First, before I fill in all the details, I want to thank everyone who has been so supportive over the course of the past few weeks. To everyone at Capella University, thank you. You are a truly wonderful family and I feel so lucky to work with all of you. You are my home away from home. Additionally, to everyone at Woodbury Public Safety, thank you. You all are always there when people need help and this was no different. I am truly blessed to be a part of such a wonderful organization. Finally, to my family, thank you and I love you! Mom, Dad, Mary, Bob, Jen, Alex, and David you are all truly my life, I will not miss an opportunity to let you know how much you mean to me. Love you!
Two weeks ago (February 18, 2006) I went in to the emergency room here in Woodbury with really bad abdominal pain. They did some tests and figured out that I had Gallstones. That, in itself is not a big deal, however on Sunday (February 19, 2006) I started to run a fever and by Monday morning (February 20, 2006) it was high enough they wanted me to come back to the ER. The doctors ran some more tests and figured out that I had coleosystitis and I needed to have my Gallbladder removed. So, 2 hours later I was in the operating room having Laparoscopic surgery and getting my sick gallbladder pulled out. All went well (so it seemed) and I was discharged on Tuesday morning.
During the next few days I would seem feel a little better, like I was recovering. However, I was still, at times, feeling really crappy too. I just figured it was normal post-op feeling. Anyhow, on Friday (February 24, 2006) Jen, the boys, and I headed up to International Falls for the weekend. We had been planning this trip for sometime and I was feeling like I would be OK. Right after lunch on Friday, I got in the car and was instantly hit by the worst pain I have ever felt. It was like someone was stabbing a knife in my lower back. The pain ran from my lower back into my right leg and lower groin. While I had never had a Kidney Stone, that was my initial thought. I took a couple of Percoset and things started to feel a little better, but I was still in pain several hours later.
On Saturday (February 25, 2006), after getting basically no sleep Friday night, I went in the International Falls ER to get checked out and find out what was wrong. They took an abdominal X-Ray, ran a urine test, and did some blood work. The doctor concluded, based mainly on the X-Ray, that I was suffering from constipation and gas due the anesthesia from surgery. The X-Ray clearly showed that my colon and intestines were all bloated and full. They said some of my blood work was little abnormal but didn’t really make a big deal out of it. The Doctor there sent me off with a prescription for suppositories and rest. I did what he said, and made it through the rest of the weekend.
We got back to Woodbury on Sunday night (February 26, 2006) and I was still feeling pretty bad, still having lots of back and abdominal pain. I called my surgeons after-hours line at about 6:30 pm and told the on call doctor about my weekend and the diagnosis they had given me in International Falls. He told me to try Milk of Magnesia and see if that offered any relief, he felt that sometimes working top to bottom offers better results. I did what he suggested and, 7 hours later, still did not feel any better, nor had the Milk of Magnesia produced any results. So, at 3 am on Monday morning I again called the on-call doc and told him I was not feeling any better, he was rather rude and basically told me there was nothing he could do and to keep trying the stuff I’d all ready done.
Monday morning (February 27, 2006), after a night of very little sleep, I thought maybe going into work and moving around a little would help. So, in to work I went. My co-workers were very insistent that I did not look good, that I was very pale, and I seemed very weak. Jen picked me up at noon and I was still feeling crappy and in significant pain, but I was able to drink a great fruit smoothie and I thought maybe I was on the mend. I went home and rested for the rest of the day.
Monday night and Tuesday morning totally sucked. I was again up all night in constant abdominal and lower back pain. At about 3 am on Tuesday morning I took some pain medication I had from my surgery and was able to sleep for a couple of hours face down on the living room floor. This was the only position I found that I could tolerate. Over the course of the past week I would say I averaged 2 – 3 hours of sleep a night, not good. This was the last straw for Jen. Tuesday morning (February 28, 2006), she called my family doctors office and set up an appointment for me to be seen at 10:15 that morning. I initially protested and told her I was feeling a little better, but she insisted that I go. So, I went to see yet another doctor. They ran some blood tests and found my Hemoglobin was really low (8.8 or something 14 – 18 is normal), my doctor then sent me for a CT scan of my abdomen. I had to drink about a gallon of this really nasty stuff and they took pictures. At this point I wasn’t really sure what to think, my doctor seemed to think something was wrong, but no one was really telling me what, if anything, they were finding.
Finally, at about 2:00 pm, the doctors were ready to fill me in on what was wrong with me, why I was feeling so lousy and what we needed to do to make things better. What they found was not good. When the Surgeon did my Gallbladder surgery he must have accidentally nicked my Abdominal Aortic Artery, so for the last week I had been bleeding into my belly. They called my condition a “Psudeo-Anurism”, meaning I was bleeding into my belly, but it was in a confined area; this is what was keeping me from bleeding to death. They rushed me (by Ambulance, code 3) to St. Joe’s hospital in St. Paul and I was in surgery less than an hour later. They did an angiogram and then placed a stint in the artery where the damage was. This will be a permanent part of me for the rest of my life. Additionally, I had to get two units of blood on Wednesday (March 1, 2006) to help me recover and I’m still moving a little slow, but I’m getting better. I was discharged from the hospital on Thursday (March 2, 2006) and finally went home.
The nurse told me I was either hours, minutes, or even seconds away from bleeding to death. I lost between 1/3 to 2/3 of my total blood volume. Not a pleasant thought.
Make sure you kiss your kids, enjoy your life, and tell your wife you love her every chance you get. Things happen…
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