I had a duodenal ulcer and didn't know it...not until it ruptured and I experienced the worst pain of my life. And I've had several surgeries and given birth! I had been seeing a doctor for stomach pain who diagnosed acid reflux without doing any tests. I also suffer from terrible headaches and, with my doctor’s knowledge; I was eating Excedrin like crazy. I was in the process of finding another doctor for a second opinion when the ulcer decided to make itself really known. While at work I started having severe pains in my left side that radiated to my back. I was dumb enough to think that if I just went home to lie down I would be fine...and drove myself home with this mind numbing pain. I got home, changed into comfy clothes and lay down. Before I knew what hit me I was drenched in sweat, freezing (it was 112 outside that day) and convulsing so bad I couldn't even dial 911. My daughter came home and found me, she called the ambulance.
I coded in the ambulance. Once I got to the hospital I had to wait for awhile and coded again. I was finally taken for an ultrasound and then a CT scan. The CT scan showed the perforation and I was operated on immediately. I remember very little about the experience before the surgery, my family has filled in some of the blanks. Including the fact that my surgeon thought it would be a good idea to yell at me about taking Excedrin when I had an ulcer, even though I was seeing a doctor and didn't know I had the ulcer. He was none too happy with me when I responded by saying \"Could you save the lecture until after you fix the pain\".
Recovery was brutal. Tube in my nose, catheter somewhere else...and the surgery pain was unbelievable. I was in the hospital for 5 days on a clear liquid diet, and then my idiot surgeon decided I could go home (against the advice of the admitting doctor). I was barely moving around on day five. The hospital wouldn't release me until I'd had solid food...the solid food lunch for that day? Steak and potatoes, I kid you not. I refused to eat the steak, ate a bit of the potato and some jello and was on my merry way home with prescriptions for pain meds and Protonix. My family took me home, stopping at the pharmacy on the way to get the meds. My idiot surgeon had forgotten to write the dosage for the pain medication and was unreachable...until the NEXT MORNING at 11 a.m. Needless to say my first night home was horrendous. I almost went back to the hospital about three times. The pharmacy was wonderful, calling the surgeon every hour until they finally reached him, then calling to let me know the medicine was ready.
My surgeon said I could go back to work in a week...the admitting doctor (who wanted me in the hospital for at least three more days) said two. When I went to get my staples out (nine) 5 days after getting out of the hospital I told the surgeon I had no idea how I was going to go back to work the following Monday. I am an Administrative Assistant at a huge law firm. He had the impression that I just sat at a computer all day (which really didn't matter, because of the location of the incision sitting for any length of time was impossible). I had to explain in detail that I was extremely active at work and that my job was a very demanding one. If the attorneys and staff saw me at work they would think I was 100 percent and expect me to do all that I had before and I was just not ready. He finally agreed to let me off for another week.
At the next check up, the Friday before the Monday that I was again to return to work, I was in unbelievable pain. I had an extreme burning sensation in my abdomen. I explained this to the surgeon, who said it just takes time to heal and let me off work for another week.
The next visit, again the Friday before I the Monday I was to return to work, same thing. I was in such unbelievable pain, the burning was so intense. After basically breaking down in the office, telling the doctor that I just thought something was really wrong, I'd had surgeries before and had never experienced this type of pain. Plus I was SO weak and tired. He finally said \"well I guess it's possible that you have a yeast infection. I can give you some antibiotics and see if that helps\". Three days after beginning the antibiotics I was 75% better. The burning was nothing compared to what it had been and I was finally starting to sleep through the night.
I haven't been back to the surgeon since. I am still having issues with diet...what I can eat, what I can't. I lost 27 pounds (and I was pretty thin to start). I can no longer eat tomato based products, anything rich or too sweet, anything that is too spicy (Mexican is my favorite food - no more of that), etc. Red meat is not my friend; it causes stomach pain, as does the tomato based foods like spaghetti or pizza (my favorite food prior to surgery) or rich foods such as fettuccine alfredo. I was also a chocoholic before the surgery - now it makes me sick.
Of course there is no sympathy from my overweight boss who said things like \"it must be nice\" when she saw how much weight I had lost. (Of course she also said \"it must be nice\" when I was lying in the hospital bitching because I couldn't DO anything). She is constantly trying to get me to eat the cake, cookies and other sweets she is so fond of (and that I loved before the surgery), or the rich lunches she enjoys, and gets upset when I tell her I can't eat them because they make me sick. She then goes to my friends at work and tells them how worried she is about me because I don't eat. I DO eat; I just eat healthier than I ever have. I just eat plain, boring foods. Chicken or fish that is not seasoned too much, yogurt, cottage cheese, baked potatoes, etc. I also drink SlimFast with my meals; it tastes better than Ensure, has 250 calories, and has vitamins & minerals it in.
My advice to anyone who is experiencing stomach pain? Keep hounding your doctor. Find a new doctor if yours won't listen to you, and do it quickly. And the best advice I can give you - avoid NSAID's. Excedrin, Motrin, Aleve, they're all really hard on your stomach. The only thing that is \"safe\" is Tylenol. It may not work as well as the others, but taking it in place of NSAID's might save your life.
I am really hoping to find more appetizing things to eat and any suggestions would be appreciated.