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[personal profile] bluedog
Man, this place has really died down.  Hardly anybody on my friends list posts anything anymore.  I suppose everybody has either moved to Facebook or just killed themselves.  That's a joke, son.

I recently had to have the gf take me to the emergency room in the middle of the night due to really horrible pain in my abdomen.  And you women say men can't understand what it's like to have a baby.   Psht.  This was pretty painful.

Turns out some scar tissue in my colon, a left over from my cancer surgery, combined with a sharp curve in my intestine and a mess of almonds I had eaten earlier to basically put a cork in it.  The result of which was that nothing was passing through and all the stuff that normally passes through was building up and swelling my guts.   Hence the pain.

It was in the ER that I learned something new.  That something new was called Nasogastric Intubation, or NG tube, for short.

What is an ng tube?   It's a clear plastic tube, slightly larger in diameter than your standard drinking straw, that is forced through your nose, down your throat and into your stomach.  It's most often used as a feeding tube for people that might need it, but for me, the flow was reversed and it was used to suck out the bile and other fluids that your body produces in your stomach during the normal course of events and continues to produce even when your intestines are blocked up and there is no place for those fluids to go.  And I suspect, from my usual mental state, that my body produces more bile than is usual.  (another joke. Try to keep up here)

Initially, I assumed that the insertion of the NG tube had to be the worst part of it.  Especially when you've got virgin nasal passages like mine and it takes the nurse and the other nurse FOUR TRIES to get the tube inserted.  If the sight of blood bothers you, you would not have been happy witnessing this.  The first try, the female nurse ... hold on, before I continue, let me say I knew I was in trouble when both nurses assured me that this was going to suck.   Not only did they tell me it was going to suck, the male nurse told me this was his least favorite nursing thing to do.  Think about all the nasty things that nurses do.  Well, it's probably best if you don't.  Just assume they do all sorts of nasty stuff involving body fluids and body not-quite-fluids and body wtf-is-that?-omg-I-need-to-wash-my-hands! type stuff.   And of all that, inserting NG tubes is his least favorite thing to do.   

So, the first try, the female nurse is on the pitching mound and she asks me which nostril to use.  The fuck do I know?  She asks me if I ever have had my nose broken. No.  Does either of my nostrils feel more open?  I finally say 'try the left'.  So, the male nurse holds a cup of water, which I am supposed to drink as the tube slides down my throat.  This helps lubricate the passage and the drinking action apparently helps neutralize the gag reflex.  And once they get it started I'm supposed to hold my head tilted forward, with my chin against my chest.  Again, this somehow puts your body in a posture that helps the tube go down.

She starts.  It fucking hurts as she pushes it through my nose.  I feel the tube meet some sort of resistance and she just keeps pushing it and pushing it and I'm sure that pretty soon she'll be pulling that tube out of my ass and they'll be able to floss me, I'm wondering why the male nurse isn't giving me the water and then, she pulls it all back out.  WTF!  That means she's gonna have to do it again!

The tube is covered in slimy blood.  It's nasty looking.  She decides to try my another nostril.  In it goes, jam, jam, push, push, ouch motherfucker.  She pulls out it out again.

The male nurse says "let me try".  He goes back to the left nostril.  Once again, no luck.  My nostrils reject the foreign interloper like the Mujahideen beat back the Russians.  The he switches over to give the right nostril another try.  By this time there is blood everywhere, at least that's how it looks to me.  I'm sure my nose will never by normal again. 

He shoves and twists and pokes that tube in my right nostril and suddenly I feel it slide past whatever it was that was blocking it.  Drink, drink!  I gulp water as the tube slides down my throat and into my stomach.  I'm glad that's over.

The nurses are apologetic.  I tell them I hate them both.  (not a joke, I really said that).  They sort of smile, not sure if I'm joking.  Neither am I.  They both congratulate me on being a tough guy and taking it so well.   Great. 

Turns out, just having that tube in my nose for the next two days is actually far more annoying than having it inserted.   Mainly because, as painful as the insertion was, it was over pretty quick.   The tube gives me a huge headache.  Any movement of my head causes it to tweak my nose and some sort of internal pain nerves that I, in the normal course of life, never really feel.  Also, it just feels odd to have it in my throat like that.   I'm not surprised that some patients pull this tube out.  I'm mentally with it enough to know though that that would just mean they'd have to reinsert it.  No thanks.

The rest of the hospital stay was pretty boring.   Just laid in bed for 2 days, not sleeping (the nose tube kept me awake, mostly) and waited for the blockage to unblock on it's own.  If it didn't, they'd cut their way in with a commando team and blow it open with some C4.  Luckily it didn't come to that. 

I didn't get to eat or drink anything during that time.  I had an IV keeping my hydrated.  The first night I asked the nurse if I could have something for my headache.  She asked me, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst, how much pain was I in.   I said 5.  She left and came back with an ampoule of morphine, for my headache, which she shot into my IV line.  Nice.  

The next night I asked (a different nurse) for something for my headache.  She asked me to rate my pain on the 1-10 scale.  This time I said 7.  She came back with 2 ampoules of morphine and injected em into my IV line.  Had I stayed there another night, I was gonna go for broke and say 10 the next time. 

But they let me out on my birthday.   Yay.  Having the tube pulled out sucked too, but it was worth it to be rid of that bastard.  It's nice to be able to go to the restroom without having to have somebody come and disconnnect you from a bunch of tubes first.

And the other day I got my insurance claim form from Blue Shield.  

You know something is wrong with the system when the hospital bills for $13,872 and the insurance company gets away with only allowing $3,499.  I realize they negotiate for a group discount or something from the hospital, but that is just fucked up.   I assume that anybody without insurance would be expected to pay the whole nearly $14k bill.  

Ah well, I'm sure our Senators and Congressman are hard at work fixing *that* problem right now.  (yah, that's sarcasm).


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February 2012

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