(Warning- This blog is for mature audiences only. It is an intense and graphic description of my weekend. It involves an ambulance ride, a trip to the ER, and copious amounts of blood. If you are the slightest bit squeamish about any of these things, this is a blog you might want to avoid. Consider yourself warned.)
An esophogeal bleed.
Ever see that term? Ever heard of that particular malady? Me neither. I was introduced to it over the weekend. In a big, life threatening way. But let me start this story from the beginning.
Last Friday, at 1 a.m., I was awakened by a mouthful of puke. Ewwww. I know. Anyway, I sprinted to the bathroom with said mouthful, made it to the toilet to expel what looked like blood. I say looked like blood because I wasn’t quite sure.
Ok, let me explain here. It was 1 a.m. I was barely awake. Also, I’m a guy. I was telling myself it wasn’t blood.
Couldn’t be. I’m sure I’m fine. Right?
I tried to get back to sleep, but I was not feeling very well. As a matter of fact, I felt terrible. As the morning progressed, I don’t ever remember feeling worse in my life. At about 7 a. m. I woke Holly up and told her that a hospital trip might be in my immediate future.
While we were trying to decide if she was going to bring me to the hospital or if we were going to call 911, I grabbed a batter bowl that I had brought into the bedroom just in case I had to throw up again. It is a 2 quart batter bowl and I proceeded to fill it about halfway. This time there was no doubt. It was definitely blood.
That little incident convinced us to call 911. That, and when I tried to walk to the bathroom, I almost blacked out and fell back into bed.
So, one of Grandville’s finest and two paramedics showed up. After they arrived, I proceeded to shock and amaze them all by once again half filling the batter bowl with another expulsion of blood. At this point, it would not have surprised me if my head could spin around backwards and I could use my brain to throw furniture around and close doors.
(I stopped into the Grandville fire department this week to thank the guys for helping me out. I figured that was the least I could do after they witnessed my Linda Blair impression. Tom the paramedic told me that in over 30 years in the business he had never seen anything like my little display on that Friday morning. He was also pretty impressed I was upright and walking. But I digress.)
After a bumpy, uneventful ambulance ride to Butterworth Hospital, I was wheeled into a chaotic emergency room, where I was left in a hallway. I told the very nice ER nurse that I was about to puke again and that she should probably move me into a room. I didn’t want to create a scene.
I was given a cool bag to puke in, and was told that they were extremely busy. I missed my batter bowl, but hey, the bag worked very well when the next stream of blood came gushing out of me, in front of a very surprised ER doc. He was impressed enough to immediately move me into a room.
In the ER, I was administered the first of 4 blood transfusions I would be given over the next 2 days. I was also put on a blood pressure monitor that came in at around 75/40. Clearly, I was in trouble.
It was determined that an endoscopy was needed to figure out where the copious amounts of blood were coming from. So I was wheeled down to where they do that. It was somewhere in the bowels of the hospital. I have no idea. The entire day feels like a dream to me now.
The best news I got all day was that they were gonna knock me out for the procedure. If you’ve ever had a endoscopy or a colonoscopy, you know that they can give you a sedative that leaves you somewhat conscious. I wanted to be knocked out. Please.
Before they put me to sleep, I said a quick prayer to God that if this was it, I was perfectly fine with it. I honestly had no problem with the thought of not waking up ever again. It was that kind of day.
But, alas, the next thing I know I’m staring at the ceiling in the recovery room, and someone is asking me really annoying questions. Like, “Hi Dan, can you tell me your name and birthdate? And, “Do you know where you are?” And, “Can you tell me the month and year?”
As I lay there, one thing I thought was, shit, this wasn’t a dream. This is actually happening. Another thing I thought was I wish the person that was asking me questions would please just shut the fuck up and let me lay here and figure this out. And, holy shit, I’m really thirsty.
After a few minutes, I answered all the annoying person’s questions, and I told her I wanted to be put back in the Matrix. This elicited a confused look. I also told her for some reason I heard Bryan Adams, and I wasn’t very happy about it. She apologized for the music and said they had to play mellow stuff in the recovery room. I calmed down when the next song was by Ambrosia, whom she admitted she had never heard of.
The endoscopy revealed that I had a esophageal bleed, and the blood from it ran into my stomach, which made my stomach angry and caused me to vomit. The bleed was caused by acid reflux, which more than likely was caused by the trial drugs I am currently on for my advanced prostate cancer.
While they were doing the endoscopy, they fixed the bleed. Yay! So the puking was over, but I spent the rest of the weekend in the hospital, finally going home on Monday when my hemoglobin reached acceptable levels.
I am now on a drug called Protonix, which is used to battle acid reflux and will help fix my damaged esophagus. I am also taking a break from the trial drugs. My PSA has fallen from 52 to 23, so the drugs are working fine. Well, except for the fact that they almost killed me last weekend. Hence the break.
I’m grateful for all the people that helped me, from the paramedics to the extremely competent and caring nurses at Butterworth. And I’m especially grateful to my amazing wife Holly, who was by my side the whole time and didn’t freak out once. (Well, except she wasn’t with me for the initial 1 a.m. trip to the bathroom. If she would have seen that, I would have been to the hospital a few hours sooner.) She’s an incredible lady. My love for her grows stronger everyday.
I’m even grateful to the annoying person with all the questions in the recovery room. Thanks for the little sponge with water in it. Sorry I almost sucked it off the stick.
But a little advice on the music selections. Less Bryan Adams. More Ambrosia.
Thanks for reading.