Health Guide: Diverticulitis Is Nothing To Play With

Jul 8, 2011 by

I’m living in Day 11 of my second bout with the intestinal infection known as diverticulitis and I felt obligated to write a note for the ages that warns others with this ailment–This is nothing to play around with.

During the past 11 days, I’ve spent 5 of them in a hospital bed.  There were two before going into the hospital.  That leaves four that I’ve been out.

At this writing, I’m still very weak and tired.  I’ve basically quit eating as I’m not really hungry, but at the same time, I am hungry and nothing sounds good, and I’m afraid to eat anything that is going to get stuck inside me and make me start hurting insanely again.

In The Hospital

I spent my time in the Texas Regional Medical Center in Sunnyvale, Texas.  This is a brand new facility.  Everything is new.  It’s clean.  I sat in the ER waiting room maybe for five minutes and from then on, I was in a bed.

Before I went upstairs and was admitted, I had blood work done, had a CT-Scan, and time with a caring doctor who gave me options on how I was going to be treated.

Upstairs with my nurses, they change shifts every 12 hours at 7 am/pm, were professional, caring and pleasant to work with.  They were responsive to my needs and constantly were checking on me.

Clear Liquid Diet

The first thing I was told was that I was going on a clear liquid diet.  That translates to beef/chicken broth, some clear jello, and a Popsicle for lunch and supper. I also was allowed to drink my unsweetened iced tea. 

This went on for four days.  Just thinking about broth right now makes me want to think about hurling, but it really was what I needed.  A few nurses let me have chocolate pudding cups, but that got stopped by one of the nurses.

Going Home

When I awoke Saturday morning after having been admitted, I expected the doctor to send me home.  That wasn’t even on his radar.  He said, “We’ll continue the clear liquids a couple more days and then we’ll see how you do with soft foods.”

Remember, most hospitals are trying to kick you out as fast as possible.  That told me I was sicker than I thought.

My First Bout

When I had diverticulitis the first time, I was so intent on keeping up with my work, I even went on a trip from Dallas to Mobile.  My doctor at the time freaked out.   I was miserable and wound up coming home early, but that time, I didn’t realize the seriousness of my ailment, nor did I realize the impact it was having on my body.

The Second Time Around

This time I’ve been more respectful of the ailment.  It would have been madness to have come home from the hospital last Saturday to take care of myself at home.  Every four hours at the hospital, the nurses were pumping pain relief meds, plus antibiotics straight into me via an IV.  This would not have happened at home.

There is absolutely no way I would have conformed to the requirements of the clear liquid diet at home either.  I would have been nibbling on hard and high-fiber meats and such and just been clogging myself up again, causing more and more pain and discomfort.

Obstructed Intestine

My ER doctor soon told me I was not obstructed, that things were getting through my intestines, and if I was obstructed and had diverticulitis, the results would be “catastrophic.”

That translates into I would have died.

The other danger with diverticulitis was if one of the pockets that have formed in my intestine had burst, much like appendicitis, spilling my guts into my guts.  That would have been far worse, too.

A Couple Recommendations

1) Diverticulitis is no game.  It’s not a picnic, nor is it any fun to endure.  It’s highly painful and energy draining.  When your doctor tells you you’re going to be down for awhile, you’re going to be down.  Don’t try to speed up the process.  You cannot.

2) The TRMC in Sunnyvale is a very good hospital to go to when you’re in need. I highly recommend it.  It’s still something of a secret so it’s not crowded, the rooms are clean, and my room was a single-bed, so I didn’t have to listen to the drama of someone else ailing in my room with me.

3) Forget about taking trips with diverticulitis.  That was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done.

4) Follow up with your doctor after getting out of the hospital.  This is a very serious ailment and one you don’t want to come back…



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A Stay In The Hospital–Daddy/Daughter Time

Jul 3, 2011 by

Not every hospital admission has to be a bad thing.  In what now is Day 3 of this adventure, which was caused by a flare up of diverticulitis, I remain hospitalized and my precious, eldest daughter, Chandler, remains at my side here in the Texas Regional Medical Center in Sunnyvale, Texas.

Who would have thought a bout with an affliction, that if had ruptured could have killed me, could have brought about one of the things she and I have been needing together–MORE TIME WITH EACH OTHER.

The typical modern-day dad often is fighting for opportunities to spend time with his kids.  After a series of acts of drama  my time with my kids over the past two years has been severely curtailed. I’ve had to completely change my way of living in order to get to the point where I am now.

I was admitted to this hospital Friday afternoon.  It’s now Sunday at 7 p.m. and the doctor was just in here at 4 p.m.  saying, “Maybe tomorrow you can begin to have a little more to eat.”  It’s been IVs and beef broth, jello and a pop-sickle for lunch and supper.  (The nurses also have been getting me chocolate pudding to snack on.)


And from the get go, Chandler, 14, soon to be 15, has been here by my side giving up some time with her friends, etc. on a historic weekend, and spend time here in the hospital with me.  Yes, she’s 14.  Did I mention she soon will be 15?

So many times she’s helped me by turning this on, and that off.  Through Facebook friends she was driven back to my place to pick up the Mac and a couple other items I’d not packed up in haste because when we left home Friday near mid-day, I sure didn’t anticipate being here three days later. Nor tomorrow’s fourth day.

But the true joy in all of this has been the opportunity to talk.

Friday night going into sun-up on Saturday morning, we just talked.

Time With Your Kids

From having seen Courageous last week in Dallas, (It opens in theaters Sept. 30,) it’s been reaffirmed to me of how little time we actually have with our children.  I didn’t ask Chandler to stay here at the hospital.  But I’m thankful to no end that she has. (Obviously I wish my twin daughters, 12, could have stayed, too, but that wouldn’t have worked here in the hospital.)

This afternoon Chandler’s “BF” has been here and they’ve been  visiting in the lobby.  About 6:30 she came up to check on me and tell me they’re about to walk down to the local Subway for dinner.  As they were injecting me with my latest dose of “pain management,” she was trying to decide if I was “high enough” to bring the boy in here to meet me.

What I have to talk to her about tonight is that I don’t want her to be thinking I needed to be on planet Pluto to introduce me to her friend.  Though what she also didn’t think about is that I might be souped up enough I might do the Martin Lawrence and Will Smith first date routine in Bad Boys II.  (He He!)

Okay, gotta stop.  You wouldn’t believe how hard this has been to write.  More later.

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