Sunday, January 18, 2009

Much Ado About No Pooping

Recently I got assigned to a patient with a fairly extensive bowel history who hadn't had a bowel movement in a week along with nausea and vomiting. Long blog post short, he eventually had a NG tube put in and was referred to surgery for a possible obstruction. Somewhere at around 0630 (while the results of his CT and X-ray were being processed) he rang the call bell and asked me if I could temporarily unhook from suction so he could go to the bathroom. I proceeded to do just that while his wife walked him to the bathroom and I went back to my station trying not to weep with exhaustion. Just as I was getting everything cleaned up for the oncoming shift, his call bell rings again and he tells me that he had a massive BM! He even had the courtesy to take several pictures (all from different angles showing varying levels of detail) all for my viewing pleasure. Lovely. So after spending the entire night taking care of his NG tube, listening to his belly, fiddling with his IVs and getting him prepped for a possible surgery, I felt pretty shady calling surgery to tell them of my patient's anal expulsions. Needless to say, surgery wasn't impressed but then my shift was almost over so I really didn't care any longer. The only thing I'm wondering about now is whether or not he could have another problem that needed surgical intervention but since I didn't work for several days after that shift, I won't be finding that out anytime soon. Time to consult my pathophysiology book – if I can overcome the terrible inertia of my laziness and head down to the basement. Maybe later.

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