Sunday, August 25, 2013

Healthy & Home & Ready to Go!

If you've been reading, you know that I was admitted to the hospital last Thursday due to some nasty abdominal pain that had been getting worse and worse thoughout our impromptu road trip through Colorado. At first they were sure it was my appendix, then they did a CT scan and weren't so sure, since the walls of my ascending colon was about three times the normal thickness and I had excess fluid in my abdomen.

As it turns out, I have a family history of ulcerative colitis and intestinal cancer, so this was a fairly scary thing to find from the CT. To determine whether one of these family heirlooms was present in my bowels, the docs ordered a colonoscopy. So, I drank the ~1gal of synthetic fluid that washes out your bowels over the course of a few hours, and they put me under. My large intestine checked out clean - hooray - no ulcerative colitis or intestinal cancer/polyps. As it turns out, my pain was the result of an infection of some sort (either viral or bacterial) in my ascending colon. They've got me on some antibiotics, and everything is (slowly) starting to get better. I can eat, walk around, and carry things now with manageable amounts of pain. Given that when I was admitted three days ago I needed morphine in order to eat anything, this is a HUGE improvement.

And it's just in time, since TOMORROW MORNING I start my first day of the second year of med school. Yikes. I'm incredibly glad that it all got sorted out the way it did. I stood a very real possibility of having to miss classes during the very first week of second year, which I doubt would be very conducive to a successful year.

So now I scramble a bit to figure out what books I'm going to buy, what classrooms to be in for small group discussions, etc. etc.. I'm also trying to get the photos from this road trip edited and put up on here, but that might not happen until later in the week or the following weekend. We'll see. Just know that I'm out of the hospital and ready to tackle this coming year of school. Later!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Admitted to the Hospital?!?

So we drove back from Colorado in one straight, 20-hour shot yesterday. I will definitely be posting more about our impromptu Colorado road trip later.

We drove back to Michigan pretty fast, mostly because I'd been having abdominal pain since Monday morning, steadily increasing all week. I thought it might be appendicitis due to the nature (rebound tenderness, positive Rovsing's sign) and location (right lower quadrant around McBurney's point, though extending a bit higher) of the pain. Before you start let me say I know. I know - a med student trying to diagnose himself. Soooo stereotypical, right? But seriously, it's kind of hard to NOT do this as you drive across half the country with not much to do other than recline your chair and palpate your abdomen... I didn't have some of the other stereotypical symptoms (fever, lack of appetite, etc.) but with a slightly elevated white blood cell count, appendicitis was still a possibility, I thought - and one with a simple solution (surgery).

So thought the nurse practitioner at the Urgent Care center I went to this morning. As did the Ultrasound Technician who was awesomely nice while at the same time one of the most sadistic people I've ever met, pushing with the probe the way she had to... She was more on the fence, but they were pretty sure overall that it was appendicitis. They were so sure, they did this to get some blood tests going:


Pretty soon afterward, this was my view on the way to the hospital:


I then drank some nasty delicious oral contrast and went in for a CT scan. Just before the scan, they also injected some IV contrast. If you've never had it, that stuff is WEIRD. The first sensation was a strong, cloying, metallic taste in the back of my throat. This was followed quickly by the simultaneous, warm sensations of wetting my pants and going diarrhea, as though they were pooling around me. Even though the tech warned me about it, I still had to touch my boxers to make sure it wasn't really happening... Apparently the sensations are caused by the warm flushing effect that the IV contrast has when it moves through your tissues. Whatever the reason, it was decidedly odd.

After the CT, the ER doc tentatively decided that it is NOT appendicitis. Apparently the appendix looks fine in the CT, but there's something wrong with my ascending colon. There's some flem-like swelling in the walls of the intestine that look like the beginning of an abscess, but they're not sure whether it's due to an infection or Crone's Disease or ulcerative colitis or possibly any number of other things. I've been admitted to the hospital for tonight at the least, hopefully to narrow things down more tomorrow.

And just now the attending came in, percussed & palpated my abdomen, and decided to call a surgical consultation because she did NOT like how it felt. Basically, she put appendicitis back on the table WITH the colon inflammation, stating that I basically have a "surgical abdomen." The surgeon came in, did the same palpation, and said he wasn't sure - that he is going to schedule another consultation with a radiologist to look at the CT scan before deciding one way or another on surgery. It's all up in the air right now.

Orientation for second year starts tomorrow morning, so THAT won't be happening... Bummer. But hey, at least my appendix didn't explode while driving through the cornfields of Nebraska, right? And hey, this way I can take some time and edit all the time lapses and sweet photos of the Colorado trip, getting it all neatly posted on here before the school year starts on Monday. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Hobbes Loves Acadia Antlers - Review

All right, so it's t-minus 7 DAYS till orientation starts for the Fall 2013 Semester, and things have been a big-time flurry around Jintusland these days. Last Friday I and my dad visited my brother and sister-in-law (and their AWESOME new daughter!) in Maryland. While we were there, we headed out to the Seafood Festival in Havre de Grace, Maryland. Given my and Wife's recent addition to the household (see: Hobbes!), one stand in particular caught my eye:

Acadia Antlers: "They're Bucking Great!(R)"
Got Moose?

That's right - those are MOOSE antlers, collected from the backcountry of Maine and sold specifically for use as chew-tools for dogs! I had seen deer antlers before, but never MOOSE antlers. The deer antlers in pet stores have always been obscenely expensive, so I've never jumped for them. Instead, I've always gotten my dog(s) Nylabones, since they last forever and were a little cheaper.

Acadia Antlers has changed that. I was given a number of different product types for Hobbes to try out, and so far he has preferred the $5 "taster" slice of moose antler. We call it his Moose, and he absolutely loves it. He prefers it far above the bacon- and chicken-flavored miniature Nylabones that we got for him. He likes it so much that we use it as a treat in training. Here's Hobbes gnawing away:



They also gave me some other, larger-dog items for Hobbes to grow into. The best part is, even though I'm back in Michigan and they're based out of the east coast, their web store makes it easy to purchase and have the items shipped to you - and still at a cheaper price than buying at the pet store! They have a flat rate of shipping at $5.95 (at the time of this writing), regardless of how much you buy! Check out www.acadiaantlers.com for more information. They last forever, add virtually nothing to your dog's diet, and are completely natural. Even better - wolves chew them in the wild. WOLVES. Enough said.

Here are a couple more photos for your enjoyment:







Lastly, wish Wife, Hobbes and me good luck and safe travels as we embark on a mini ROAD TRIP this week. It'll be radio silence for a bit, but it's for a good cause - trust me! More on that once we're back.

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