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Story ID:6082
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:OurEcho Community
Location:Gilboa N.Y. USA
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By Fred Wickert

I want to thank all of those of you who have shown your concern and really do appreciate your caring concern for me and my welfare. I do apologize for the e-mail I sent to those of you who received it, for not giving you at least a little more information. My only excuse is that at the time the e-mail was sent, I was in such severe pain that it was really an achievement to send the e-mail at all. Now, I will endeavor to explain it all from beginning to end. It is rather embarrassing, but I want you to know so that if any of you someday experience the same symptoms, perhaps you can get help sooner than I did, and avoid all the pain I experienced.

It all began about four months ago. I began having diarrhea every day, five or six times a day, of watery consistency. I tried to eat things known generally to bind one up. It didn’t work. I tried taking Immodium AD, which is in my experience, quite powerful stuff. Much to my surprise, it too, did not work. It was as if I had never taken it at all.

After three weeks of this, I finally called to make an appointment with my doctor. I knew it had gone on much too long. There were a number of blood tests, urine samples and stool samples. The results were all negative. No infection and no bacteria could be found to explain what was going on. In the meantime, my stomach was constantly very uncomfortable and twisting cramps together with a symphony of gurgling noises were always present.

My doctor began by restricting me to a diet of water, dry toast and applesauce, (unsweetened). She also wrote a prescription for some capsules that were supposed to solve the problem. Gradually, the number of episodes decreased from five or six times a day to three or four times a day. Every week I had a follow up appointment. Gradually the diet was eased to more lenient, and finally to resume normality. One by one, medications I take were stopped for three days to see if they were the cause. Nothing worked.

After weekly doctor visits and prescription renewals, for four or five weeks, the frequency had reduced to two to three times a day. Some solids had begun appearing in my stools. One more diarrhea prescription to go and an admonishment to come back if I need to and I left the doctors office. One day I actually had a normal stool. The next day it returned to the two or three times a day. I could live with it. It did seem it was getting better except that my stomach kept becoming more and more uncomfortable. More and thicker solids began showing up in my stool and I believed I was near the end but I had a couple of other problems develop and my stomach kept becoming increasingly uncomfortable and even painful. I had determined the following week I was going to call for a doctor appointment. I never had the chance.

On the weekend, I became stopped up. My bowels stopped working at all. For three days I had no bowel movement. At first I had the urge every few hours but nothing but gas was produced. Finally, not even gas. On Monday I worked outside from 3:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. As I was coming in the door, I was stricken with severe back pain. I thought it strange, but believed it should pass. It grew. It was a very uncomfortable night without sleep.

Tuesday was unbearable. I made some phone calls to make some changes in arrangements and cancel some appointments. My wife Tae was at her hair dressers. When she came home I knew I was in no condition to drive and asked her to drive me to the doctor’s office in Stamford, NY. At the doctors office the receptionist informed me it was impossible to get me in and instructed me to go to Delhi, NY to the emergency room at O’Conner hospital. We arrived there at noon.

I was examined, poked and prodded, given an anal exam, a series of blood tests, a urine test and a cat scan. I was asked a seemingly endless number of questions. I was given one Tylenol Codeine tablet for my pain, which did not seem to help at all. I was told the cat scan showed a suspicious lump inside my rectum that “they strongly suspected to be cancerous.” I was also told I had an aneurism in a small artery low down in my stomach.

I was told those at the ER believed my back pain was merely from overexertion. I was given an appointment to see a surgeon in O’Conner Hospital on Tuesday, 6/15/2010 to consult about the lump in the rectum, an appointment to see a vascular surgeon at O’Conner Hospital to consult about the aneurism, and instructed to see my own doctor next week about my stomach pain, which O’Conner Hospital Emergency Room was unable to determine the cause of. I was released at 5:00 P.M.

Neither my wife Tae, nor myself had had anything to eat all day. Tae was hungry. We stopped at a restaurant and had a small meal, taking part of it home in a box. That was the last food I was to eat for the next few days. The pain in both stomach and back continued to grow. It seemed as the pain increased in the back, the pain in the stomach was trying to catch up with it.

As many of you know, we take care of two developmentally disabled adults in our home for the state. We have been doing this now for 27 years. They were at the day treatment program when we left home. While in the emergency room, I called the Developmental Disabilities Office and made arrangements to have the bus that brings them home at 3:00 P.M. drop them off at the home of another Family Care Provider and dear friend who is like a daughter to us.

We arrived at her home from Delhi at near 7:00 P.M. to pick them up. She had fed them their supper. While they were getting in the car, I felt nausea for the first time. I walked out in the lawn and it soon passed. We went on home.

At bed time, I took some extra pain pills that I have on an as needed basis, and went to bed. The pain continued to increase. I also began having chills. Occasionally I broke into a sweat and was uncomfortably warm for a few minutes. Then the chills returned. They were almost constant. I could not sleep. At 4:00 A.M. I got up to take two more pain pills. At 4:45 A.M. they came back up.

I normally take three pain pills, one of one kind, long lasting and two of another kind that last only half as long, on a daily basis in the morning. I took those pills around 10:00 A.M. and they came back up three minutes later.

I phoned the doctors office to tell them what was going on and asked if I should take the rest of my pills, for fear they too might come back up. In a couple of minutes the doctor came on the phone, asked if I could be at her office at 3:30 P.M. I said I could. She had other patients but was going to work me in around them.

