When Ben was released from Florida Hospital on Thursday morning, we had a very low degree of confidence that he was actually better. We mostly accepted the hospital discharge so that we could get the heck out of Florida Hospital, and bring him back to Arnold Palmer if necessary. Before we even left the hospital I had already made an appointment for Ben to see the Nurse Practitioner at his regular GI doc's office the next day. I really hoped that we were just tired and pessimistic, and that by Friday Ben would be feeling awesome after a good night's sleep in his own bed.
Obviously, I was not being pessimistic.
Ben had slept pretty much all day Wednesday and then eaten a tiny bit that evening. He didn't ask for food at all on Thursday, although he did drink a fair amount of juice. By the time we arrived at the GI appointment on Friday Ben still had not eaten anything, and his belly was visibly bloated. His lips were cracked from dehydration, and he was folding over in pain. It did not take long at all for the doctor to send us back over to Arnold Palmer to be directly admitted back into the hospital.
Comically, when we arrived at our room it turned out to be one designed to hold a crib instead of a full-sized bed. With the hospital bed crammed in there, and a roll-away bed opened up for Ben's mom to sleep on, there would literally be no open floor space left in the room. It was such a tiny room that when the doctors walked in the first thing they said was, "We've got to get you into a different room..." On top of that, when I went to put in a video tape for Ben to watch, the TV and VCR mounted to the wall began to wobble precariously in my hands. I looked behind it, and the mounting plate going to the back of the TV consisted only of two bolts - one of which was completely missing and the other was half off its thread. I am not exaggerating when I say that television had a very high likelihood of just falling off the wall and landing on Ben's mom's head during the night. I notified the nurses, who first sent a medical engineer who walked into the room, glanced at the TV, and then shrugged and said, "I only fix medical equipment" before walking away. Eventually a building engineer arrived, and at first he insisted that there was nothing wrong with the mount (he was looking at the bolts going into the wall, not the ones going to the TV). When I took his hand and placed it on the missing bolt, and then on the sole remaining loos bolt, he suddenly realized just how perilous it was. But it still took him two more trips to get it fixed.
On a more useful note, both of Ben's doctors came in early on and examined him, and again agreed that something was still not right. They had already consulted with the surgeon who performed the ERCP, and basically what they said was that nine times out of ten the patient is feeling completely better by this point, but that Ben was clearly the one-in-ten outlier. They ordered an abdominal x-ray to check and see if the stent was still properly in place, plus some other blood work, and said that the basic plan was to get Ben hydrated, give him some pain relief, and to observe him closely over the next few days.
By the time we went down for the x-ray and then got back up to the floor, they had found a larger room to move us to. Ben's mom had gone downstairs to have a quick dinner with her mother, and I got Ben moved to the new room with the help of one of the nurses on the floor. Amazingly, by that point Ben was really perking up. He was smiling and happy, full of energy, and looked just like his normal self. For all the world he looked like someone who had no business being in a hospital.
In fact, when he saw me putting away a box of cereal bars into the cabinet in his new room, he suddenly asked for one. It was the first time he had asked for solid food in two days. He wolfed down the first one, and then a second, and even asked for a third. By the time he was finishing that one he was finally slowing down. Then all of a sudden he leaped out of bed with an exclamation of "Bathroom!" I'll spare the scatological details, and simply say that it was a very productive trip, and the first such all day.
Not long after that he started to settle into his bed, and an hour later he was extremely patient as the nurse put in his IV and started the fluids to re-hydrate him. Unfortunately by then he was already starting to crash again. Eating the food seemed to just completely knock the wind out of his sails. He wasn't nauseous, but he became lethargic and was obviously in pain again. He got some pain meds along with his normal nighttime meds, and was fading quickly. It was after 10pm at that point, and so I left Ben and his mom to hopefully get some rest overnight.
I have no idea what today will bring, I just hope it's some relief for Ben.