I've suspected for awhile that I had Celiac. If nothing else, I certainly had an intolerance to gluten, I felt much better without it and several annoying problems went away.
When I talked to the doctor about it, I was told the only way to confirm 100% was with an endoscopy and biopsy of my stomach and duodenum. Not a thrilling idea, but not a surprise either. The procedure seemed simple enough.
Tuesday morning I had the procedure and when I no longer felt wobbly, my friend took me home. We stopped for lunch, but it hurt like hell to swallow. Not in my throat, but in the middle of my chest. I put it down to anesthesia and left-over effects of the procedure. I packed up my food, my friend took me home and I took a nap.
I woke up at five and things still felt wrong. Taking a deep breath caused discomfort. I wasn't even willing to try drinking water. I called in to check and the nurse said she would check with the on-call doctor and get back to me. A short time later I got the call to come in to the emergency room.
Not the most pleasant thought, but I held out the hope it would be a short visit. I tracked down a friend to give me a ride, gave the cats extra food and fresh water and went off to the emergency room.
Because it was chest pain, they checked out all the heart things, but they were definitely not the problem. A cat scan revealed some air in my chest cavity. I was getting checked in. Hooray.
I called the friend who brought me in to let her know I was staying. Called my friend who is also my boss to let her know I wouldn't be in the next day and settled in to wait and see. I hate waiting, but there were no other options.
I talked to several thoracic surgeons. I had a barium study (you swallow a barium fluid and they take x-rays). The study didn't show any leakage. That is excellent news. Air is still a problem and I would need antibiotics and monitoring.
I was in the hospital from Tuesday night until Friday afternoon. I had a three different antibiotics delivered regularly all that time. I couldn't have anything by mouth until Thursday. On Thursday I started off with 15 ccs of liquid every hour, moved up to 30 ccs four hours later. Four hours after that I could have 2/3rds of a cup. Even though I had saline/glucose drip, I was overjoyed by the first sip of liquid - Boost, vitamins in liquid form.
Friday morning, since everything had been going well, I had hoped to be discharged around eight. Instead I got to keep waiting. At least I graduated to applesauce (still 2/3rds of a cup) and yogurt the next hour. Finally, at noon, the doctor (head of thoracic surgery) decided I could go home. But only because he trusted me to follow instructions.
I can't believe people would risk their health by not following instructions. I suppose since I felt well otherwise, I can see why some people would think they were fine. I knew that so many antibiotics were not given out just for giggles. If I managed to tear my esophagus, it meant a stent at best, and a cracked rib cage at worst. These were instructions I would be happy to follow.
The instructions involve eating pureed food (no lumps) every hour at the rate of 2/3rds of a cup during the day. Taking antibiotics (ground up) for five days. Following up with the doctor on Tuesday for another cat scan.
I still don't have the results of the original biopsy. However, the theory about why I had problems is that I may have Eosinophilic Esophagitis. In layperson's terms, allergies that make my throat a little more fragile than normal, so an ordinary endoscopy caused some harm. Here is a link to one site: http://www.medicinenet.com/eosinophilic_esophagitis/article.htm
Basically, an allergy to one or more foods causes some inflammation in the throat cells. It isn't necessarily visible, if my doctor had taken a biopsy of my esophagus, they could have checked then, but as it is, they can't check unless they do another endoscopy.
I definitely wanted to share this information since I know some of you have food allergies (Hi Julz) and if you need an endoscopy in the future, you need to talk to your doctor about it.
I am happy to be home and feeling well, although I can tell there is still something going on when I swallow. I also have some sort of rash, but it isn't itchy. The cats are overjoyed and spending lots of time demanding attention. I did have someone check on them, but she didn't leave out their dry food, so they were a bit hungrier than usual.
When I finally looked up the information about a damaged esophagus, the mortality rate went as high as 50% from sepsis. Bacteria in the body cavity is no joke. I'm happy I went in as soon as I did or things could have been worse. Hanging out in the hospital wasn't fun, but it was nice to know if something went wrong, there were people there to handle it.
I still don't know if I have Celiac though.