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Thursday, January 19, 2012

[drm] jeep riders' disease

En route to Hobby Lobby one night during the week before Christmas Andrew asked Emily & I if our tail bones ever bothered us.  Now there are several things out of the ordinary in that sentence: 1) Andrew-who had asked to join us BTW-was willfully going shopping with us, let alone Hobby Lobby!  2) Our younger, seemingly spry brother was describing & complaining about a pain that I nor Emily had ever experienced.  I forgot he had even asked the question once we pulled into the parking lot; we all had short yet highly diverse items on our lists.  I was there to get photo storage boxes & modge podge, Emily for ornaments, and Andrew for fabric & foam pads for the ottoman he was planning on building over the Christmas break.

**a little bit o'ellen history**  Since birth I have been sick over at least 2 major holidays per year; starting with my First Christmas when I had a stomach bug.  It's a wonder my mom kept me around after that.  I've been reminded [on numerous occasions] of that first Christmas: 'You were 11 months old and couldn't tell me you didn't feel good.  But you knew something was wrong--you would toddle all around the house until you felt sick, come and find me, & throw up on my feet!'  Lovely.  I'm amazed that I got any brothers & sisters.  Little did we know that would foreshadow the rest of my life!

This year, however, I dodged the bullet.  Or so I thought--I woke up with a full fledged cold on Tuesday morning after Christmas and proceeded to blow through-literally-one full box of Kleenex, two bottles of Day/NyQuil, & BreatheRights over the course of the next 4 days.  But nonetheless, on Christmas Day, I was fine and dandy.  As I sat by the tree and boasted about how I wasn't sick Andrew and his tailbone proceeded to get worse...and worse...and worse.  Worse to the point he could barely walk; he barely even made it out to open presents! :(

On Monday [the day after Christmas] they were able to get an appointment at Andrew's doctor.  By this point Andrew was barely walking, showering was impossible [ick!], & he had eaten nothing for 2+ days.  Any movement or physical activity-like rolling from one side to the other-was only accomplished with the aid of Mr. Big Strong Man [Dad].

As I was not at the doctor's appointment I cannot tell you exactly what was said or discussed; apparently they were given some wrong facts anyways [about procedures, recovery, & post-procedure procedures] but I can tell you what all happened as well as the diagnosis.

Bottom line, Andrew had fallen victim to Pilonidal Disease or Cyst; something that began to form before he was even born.  This is a problem that apparently occurs in 1 of 8 people and is more common in guys than girls.  It usually will rupture or become inflamed sometime between the ages of 15 & 24.  That fits Andrew like a glove :(

Having determined the problem they began to discuss treatment: it had to come out.  Being that it was the day after Christmas, surgeons were very had to contact so poor Andrew had to sit like a ticking time bomb waiting for a surgeon with an opening.  That opening came on Wednesday, praise the Lord!  I believe it was about a 45 minute procedure where they went in to drain & clean out the cyst.  His doctor said that it was one of the largest ones he'd ever seen!  They also left a tube in the incision that would continue to pump junk out for the next week.

He could do very little for the next 6 days; essentially he was on bed rest.  I always dream of the day that I can just lay in bed and do nothing but watch TV, nap, & be served all my meals in bed.  Andrew does not dream this anymore.  After sleeping, watching TV, internet surfing, & having pills shoved down his throat every 2.5-3 hours for 2 weeks he knows that bed rest is no fun!

The poor guy was on 9 medications!!!  I wish I had a copy of the spreadsheet that Dad the Engineer created to keep track of them all.  It was nuts: data & circles [where the pills were to be placed] started to look Arabic to me.  But they were able to keep it all straight and I was only on pill duty for one, 12:30 am popping.

On Day 6, the pump stopped working and an alarm started to go off every 5 minutes.  Of course it stopped after normal doctor's hours and of course the instruction manual had zero information on what to do if this happened.  [Dad the Engineer read through all 72 pages in 3 languages to make sure.]  When they finally got hold of the doctor Dad was able to go through what needed to be done to turn the thing off.  Andrew heard Dad ask, 'You mean I just need to pull it out?' and turned two shades paler than a ghost.  [Dad's instructions were to pull the tube out of the machine that Andrew had to carry around like a purse anytime he left the bed.  Ha!]

The tube was taken out the following day.  I understand this was an extremely painful process, one that he would have taken Vicodin for had he been informed as they were supposed to.  Now he will have to go to a dressing/wound doctor 3 days a week for the next 2 months to have it properly packed & re-packed.  This will not be easy as school started back this past Tuesday.  I don't know what he will do so far as sitting in classes as it is still hard for him to sit.  Perhaps he will take & use the foam pads [that he bought at Hobby Lobby] for the ottoman [that didn't get built].

One interesting thing about this disease is in it's original name: 'Jeep Riders' Disease'.

The condition was widespread in the United States Army during World War II. More than eighty thousand soldiers having the condition required hospitalization  It was termed "jeep seat or "Jeep Riders' Disease", because a large portion of people who were being hospitalized for it rode in jeeps, and prolonged rides in the bumpy vehicles were believed to have caused the condition due to irritation and pressure on the coccyx.  [Taken from Wikipedia.]
 Andrew drives a Jeep.

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