7 hours in ER waiting room. 11 hours total at ER...severe abdominal pain!!!

on 4/5/11 11:41 pm - saint peters, MO
What a nightmare I've had!! Pain started Monday morning at 8:am. Upper abdomen between lower part of rib cage. It got steadily worse so at 11:30 I was at the ER of the hospital where my surgeon is.
Didn't have to wait *too* long to see triage nurse. She took vitals and sent me back into waiting room.
The they did blood tests and EKG.
Then the real waiting began.. and waiting. I breathed through the pain for a few hours until i was sobbing from the agony. The triage nurse took me to give me morphine, It did absolutely nothing for my pain.
We had been there for hours. They said. Sorry the hospital is full. Mondays are always bad . What???!! They waited hours to tell me that??!!!! I could have gone to my local one if they had warned me the wait would be that bad.
I kept saying I was worried about a blockage and kept reminding them I had a gastric bypass in 09.
Finally they took me back into the ER room at 6:30 and proceeded to do nothing for another couple of hours. I was stil sobbing and pleading with them. They sent me for a cat scan. Came back normal. I began to vomit.
I honesly thought I was going to die. We complained to the right people. Finally after who knows how many doses aof pain relief (all ineffective), they got me on a ward. Pains stopped!!! UGH!! My surgeon finally came to speak with me the next morning.
Said he thought it was an internal hernia and if it happens again to come in and he will go in and fix it!!! I was so exhausted that I didn't ask him or tell him much of anything. I am going to make an appointment to see him at his office and discuss it. The whole reason I went to his ER was so I could see him and by the time I got back to the ER he had left for the day. I had even called the office prior to me going in to give them the heads up i would be there.
I just am terrified it will come back again and that I might have the same nightmare-ish experience. I have had 3 babies and this was way worse!!
Should I just go to my local ER if it happens again???
Any thoughts appreciated. Sorry it is so long and rambling. I am so upset that I was treated that way. :(

Jo from UK living in MO!         
SW 232/ GW 140/ CW 140! 
Angie B.
on 4/6/11 1:10 am - Seaside, OR
Did you call his office again while you were waiting? I would have let them know that you were not being seen and how much pain you were in. I bet your Dr. could have expedited things by making them aware of how dangerous abdominal pain can be in an RNY patient. I'm so sorry it was so awful. I can't imagine. Hope they get it taken care of and don't wait to see if it happens again.
on 4/6/11 2:17 am - saint peters, MO
I didn't call the office while I was waiting. I was in so much pain I wasn't thinking straight. Stupid I know. :(
Jo from UK living in MO!         
SW 232/ GW 140/ CW 140! 
on 4/6/11 1:19 am
I would not go to an ER that does not belong to a Bariatric Center Of Excellence. Imagine waiting all that time and at the end being told they can't help you, you are imagining it, or that you need to drive over to your nearest bariatric center of excellence... It sounds like you were not taken great care of, but I still think the best chance of you getting taken care of well is going to be at a COE!!

 HW 316/ SW 264/ CW 187/ GW 158  
on 4/6/11 2:21 am - saint peters, MO
Good point. I just wish the hospital ER was better. I will be more proactive before it happens again!
Jo from UK living in MO!         
SW 232/ GW 140/ CW 140! 
on 4/6/11 1:51 am - CA
Ok.  Your experience mirrors mine (only I was 7.5 year post rny).  yes the pain was worse than my breach delivery without anesthesia.   After 2 hellish ER visits, cat scans  (and  the internal hernias do not ususally show on the cat scans ..I had 4 in 4 mos) the MRI or them multiple xrays.  Kept beng told to wait and see if it happens again..and several other possibilities such as cancer, intassusception etc).  I was sent for psychological counseling because I was overly dramatic and upset.   I carried my prior medical records with me at all times (even in the ambulence to my second bowel obstruction ER visit)

I finally insisted on exploratory surgery by a bariatric surgeon...and low and behold the "largest internal hernia" the surgeon had ever seen...my intestines were literally tied in knots.  I am 2 mos post op and feel so much healthier  it is a joke.  I believe is better to have the exploratory surgery when you are healthy and the right surgical team can handle the problem than by any ER surgeon while you are in a medical crisis.

Virtually all ERs are not trained to recognize this problem . I watched a friend literally die in the ER at a Center of Excellence because they failed to connect her problem with her lap rny 5 years earlier.  I told them she was a gastric bypass patient but they kept trying to figure out her chest pain why her heart kept stopping (autopsy showed the hernia as bowel obstruction as the cause of death).  Since that experience I believe  they have had some training in recognizing the problem.

Please be proactive and assertive.  Hugs and prayers for your  recovery.

on 4/6/11 2:19 am - saint peters, MO
I am so sorry you watched a friend die from this. That was my fear (my dh's too). I am going to phone them today to see if I can get this sorted while I am relativelty well. Although my tummy is starting to hurt again and I am not sure if it is my imagination or not!!
Jo from UK living in MO!         
SW 232/ GW 140/ CW 140! 
on 4/6/11 2:01 pm - Tama, IA
on 4/6/11 2:03 pm - Tama, IA
Can you explain some symptoms that you had. Did the pain come and go? I've been having some bad pain of and on since January(I was even in the hospital two days for it at one time). I have had lots of test and even two cat scans but nothing shows up. My surgeon doesn't know what it can be and now thinks it is just gas. I don't think so. He also insists that a internal hernia will show up on the cat scan with contrast. I have bad pain on the upper , middle of my abdomen area mainly on my left side middle. The pain makes me double over and is bad for 6-8 hours then the next couple days I'm really sore. Feels like I had done about 1000 sit ups. Then I'm OK for awhile then it happens again. Is this close to what you had? Thanks Julie   

  HW 304, SW 291, GW 160, CW 140 H-5'9.5"            


on 4/6/11 3:42 pm - CA
OK I will try to give you a history of my pain.  I am almost 8 years post lap rny.

I had horrible "dumping" at random eating times for many years, so bad I would double over with awful pain and sometimes need to lie down on the floor in restaurant restrooms...unable to move.  It would pass (not sure this was not the hernia because while I still dump...I now feel sick, dizzy etc but not horrible pain).  Lots of gas and discomfort (but I still have lots of gas)

The two ER visits were horrible pain .Sudden and sharp abdomen above the belly button...although mild usual dsicomfort for several days in retrospect. ..I am not a wimp..similar in intensity to giving birth without anesthesia.  I also had terrible foaming from my mouth (a sign of bowel obstruction I have since learned). the second time was so bad I had to go by ambulance and was too doubled over to dress...went in my nightie and a blanket.

The Gastro docs in the ER ran several cat scans (4 seperate cat scans with contrast in 4 mos and an MRI and multple xrays).  They saw something they diagnosed as an intasusception.  Wrong.
I had a friend die from an internal hernia  a few years ago and I became a bit pushy about the diagnosis...did not feel right. The new bariatric surgeon at Kaiser did exploratory surgery (lap) and saved my life.  He said the hernia was huge (biggest he had ever seen) and often when they are that big they are not visible on a cat scan. There was no indiction of an intasusception. (I have the surgery notes) I had been suffering with this thing for a long time.  I am learning not to be so stoic.

I feel so much better all the time now (just 2 mos post op)  I am learning that as nice as a medical professionals  may be in the end we are responsible for our bodies. It is still the "practice" of medicine. (On that note I am having lithotripsy on a large 7mm kidney stone..also a complication of wls and is way to big to ever pass....I am not waiting for more emergency room visits if I can help it). 

Good luck and hoping that everything is resolved and you are pain free.