[headline_arial_small_centered color=”#000000″]There Is No Bad Day[/headline_arial_small_centered]
[headline_tahoma_medium_centered color=”#000000″]Chapter 7 – Clawing Out Of The Pit[/headline_tahoma_medium_centered]
[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Still Starving[/headline_tahoma_small_left]
I wonder, is starving worse than drowning? I don’t know for sure, but I would guess it is. Because drowning can only last a couple minutes, and starving can go on for days and weeks even! It’s a horrible feeling to be deteriorating and feeling your body starving to death. But after the epic failure of an attempt to eat solid foods, I had reverted to no food at all. Not even liquid calories. Nothing. I couldn’t bring myself to eat. The fear of pain from eating trumped the pain of starving. I didn’t get any substantial food into my system for over a week.
On Halloween, they stopped the stomach suction and I drank a cup of apple juice. I immediately cramped so they started the suction again. Looks like the tube is staying in! On the plus side, at least I got to be ‘Crazy tube in the face man!’ for Halloween (As Adam Sandler would have no doubt called me).
I had been begging for nutrition through an IV. I couldn’t last forever on a diet of ice chips. Yet despite my obvious pain and inability to eat, the doctors hesitated prescribing it for some reason. Finally on Wednesday Nan convinced them, but they wouldn’t start the nutrition until the following night at 9 PM. GROAN!!! How could I survive another day without any nutrition?
Apparently we can survive longer than we think on just liquid. But it’s no fun I assure you. My energy neared empty when a group of eight of my friends came to visit. So nice to see them, and feel their support and love, but when they asked how they could help, I could only point to my wife’s phone number on the white board. Speaking was agony. So tired. So drained. I lived solely on the hope of the 9 PM arrival of nutrients.
Finally the nutrition bag came, they plugged it in and I went to sleep.
[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Weighing In[/headline_tahoma_small_left]
I slept in peace that night, and felt some hope now that I finally had IV nutrition and my bowels could rest. The next day I could feel the energy filling me up, like someone had plugged me in to an electric socket to recharge. Such a huge relief!
My weight registered at 131 pounds that day. Though I did feel much better suddenly, the road to recovery seemed to stretch off into the distance forever with no end in sight. But I took solace in the hope that I was legitimately on that road now!
I took this self portrait with my phone that day after they removed the heinous nose tube.
Little more than skin and bone, most of my muscles severely atrophied. Barely able to walk to the bathroom, and I could only manage that at most once a day. Otherwise, the nurses emptied my ostomy bag and my portable urinal for me and I just lay there. But I felt happy. So grateful to have the nose tube removed, the nutrition pumping in, and my wife’s forgiveness. What a relief!! Here’s what Nan wrote on facebook that day:
November 2, 2012 – Nan Kennard
The past few days have been rough. Aaron’s stomach is still not accepting any food, not even juice or jello. He has a stomach pump in all the time now to help alleviate the cramping. His color is not great either as he is super anemic.
The Docs finally started him on total parenteral nutrition (IV) last night so he is getting a 24 hour drip of 3,000 calories with fat, protein, carbs, and vitamins customized to exactly what his body needs after looking at his deficiencies via blood test. Thank goodness for that!! We were asking for that in the hospital two weeks ago before the whole perforating colon ordeal, but the Docs wouldn’t give it to us then because he hadn’t been starving for long enough and they wanted to keep giving his bowels a chance to start digesting.
Apparently losing 40 lbs in 6 weeks is not starving long enough. Wha? Anyway, here we are now post surgery and the Docs say it’s quite common for the digestion to take its time working again after removing the large bowel and not to worry yet. A few days on IV nutrition and he’ll try food again.
Aaron’s mental outlook is still quite good despite his exhaustion, weakness and pain. He has been a solid rock of strength and optimism throughout all of this. Every time I visit I feel uplifted and hopeful. If anyone wants to go visit him he is still in Boulder Community Hospital on Broadway. He could use as many happy smiles and words of encouragement as he can get. Thanks for your continued faith and prayers on our behalf. And thanks to all of those who have brought meals, watched my kids, and carried me through this challenging time.
Thankfully Nan is super optimistic and was already forgetting about her dreadful visit with me on Monday, where she definitely did not “feel uplifted and hopeful”. My daughter Breanne further enhanced my mood, still beautiful even with a huge nose and no front teeth. She brings joy to my soul no matter how I am feeling.
The next day my surgeon already pushed me to start eating. Content to get my energy through the tube, I didn’t want to play with more pain for a while. But he was adamant, so I started the process, very slowly this time. I wrote this to my friends:
November 4, 2012
This was my challange for today: 3 teaspoons of chocolate ice cream without a bowel sieze-up. The jury is still out. Yesterday after 2 small bites of applesauce and 2 bites of cream of wheat my stomach seized all morning.