At 3:30 P.M I was at the waiting room of the doctor’s office in Stamford, NY. She accessed the records from the ER visit the day before, complete with cat scan report. She examined me and asked a few questions. She put her hands on my shoulders, looked me straight in the eye and said, “Fred, I am worried about you. I think you have an impacted bowel. I also think you cannot afford to wait until next week. You need to be in the hospital now!” She emphasized the word “now!”

I said I will go home, pack a few things and go to FOX hospital in Oneonta, NY. The doctor said, “No. I will call an ambulance to take you and your wife can bring you those other things later.” My wife Tae agreed with the doctor. The doctor called for the ambulance and prepared a copy of all the pertinent records for me to take with me for the hospital while we were waiting for the ambulance. Tae had the two developmentally disabled men with her and took them home with her. The ambulance took me to the hospital more than 30 miles away. On route the ambulance crew communicated with the hospital. They established an IV and received permission to give me a shot of morphine.

Upon arrival at the hospital, I was taken directly to a room already prepared for me. The doctor had been on the phone with them prior to my arrival. My blood pressure was running very high. The doctor at the hospital saw me shortly after I was admitted and the paper work filled out. He immediately ordered an ex ray of my stomach. After examining me and looking at all the records and looking at the ex ray, the doctor agreed with the diagnosis of my doctor. He ordered among other things, a shot of morphine every two hours as long as needed. He also ordered a colonoscopy.

On Thursday morning, the same RPA that prepared me for the colonoscopy I had in 2006 came in and examined me. During the rectal exam he commented he thought the suspicious lump found in the cat scan at the O’Conner ER that they believed to be probable cancer was no more than a dried hard lump of stool. Later, he was proven to be correct. Later in that evening I began the difficult process of getting cleaned out prior to a colonoscopy.

The process involves having to drink six ounces of a fluid called Golytely every ten minutes until it is gone. After three hours, just knowing I could not hold another ounce, I vomited up the next two cups. The nurse stopped the process. It wouldn’t stay down. My blood pressure remained high, at one point reaching 265/119. That frightened me, but not the hospital staff. Though I was not able to complete all of the gallon of Golytely, with about a pint and a half remaining, the emptying process began. For the next hour and a half I sat upon the commode provided, with a steady stream running out of me. At the end, it was still not clear. Therefore, more cleaning was to be required.

Later, a nurse came in with two pills to take. The doctor had ordered them to be given to complete the cleaning out process. They did not do any good. The following morning, the doctor who had done my carotid artery surgery came in to see me. He was going to be doing the colonoscopy himself later that day. He said it had to come out clear and ordered the nurses to give me enemas until it did. The enemas commenced. Progress was being made.

Friday afternoon, a nurse came for me with a wheel chair. I was the last on a long list of colonoscopies that day. I told her it was still not coming out clear. She informed me it didn’t matter. The instrument used had a whirling, high pressure device that sprayed water under pressure and cleaned any surface not yet clean in the colon. They could still see whatever there was to see.

When the procedure concluded, I was told there was still a lot of impacted stool in the bowel. Some of it had been there for a long time. The cause of all the diarrhea I had had was because the bowel was so plugged, nothing but liquid was small enough to get through. When all the pain started, it was because the bowel was not allowing even liquid to get through and was completely shut off and was backing up. My colon was given a clean bill of health. There were no polyps or other abnormalities. The only thing they found in there was hardened, stuck fast stool or In other words, good old fashioned poop. No cancerous lumps either.

That night, I spent a much more comfortable night and for the first time in days, slept. For the most part my pain was gone. There was and still is some residual tenderness but the severe intolerable pain was gone at last.

The next 24 hours I kept having frequent trips to the bathroom and evacuating clear water. I asked the doctor why that was and he told me it was from all the water and air that had been pumped into me during the colonoscopy process. Now it had to work its way out.

Saturday afternoon and evening I was able to watch television. I had the first full night of comfortable sleep in a week. I had slept on and off between visits to the commode on Friday night and Saturday morning, but Saturday night I slept all night.

On Sunday morning, I ate a full breakfast and soon after, my Chinese daughter Linda arrived to take me home. It was a pleasant and painless trip home, and after exchanging pleasantries with my wife Tae and leaving us with a gift of fruit, she left to go to work. I sat in the recliner for a while and enjoyed a home cooked meal. Then my sister and brother in law arrived for a visit. Later I received a phone call from Michael Smith. He told me several of the members of Ourecho had e-mailed or called him, greatly concerned about me and wondering if he had any information. That is why I am posting this piece on Ourecho with such a detailed explanation.

I want all to know how deeply grateful I am that you have expressed so much concern. It is indeed a wonderful and humbling feeling to know so many care about me and have so much concern about my welfare. To those who received my e-mail, I apologize for the brevity and lack of information, but I am sure you now understand why it was so.

I thank you all who cared from the bottom of my heart.

With love to you all,

Fred Wickert

Randy, this don’t need to go on my website. Kathy, sorry about the wordiness. Barbara, sorry it is so long. To all, please visit www.fredsstoryroom.com. Lastly, to Dr YVONNE SUE NELSON, MD, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You were right. I can only imagine what hell you saved me from. I will always be in your debt. No wonder you are always booked full.