Throughout my life I have been told that I am a bit airy-fairy very much skipping through life then...oh look it’s a unicorn.
I don’t always pay attention to my body which with 2 stomas and other complications can be problematic sometimes. On Tuesday 9th January I had no choice but to listen...my ileostomy had stopped working and the pain was out of this world.
Looking back I believe now my blockage was down to Special K cereal I had at 9.00am. It wasn’t until my 3rd meal that day at 5pm did I realise I had not emptied my bag at all and there was nothing in it. My tummy was very bloated and the pain started to build coming in waves. After another hour the pain intensified and I was letting out a little moan I could not control every 2 minutes. Feeling extremely sick it was then I started to panic! I tried everything to help the blockage; a hot bath, hot water bottle, fizzy drinks, massaging, squatting, shower on my tummy lifting legs but nothing helped.
What was most concerning is my stoma is normally prolapsed 8 inches that can be annoying but I know it will always be out. During this blockage my prolapse had been sucked in and the spout had flipped around. In 4 years this was the first time I had experienced no prolapsed and all and it was scary because it wasn’t normal for me. I started vomiting and the spasms were getting worse. I called 111 and a nurse there refused to let me get a taxi and sent an ambulance. This took 3 hours and in the end I was getting worse, vomiting undigested food, screaming with the waves and I decided to get a taxi to A and E.
(This isn't normal for me! Usually, I always have my prolapse out for 4 years)
The taxi driver thought I was pregnant and in labour but I was in so much pain I didn’t correct him. I could hardly walk and groaned my way over to the receptionist. I glanced at the waiting times and saw 5 hours at which point I thought I wouldn’t last that long on a chair. The receptionist was amazing went off, next minute she helped walk me straight through to an isolation bed in majors. They were extremely busy yet she went out of her way to help me and I am very grateful for her initiative.
I have had spasm pain before. You don’t have a SPC for 7 years and not experience labour type pain in the form of my bladder giving birth to my catheter and this felt similar but for my bowel
I was letting out this awful scream/moan every 2 minutes and apologised because I had NO control over it (along with a few swear words again couldn’t really control) I have never had this type of pain before but I knew it was a total blockage .
The sister came and helped me and the first time in about 5 years they got a cannula in first time. I was given a paracetymol drip and then iv morphine which worked well but they believe I may have become allergic to this because I came out in a white rash with my veins prominent.
After an hour I started to panic thinking would I need sugery? How would I go on holiday in a week and a half time? Have I messed up next weeks opportunities because I wasn’t mindful about what I was eating?
Just as I was planning out the next few days in my head involving surgery and cancelling appointments I let out a big scream and my bag started filling up with very thick looked like undigested food. Instantly the crampy pain subsided. I continued massaging my tummy and secretly was thanking the universe for listening to my prayers. The doctor came to see me just after my bag filled up and the sister said I looked much more comfortable. He was a brilliant doctor and really listened to me and respected my knowledge in regards to my body.
I had an x-ray to check if the blockage had gone. The results showed I had some big loops that were still very dilated showing I was still in an obstruction. After an hour I felt much better. My bag emptied twice and I was trying to persuade them to send me home because I knew the blockage had gone and the rest would pass through eventually. The doctor spoke to one of my surgeons who looked at the xray and agreed with me that the worst had gone and the rest should disperse soon. I felt 1000 times better than when I came in and knew with ample rest and food restricting (soft diet) I would be fine in a few days, It was nice to hear my surgeon tell the doctor ‘Rachel is an expert patient and knows her body extremely well and in this case I agree with her about going home.’
So at 5.30 I called my taxi feeling exhausted but so relieved and grateful I didn’t need surgery and came back home to sleep and recover.
Over the next few days, I was a bit sore and exhausted. I noticed I was extremely scared to eat again and tried to battle through this and eat soup, soft food that wasn’t too difficult to digest.
I have had partial blockages before but this time something was different this was a full blockage and my god it was painful! It is important to know when you need medical attention and to ask for help. Obstructions can be really dangerous, after trying all the go to ways to relieve a blockage and still this doesn’t work or you start vomiting then that is the time to seek medical advice.
Here is a link from the ileostomy association on the symptoms of a Bowel Obstruction and what to do if this happens. It is very informative.
Have you experienced any partial or full blockage since your surgeries? I would love to hear from you.