefully this will be done first thing in the morning. They will do their thing using fluoroscopy. I am hoping that we will know more by tomorrow noon. I will update when there is something else to report.



  1. Don & Sally, just wanted you to know that Ron and I are following your progress and are two of the many people who have you both in their thoughts AND prayers! It was good to be able to visit with you on Sunday.

  2. Well, dang, Don! This was supposed to be a lot easier and less painful, wasn't it? We're pulling for you! I'm not sure prayer alters the course of things, either, but it certainly keeps us in touch with each other and the Big Thing we're part of. So, I pray to keep in touch with you and your path. Walk it in strength, and know that your friends are right behind you.

  3. Don & Sally,
    Thanks for sharing the ongoing saga.
    You're providing a side of the experience we wouldn't find anywhere else. Thanks for being brave enough to let us in.
    I've "lost" my car at Pres too!
    Glad to hear Don is still irascible Don.
    Best wishes,
    -Dan Shaffer

  4. To THE DON and to Sally-the-wonderful---
    Thanks so much for sharing your experience---we will all learn from it--just sorry you are having to do "the doing". My favorite form of prayer is to light a candle in the morning, take stock of my blessings and send blessings out to those in my heart---so! consider yourself much blessed and certainly held in my heart--I feel myself lucky to have gotten to know you both in New Orleans.
    Hang in there, dear and wonderful News---
    Phyllis Bergman