Wednesday, March 31, 2010

After effects of the stomach flu

I am 12 days post stomach-flu, but my stomach is just not kicking back into my normal emptying mode. I have put myself back on domperidone, but things are not going so well. Lots of nausea and no appetite.
My dietician explained to me that a prolonged recovery period from intestinal flus is normal for people with delayed gastric emptying due to the increased inflammation. I just don't know how long it will take :-(. I am having a hard time taking in enough calories right now. Especially as my dietician has recently switched me over to a normocaloric tube feeding formula. I am doing well with my nightly tube feedings, but I am having a really hard time getting enough food into me orally during the day. I am always hungry for breakfast and breakfast usually works well, but that's about it.
I know what amounts I was able to eat before my stomach flu and I am trying to push myself to get there again. I am feeling the lack of energy and hope it will get better soon. Otherwise I will have to add day-time tubefeeds again, and I am really trying to avoid that!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mandatory catholic marriage class - done!

One more step done in preparation for our wedding in August. Manu and I attended the mandatory catholic marriage class on Saturday. For me as a psychologist some of the couple exercises we did were more than questionable, as they were not very well prepared. There was one exercise were both partners had to indicate the level of certain influences (i.e. family, friends, job...) on our future marriage. Afterwards the rating of both partners were compared. M's and my ratings were almost identical, the comment of our catholic marriage counsellor was that these identical ratings were very common for couples that have not yet been together very long. Well, I said, I have been with my boyfriend for 7.5 years now!!! I wouldn't exactly call that a "young" relationship. :-)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stoma care - making your own dressing

I have been meaning to post about this for a very long time.
Some tube-feeders are able to not use dressings on their stoma, but I have noticed for myself that I need to keep my stoma as dry as possible in order to keep my stoma happy. I tried myself through all available dressings, but couldn't find a single one to really suit my needs. I really like those dressings that have a hole in the middle instead of a y-slit, because this hole fits very well around the button. But the only "hole-dressing" available in Austria gave me very bad contact allergies.

I also don't like the fact that most dressings only come in large sizes, when really, all I need is a tiny bit around my tube to soak up excess moisture.

Early January I visited an enterostomy care nurse and when I told her about my dressing troubles she showed me how I could make my own dressing using a simple 2x2 dressing. I personally don't like gauze dressings at all, as they tend to fray, I therefore recommend using non-woven dressings made from viscose and polyester.

This is what you do (click on the pics for a larger view):
Take a 2x2 dressing...

 Fold this dressing in half two times!

Then take the folded up dressing and cut off a small corner from the "closed" edge. This will make the hole to fit around your tube.
You might want to start with a very small corner, unfold the dressing to check the size of the hole, fold it back up and cut off more.

Then unfold the dressing and cut a slit towards the hole.

 And this is your finished dressing. Obviously you can cut it down to make it even smaller, if you like to.

What do you do next?
Take the dressing with the slit facing upwards, and slide it around your tube/button.
Then use a tiny piece of tape to tape the slit closed. This way the dressing will not slide off you with movement, but you will also have no tape directly on your skin - very good for sensitive skin!

 The blue arrow shows where I put the piece of tape.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Keeping myself out of hospital

After finishing my thesis on Tuesday I had actually intended to use that same driven energy that got me to complete my thesis on so little time to work on the paper my prof wants me to write as well. I did take one day off on Wednesday to visit my godchild and relax, but on Thursday I was back to researching and writing.

And then it happened. Some nasty little virus decided to use my intestines as its new host and by Thursday night I was so sick. I kept my g-tube to drainage all Thursday night, but the nausea was relentless. I also had really horrible colic-like back and belly pain. By 1.30 AM I was screaming in pain. The bad thing was that M had taken benzodeziapine as a muscle relaxant for his shoulder pain, and he was trying to help me while he was feeling quite sedated. We ended up calling the emergency doctor service and they came out and gave me pain and antinausea meds intramuscular. And of course I had to explain why I had a g-tube :-)...

By Friday morning I had severe diarrhea and with my g-tube still to drainage I knew I had to do something to keep myself from getting dehydrated and out of hospital. With more antinausea and pain meds on board I was able to remove my g-tube from drainage and hook up rehydration fluids. I talked to my family physician who told me that in order to get rehydrated I had to put in as much fluids as on a usual day and that's close to 3 liters for me. M hooked me up to a continuous slow drip of 2 liters of rehydration solution and I managed to have the remaining liter orally. But it worked! I am still at home and doing better! Still a bit of nausea and no appetite whatsoever and very fatigued, but at least I am feeling better.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wedding news

I bought my dress last week! I had my Mum with me and with the first dress I tried on she already had tears in her eyes, but with THE dress she had goosebumps as well, I think that definitely is a good sign!

I am not going to go into any details, but I know I will be one beautiful bride.
Wedding dress shopping itself it quite the experience. I actually had to make an appointment at the shop. I then had a large dressing room and a salesgirl just to myself. I looked through the dresses, made my choice, she got me the right sizes and then walked into the dressing room with me and helped me into the dresses. I first was a bit self-conscious about my feeding tube and told her right away about it. But then the salesgirl got really insecure because she was so afraid of hurting me when helping me into my dress. But I just laughed her, clapped with my hand against my button in order to reassure her that she can't hurt me.

Prizewise the dress is a bit over my budget, but as soon as I saw it I knew it was the right dress...

In other wedding news M. and I registered for our civil service at the city hall today. Another step closer!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thesis - finished!!!

I am doing a big happy dance over here in Austria! After working nonstop for the past week I finished my thesis this Tuesday and have already given it to my prof. Now I just have to write the paper he so desperately wants to have. If this means, he will let me graduate by June then this is what I will do.

Going into my thesis conclave I had 32 pages, six days later I had 100! My prof. told me to come see him with my paper on a regular basis, to not just simply write it all it once, but after being such a hardcore writer with my thesis I will probably be able to give him a first draft of the finished paper by next week.

Now I need everyone sending positive thoughts into the universum for my prof to revise my thesis is fast as possible because I am working against quite a few deadlines for my June graduation and there is no way that I want to study for my diploma exam during the summer that I am getting married in!
So pray!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tube Girl in conclave

I finished my internship last Friday and I have now set myself the goal to complete my thesis within the next seven days.

To accomplish this I have decided to go into hiding from the outside and internet world.

I have to finish my thesis as quickly as possible in order to meet all the deadlines for my June graduation.
This is something I tell myself over and over again: "I can do it"!