Wednesday, 9 January 2013

This Whole "Getting Old Thing" gets Pretty Old Pretty Fast

This is Necessary Background Information which can also be found in the TNCNNA Random Story "Pun Intended"

About 10 years ago Fred hurt his back picking up a box of copy paper at work.  He was off work for 6 weeks and ended up being on a medication for about 3 years to keep the swelling down on the herniated disc he'd managed to conjure up.  When Fred & Sigred moved to Ecuador, and particularly Cuenca, his leg ceased to hurt.  You see his back didn't hurt, but the swelling in the herniated disc caused pressure on the sciatic nerve which in turn caused considerable pain in his leg.   Fred thinks it had something to do with the altitude in Cuenca; less pressure, more exercise... something.  In any case, Fred did not have to take any more medication from the time they arrived in Ecuador until 3-1/2 years later.

At that time, Sigred decided it was time to get their rugs cleaned.  She'd tried to clean them herself but it was not satisfactory.  Thus, she looked around and found a lovely place that would take their rugs away, clean them and bring them back 8 days later, smelling sweet & fresh and looking great.  The added extra bonus was that for 1 large rug, 1 medium rug, and 2 small rugs, the total cost was $30.  Can't beat that!  Preparatory to the rugs being picked up, Fred & Sigred pushed the couches & chairs off of them and rolled them (the rugs) into tubes.   Two days later Fred started complaining about pain in his leg.

Several days (weeks?) later, Sigred convinced him to go to the Doctor and Fred came home with a bottle of pills, the prescription to go to Banos (the local hot springs) at least once a week and the mandate to lose 30 pounds.

Again, several days (weeks) go by; the pain in Fred's leg is much diminished; Fred & Sigred had started to look forward to their trips to Banos and all seemed good and well.

Here's where Fred's Latest Saga Begins

On Thursday Fred & Sigred went out to dinner with a friend of theirs to a new Fondu place that had opened in Cuenca.  None of them had had fondu for several years (decades) and it was fun to skewer vegetables & meat & breads and cook them in the hot oil or dip them in the wonderful melted cheese sauce and it was heaven to dip fresh fruit into the hot Ecuadorian chocolate sauce provided for dessert.

It was a nice evening and several bottles of wine were thoroughly polished off.

That night, Fred was up several times with a terrible stomach ache.  He at one point even threw up.  Fred & Sigred both felt it was an overreaction to their evening and basically laughed it off.  The next day Fred continued to complain about stomach pains, threw up several more times, and was unable to eat anything except a vanilla milkshake that Sigred had pleaded with him to drink.

Friday night, Fred slept very little, his stomach hurting almost continuously and again he threw up several times during the night.

Saturday morning, Sigred had Fred phone their family Doctor.  When 3 hours went by and no phone call was returned (Note:  It was a religious long weekend in a Catholic country) Sigred packed Fred up and they went to Emergency.  At Emergency Fred told them his problem in stumbling Spanish and the nurses at the desk somehow contacted his Doctor.  Forty-five minutes later the Doctor, in jogging clothes, examined Fred, gave him a shot in the butt for the pain, told him to eat nothing but liquids and sent him home.

The Doctor phoned Sunday and was advised the pain was still there although the vomiting seemed to have diminished.  They made arrangements for Fred to come in first thing Monday morning for blood tests and a ultra sound scan.  That day Fred had 2 small cups of soup and 2 small glasses of milk.

Monday morning, Fred headed for the clinic.  While the results of the blood tests wouldn't be available until late that afternoon, the ultra sound showed a lesion at the beginning of Fred's intestines.  Fred came home, fell into bed, had a 3 hour nap, and then headed back to the clinic.  The blood tests all looked pretty good so the Doctor arranged for an endoscopic procedure the next morning.  The Doctor also gave Fred a super ant-acid and a sleeping pill.  Fred at that point, having not had a decent nights sleep for 4 days was getting somewhat frantic.  He had sips from a tall glass of apple juice that day and half a glass of milk.   (Note Again:  Fred at this point had lost 10 of the 30 pounds dictated previously.)

Tuesday morning, Fred woke up chipper & chatty & bright & relieved to be out of pain with 9 hours sleep under his belt with only one brief break in the middle of the night.  That day he had the endoscopic procedure.  Fred & Sigred arrived at the hospital and met the specialist and his nurse.  They sat in a very nicely appointed office for 5 minutes while the Doctor keyed in Fred's statistics to a "fanshy" computer program.  Then the Doctor & Nurse took Fred to another room while Sigred stayed in the office (right next door) and watched the entire procedure on a video camera.

Fred was given a spray to "freeze" his throat and an IV with a sedative designed, not to put him asleep, but to make him "very" relaxed".  Then a tube with a small camera and a snipper was shoved down his throat to the base of his stomach and a bit beyond and then brought all the way up again.

The procedure took about 15 minutes; Fred rested for about 5 minutes and then came out to the office while the Doctor filled in the computer form, complete with pictures, diagnosis and a DVD video of the whole  procedure.  The entire package was presented to Fred & Sigred in a very nice folder.  (Note:  In North America the Doctor's keep your records.  In Ecuador [at least] the Doctor presents you with the details of your procedures, x-rays, blood tests, etc. for you to keep or trash as you wish.)  The Doctor then advised Fred that an old (medication caused) ulcer was back, probably again caused by the medication for his sciatica, and in addition he had a small hernia caused by the whole irritation thing happening in his guts.  (All in Spanish.)  The Doctor described the ulcer as "gigante".  Snips had been taken during the procedure and would go for biopsy but both the endoscopic Doctor and their own Doctor felt everything would be OK once Fred was on medication for 1 to 3 months.  (Cancer was discussed and [as Doctor's will] poo pooed [with some careful and barely noticeable loopholes.])

Fred was given instructions that he could eat pretty much what he wanted, except nothing spicy and no alcohol.

Upon arriving home, Fred ate a pretty large bowl of home made cream-of-tomato-soup and went down for a dreamless, painless nap.

End of this Saga

But what are they going to do about Fred's sciatica Sigred wondered (?) and then shook off the thought for yet another day.

PS:   Because Fred lost over 25 pounds during the few days he was unable to eat because of the pain from the ulcer, his sciatica disappeared once again.  These days Fred & Sigred are careful not to let Fred push, pull or carry anything heavy and he's been 9 months ulcer & sciatica free.