I passed that night in pain even with morphine being administered every two hours. My lovely nurse, Tania, was wonderful enough to tell me that she would give it to me every two hours without me asking for it if I wanted. I told her that that would be nice. She was true to her word and kept it coming every two hours during the night. Even with that, the only position that didn’t cause extreme agony was laying on my right side. I’d been laying on my right side for days and my right hip was aching horribly. Each moment tore through my abdomen so I tried to move by the smallest of increments to try to keep the pain away while lessening the ache in my hip. Nothing worked. Nothing helped. I’d adjust the bed, I’d adjust my position. I was met with pain no matter what I did.
I was scheduled for the HIDA scan for late morning. The doctor brought me the tracer mixed with apple juice and told me I had to drink it. This seemed an insurmountable obstacle. The thought of putting that much liquid into my stomach had me in tears. In the past few days just the smallest sip of water or juice made the pain worse and now I had to drink about 8 ounces of fluid. Treun very gently encouraged me and told me I could do it – that I had to do it for us to get answers. I found the best way was to just take a big drink, then sit there and repeat, “I will not throw up. I will not throw up. I will not throw up.”
After drinking it all down, they told me I had to wait an hour. I was due for my morphine but wanted to put it off until right before they took me for the scan. I knew I had to lay on my back for nearly an hour, so I wanted the morphine fresh in my system to get through that. Being on my back was the most painful position for me so I knew I had to suffer for an hour so the morphine would be its most potent while I was being scanned.
That hour lasted an eternity. Treun danced with me through it. Standing didn’t bring much relief, but leaning against Treun and swaying comforted my soul. We’d spent much of the day before “dancing” in my room when the morphine wasn’t enough to touch the pain. So now he danced with me, waiting for them to be ready to take me for the scan. Finally, the doctor was back, telling me it was time to go. He had the nurse administer my morphine and help me into the wheelchair. He then wheeled me down to the scan himself. I think he wanted to make sure they kept in touch with him during the next hour as they watched the radioactive tracer light up my insides.
They got me onto the table and thankfully, the morphine was doing its job. I was uncomfortable but I was loopy and drowsy so it was manageable. They had a t.v. playing and I could see the reflection of it in the window. I asked them to change the station since I really didn’t want to watch the news. They put on one of Treun’s favored home remodeling shows and that brought me comfort. Then they inserted me into the machine and started the scan.
About 20 minutes into the scan, my surgeon came in to watch their little monitor. He watched for a few minutes then left. He returned a few minutes later with another doctor. I heard them talking and I heard, “leak” but that was all I could make out. They watched the monitor very intently for a few minutes.
Then my surgeon came out, laid his hand on my shoulder, and said, “We found a leak. We found what’s wrong and we’re going to fix it.” The tears just started flowing. Thank God! It wasn’t in my mind, I wasn’t going crazy, I wasn’t just having trouble healing. There was something genuinely wrong. I had been right when I just “knew” there was something terribly wrong, even when the ER told me it was just gas and constipation. There was something really wrong and they could fix it! My life would not just be pain for the rest of my life.
After I got settled back into my room, a new doctor came in to talk to Treun and me. He was a GI doctor and he explained that there was a leak that was letting bile flow directly into my abdomen. They would go down through my throat and insert a stent that would relieve the pressure and allow the bile to drain directly into my small intestine like it should and that the leak would heal over the next few weeks. I’d then have to have the stent removed in about six weeks.
This was the most amazing news. I asked if he could do the stent right away but he said that he couldn’t get me on the schedule until the next day. I had another 24 hours to live in this pain but I had hope that the pain would end. Until then we’d continue with morphine every two hours and he’d give me something to help me sleep at night since the morphine made me loopy but it also made my mind race.
I just had to make it another 24 hours.