Sunday, August 24, 2008

an actual update from the hospital

I've just had my evening meds, so hopefully this will stay coherent.

The Crohn's had been improving slowly since my last hospitalization in June. Of course, pretty much anything is better than needing 2 units of blood transfused every two days because an ulcer had to make a fuss.

At the beginning of this month I started feeling a little crappier, like a minor flare of the Crohn's within the overall flare. No big deal, it happens. I'd had a nice stretch of good days so a few bad days in a row were bound to happen.

On the 10th of this month food stopped becoming my friend completely. I tried giving my GI system a break by well, not eating solid food. Tomato soup, lemonade, and Boost High Protein shakes are pretty much what I lived off of. Plus the usual handful of pills.

Long story short, I went to the doctor, he gave me some antibiotics since it seemed I had a C. difficile infection, based on my symptoms. A week later (Wednesday night) I was getting worse and went to the ER. Early Thursday morning I was admitted and here I've been ever since.

A CT scan showed no abscesses in my abdomen, lab work was negative for a C. difficile infection, and an ultrasound showed my gallbladder is just fine. As of right now, the only explanation for what's going on is a flare up of the Crohn's. That doesn't mean there isn't something else going on, but on the flip side, the longer one has Crohn's, the worse the flares become.

There's still the possibility of an intestinal infection that's not C. difficile, which is why I'm being treated with 2 antibiotics right now. Or I could have a viral infection, in which case I have to wait it out.

My treatment also includes, among other medications, increasing one of my meds that reduces inflammation in the intestines, IV steroids, and Valium (which eases intestinal spasms, relaxes painful skeletal muscle spasms associated with the MS, minimizes the tremor that has developed in my hands as a side effect of another medication, reduces anxiety, and helps with insomnia).

Today I had my first solid food in two full weeks, since the 10th. The doc won't send me home until I can tolerate solid food again, and without the need of heavy-duty IV pain medication. As of right now, I've had two half meals and two snacks consisting of real food (Jello doesn't count as a real food, it's considered a liquid). This hasn't gone as well as I'd hoped. I'm eating small amounts of food with more frequency than I usually do, so I don't overload my system. I'm doing all the right things, but the transition isn't as smooth as I'd hoped.

So that's what has me in the hospital this time; nothing as dramatic as a bleeding ulcer, but a slow downhill slide that requires inpatient care.

When will I be going home? My guess is Tuesday, since I haven't been having a smooth transition to solid food. If I'd been having an easier time, the doc said he might have felt comfortable with sending me home Monday. It all depends on how well I respond to treatment and when we figure out what's causing the abdominal pain that's completely unlike the pain I generally experience with a Crohn's flare.

Did that make sense? It does to me, in a rambling sort of way. A couple of the meds for MS and migraines leave me in a permanent brain fog, so what makes sense to me doesn't always make sense to everyone else.

The joys of the Autoimmune Trifecta.

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