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Ah, the winding down of the hectic holiday rhythms our culture perpetuates year after year. Slowly re-storing Christmas decorations, trees, etc. to their “usual place.” Time to take a deep breath, relax.  So I thought.

Friday night, stomach acid erupted up my esophagus and rudely wakened me in the middle of the night. I assumed it was acid reflux and I quickly downed a couple of TUMs. That wasn’t enough to calm things down, so I forced myself to swallow pink gooey Pepto. Then I was able to sleep a couple of hours before I was jolted wide awake with projectile vomiting. For you non-medical folks, that is the kind of vomiting that is so forceful it travels across the room as in the movie “The Exorcist.”

This meant I had to get in my car and drive to the local ER because the last time this happened it threw my heart into a “tizzy.” I was immediately wheeled into the ER where they started giving me  IV fluids. For most, this is a somewhat simple procedure, but for someone with “poor veins” who is dehydrated this is sometimes next to impossible. Oh yes, bloods were drawn. Again. And Again. When one is dehydrated, this almost becomes a form of torture. What these medical folks were calling “a Rainbow” suddenly gave a whole new meaning to what had, until then, been my almost magical concept of “rainbow.”

When IVs were finally started and all bloods drawn,  I was rolled on my gurney to x-ray for abdominal x-rays and chest x-ray and returned to my cubicle.  After a few hours and several trips in to check my IV—–the IV fluids were moving R..E…A…L…L…Y  slowly—–it became clear I would remain on my back in my own little cubicle of life-saving grace until the IV bag was empty. Thankfully, my priest came and  stayed with me during part of this ER experience, and her presence, prayer, and support were very comforting. She helped make everything “endurable.”

Finally, the doctor came in to discuss my x-rays with me. If I hadn’t felt so bad, I would have laughed. This had to be one of the most comical x-ray result discussions on record.

In the past,  when I have experienced this type of vomiting and dehydration it was due to a partial obstruction of my gastro-intestinal system that, in turn, usually sent me via  ambulance to an advanced metropolitan medical center in St. Louis where I would stay for at least a week under the always looming threat of emergency abdominal surgery. My x-rays, thank God, did not show a partial bowel obstruction this time.

I was so relieved to hear I  did not have a partial obstruction this time that it took me a while to realize the doctor was telling me my x-rays revealed I was absolutely, totally, “full of a LOT of shit.” Evidently, I have a “redundant colon.” I was told a redundant colon means that back in my size 5X days my colon expanded to a super large size—–and when I finally lost weight my colon had lost its elasticity and stayed stretched out. Now, because of that and numerous surgeries I lack nerve stimulation and intestinal elasticity/peristalsis to “move my feces” along and out of my body in a timely fashion. Of course, a bit keeps moving through, and since “daily evacuation” occurs, I have no clue things are “building up.” Evidently, my body only knows it is “filled to capacity” when there is “no room in the inn” —-at which time it reverts to projectile vomiting to remove fluids out the other end of my body.

Due to this x-ray finding  I was then treated to a VERY hot old-fashioned 1000 cc soap suds enema. And yes, it worked. I completely filled a portable bedside commode. My recommended discharge prescription was daily use of multiple laxatives accompanied by the use of rectal suppositories three-four times per week. Then, to top it off, I was told to give myself a couple of enemas every week whether I think I needed them or not.

The whiny kid in me wanted to complain, but being alive and living with all this anal fixation is better than dying or having to have surgery and having a colostomy to tend. To be honest, this is not the way I wanted to spend my post-holiday wind-down or even the rest of my life, but I am grateful for medical intervention and thankful God continues to let me live one day at a time in spite of the damage I have inflicted upon my body through the years due to “self-will run riot.”

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