I love Fall but this one has been rough! We had a rough couple of weeks just before Thanksgiving. Rustin had emergency surgery to remove a badly diseased gall bladder on November 14, 2015. HE had been having attacks for about six weeks He would wake up at night with excruciating abdominal pain. HE would be up for hours vomiting and writhing until the pain passed. Her assumed it was a partial bowel obstruction like he had in Tennessee. (Due to adhesions from an appendectomy.) It never occurred to him or me that the problem was his gall bladder! On Friday night the pain got so bad that we went to the Emergency Room out of shear desperation. An ultrasound diagnosed the problem and off to surgery he went.
When they got to the gall bladder there were so many stones and 'sludge' that some of it squished into the common bile duct as it was being removed. The CBD drains the enzymes from both the gall bladder and liver. They could see the stone in the duct so during the gall bladder surgery they called in a GI specialist to do an ERCP. Basically they put a scope with a balloon down the throat through the stomach and into the small intestine where the CBD empties. Then they insert the balloon up into the duct, inflate it and pull it down through the duct removing the stones and sludge with it. The doctors said there was a bunch of sludge and a giant stone that they removed.
The trouble came for us with the pancreas. The pancreas duct empties into the small intestine right next to the CBD so, the ERCP procedure irritated the pancreas duct and caused a massive case of pancreatitis.
Yellow eyes. This picture doesn't do them justice!
The pain was definitely the worst part for Rustin. HE received IV phentanyl every two hours. After about three days they also started oral percocet. To make matters even worse his digestive system also shut down causing an ileus. He had now bowel sounds at all for about four days. His belly swelled up so much it was double his normal size. His bladder also refused to empty and the swelling and pressure there was just one more thing to deal with. There was so much fluid and swelling that this lungs were squished and he couldn't breathe. He had to have six liters of oxygen to keep his blood saturation about 90%. Without oxygen he dropped down to the low 70%'s or the high 60's. Rustin was one sick man.
On Monday Rustin looked even more sick. Lab work was worse than ever and he was still in agony. They determined that the CBD was blocked so they went in and did another ERCP to open the duct. Then they placed a stent to keep it open and to help the liver drain. All of that required another trip to the OR with general anesthetic. This time they put a catheter in and left it so he would have to worry about his bladder. Before they went down to surgery Rustin was in agony. I felt like I needed to be right by his side every minute. HE slept a lot but would wake up distressed and disoriented. By the time they finally took him down to pre-op and got him sedated and I left to go find some food. By this time I was STARVING. But the cafeteria was closed. All I had in the room was chocolate and it was making me sick. I found some frozen burritos in a vending machine and went back to Rustin's room to wait for him.
When I got to his room I couldn't find a vending machine so I just determined that I would be starving for the night. I couldn't leave during surgery in case they ran into problems and needed to talk to me. Just then the Thompsons texted that they were coming up and did I need anything. Such perfect timing! They brought me dinner and I felt much better.
Later that night I left Rustin and went home to sleep a bit and shower. I was hoping that Rustin would be sleepy and would sleep through the night. I was wrong. Nurses are awesome but I know what their job is like. They just don't have the time to be there for every need! Some nurses are awesome and some just aren't as attentive. Unfortunately I picked a night with an inattentive nurse to leave and Rustin was miserable. So after Monday night I stayed with him except for the two nights and Darren came up later in the week. Darren was an awesome help!
There's just something about a dad.
I watched just about every cheesy Christmas movie on Netflix and I drank peppermint tea every day.
Rustin found that walking helped to relieve the pressure in his abdomen while we were waiting for his digestive system to wake up. We walked over to the windows that overlooked the hospital Christmas lights in the evenings. We would sit in the chairs and enjoy the quiet.
On Sunday (9 days in the hospital) He finally started feeling better and his digestive system started to wake up. We started with jello and broth. Yum.
We were hoping to go home Monday but his lab work went crazy again with WBC count higher than ever. They found some pneumonia in his left lung. They did chest x-rays and continued antibiotics. Finally on Tuesday they sent us home even though his WBC count was still really high. Rustin had been off oxygen for two days and his pain was much better. Getting all the narcotics out of his system was an ordeal that we undertook at home.
Overall Rustin missed three full weeks of work. Gary Walker came in and took all the patients on his schedule. It was so kind and reassuring not to have to worry about the practice while Rustin was sick. And we were still able to pick up our regular paycheck. Such a blessing!
It took a good week to get rid of all the extra fluid and get off the pain medicine. We had planned to to to Franklin for Thanksgiving but we ended up staying here in Twin with my parents and Ashlee's family. Rustin is back to work now but still isn't feeling well. His pancreas enzymes are elevated again and he get really dizzy and sweaty. His abdomen hurts every day. We are going back in regularly to check lab results and he will have to have the stent in his liver removed in a couple of weeks. Hopefully all will go well with that and Rustin will continue to heal.
We have been blessed a thousand times by friends and family who helped these last few weeks. Gary and Jared at the office as well as all the office staff have been great. The stake presidency has taken over for Rustin and have given him time to recover. Darren and Loalee took Jenna, Benson and Jackson home with them for a few days which was really helpful. We missed quite a bit of school but that's the good thing about homeschool--we can make it up! My parents helped with the puppies at out house (fifteen puppies right now!) and they did a bunch of laundry. So great.
We have had so many people fasting and praying for us we hardly know how to say thank you! Many stopped by to say hello and wish Rustin fast healing. The hospital staff was kind and encouraging for the most part. We appreciate good, pain free health and we are enjoying the holidays with our family at home!