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Showing posts with label Bowel Obstructions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bowel Obstructions. Show all posts


SPDF Day 52-14: Thu 050715 Medical update. Surgery?

My awe only increases by the hour with the competence kindness and compassion of this extraordinary hospital.

The surgical team concurs that this is my 7th episode.

I emphasized with them this morning two factors that I was not sure I had clearly enough registered before: 1. The first blockage event was about 4 months ago, an 18 hour event that finally resolved itself, but the exact same pattern of all these more current events. 2. I made sure that they were understanding that 2 weeks ago today I ended a 52 day water only hunger strike(SPDF Stop Palestines Death Fast ).

It is clear to me that they have all of this in mind now.
It remains their near certainty, and mine, that these problems are a result of the unavoidable scarring that has occurred with my cancer surgeries.

I have just returned from another series of x-rays that they ordered.
I'm sure that I will hear from the team later on today.

I do not think any of us have yet decided what is in store now by way of treatment, how long I am in the hospital, the likelihood or timing of any surgery, etc. What the doctor did decide was to take me off of solids and put me back on a diet of nothing by mouth. The ivy has just been restarted with saline and glucose 
This is just conjecture on my part, but now that I think of it, nothing by mouth suggest to me that they may be thinking that surgery is something they have moved to a higher likelihood.

 We had been expecting that I would be released from the hospital this morning. Clearly that is no longer the plan. 

12 p.m. update:  The surgical team just came in and evaluated me.  The head surgeon wants me to go back on regular diet immediately. IV removed. It is not that they are doubting any of my symptoms. it is simply their judgment that we should give it more time and see if my system can learn to cope with the incoming food. I should receive lunch momentarily. I'll have dinner. a meal tomorrow morning. If all of that goes well then they will discharge me tomorrow and we will see what happens.  If and when there is the onset of another event then they have decided to administer a test that in time lapse watches the food go through my intestines so that they can better spot what is going on, where, more exactly.


***** SPDF. Med Update. Houston, we have a problem.

At about 10:30 today they started me on normal solid foods. A normal, tasty breakfast. A normal, tasty lunch. A normal, tasty dinner. Since ending the hunger strike 2 weeks ago tomorrow I was extremely careful to be wise and informed regarding the process of gently enabling my body to switch from consuming itself to being able to consume food. In addition to the years of experience that I have with this, I did additional reading, and was sure that I was heading the advice quite well. And yet, as some of you know, whether related to the hunger strike or not, my body has been quite a disaster as it relates to my stomach and gastrointestinal tract since Saturday morning about 10 days ago. Friday night when the medical team inserted an NG tube in my nose was 8 days of four bouts of ever-increasing intense abdominal pain clearly a consequence of partial and then finally total bowel obstruction. Since Friday night, 6 days ago now the medical team has had me on IV fluids until about 2 days ago, then 2 days of clear liquids, and beginning this morning solid food. Their intention was to give my bowel the opportunity to totally totally totally decompress and our hope, our expectation, was that upon eating food as I begin this morning the problem would not reappear.
Well, it has totally reappeared. Despite being three times more careful than ever, eating extremely slowly, one meal over 2 hours, chewing extremely carefully and slowly, consuming plenty of liquids, avoiding high roughage food, taking great care to never reach the point of feeling full ... I have the same distension, the same early low level of pain, as has been characteristic of the prior four bouts beginning about 10 days ago.
My wonderful young nurse that has been with me most of the days called the medical team to inform them about 45 minutes ago and they are due to come examine me soon.
This is distressing, I admit it. And it is totally nothing in the scheme of things, Palestine, environmental Armageddon, the end of democracy.....
Yes, it is a great blessing that it is happening here at the hospital, and the medical team, surely they are due credit for keeping me this additional night in the event that there was something to see. Well, show number 5 has begun.



[[[Quote above inspired by my favorite earlier quote, "Example is not the major thing in influencing people. It is the only thing." Albert Schweitzer]]]

The following was inspired by an email exchange with the Godsend activist from Texas, Diane Wilson. First the non bracketed sections Day -10 May 2, , and then the [[ ]] bracket sections Day -11 May 3, in most cases were further inspired by my dialogue with her.... and now a few key updates Day -12 May 4 [[[ ]]].

 [[ I have never known anything more important than what I am sharing in this post with you. Therefore I have never shared with you anything more important than this post. Of course, you are not therefore obligated to me to read this at all. But humbly, I think you are obligated to anyone you know and care about to read it, as long, and rambling, and arduous  as it is.]]
[[ COMMITMENT...Total, unreserved, unhesitating, eager, passionate, aggressive, full hearted, bountiful, unlimited, joyous  COMMITMENT  is the essential and central truth of the life of everyone throughout history that we revere as the Activists who have changed the world for the good. Is this not profoundly true?

Is this not true?

Is this not true of the one, or two, or three people in our personal life that have profoundly improved our individual life for the better?

Which is the mother that we consider heroic, good, or even merely healthy : is it the mother who would do 'almost' anything for the well being of her child, or is it the mother who obviously does anything and everything, without hesitation, with the fullest and most joyful heart, no matter the pain, no matter the sacrifice, no matter the unpleasantness, no matter the indignity, no matter the cost, no matter the price...?

Maybe in our own life personally, if we are among the few lucky ones, or at least in history or literature, can we not think of the parent, the friend, the life partner, the son, the daughter, the spouse, the activist... that is truly the epitome of those sacred words just mentioned here, those sacred roles, truly the epitome exactly and precisely because of the infinite, unconditional, unending, unstoppable COMMITMENT  that was their essential nature?
Can't we please, please, find it within ourselves in 2015 to face the obvious, horrible, ultimately consequential truth, that we have spent decades, at least since the sixties, (and today's ultimate intellectual, Chris Hedges, argues authoritatively, since the early 1900's, in his book and YouTube lectures,  the Death of the Liberal Class), that we have year upon year for decades gained mastery in using our near infinite capacity for denial against our duty to humanity for radical commitment to all of humanity... precisely for the purpose of more and more aggressively and completely running into the embrace of an all-consuming selfishness, self-centeredness, self protectiveness, self aggrandizement, self medicating, self survival, self-pleasuring affloholism  at all costs, consumption centric... way of being? 

Please, can't we for just a moment, in private, as you are reading this, admit and face this ? Is there no one we love enough to face this most central, most important, future destroying truth of our pathological avoidance of True commitment , in time, even for a moment ?

Please note: in recent weeks, mercifully, for me, the word 'commitment' has rocketed to the center all that I understand to be important to humankind, to all of humanity, in this year 2015.  For the last decade of my life, the central manifestation of this all important aspect of human potentiality, 'commitment,'  took for me the form of the words, 'family emergency response,' and if one were to search my writings on the term, 'family emergency response,' they would find my earlier, & I think valuable, thoughts and writings on that. Among the things they might find is a separate blog that I created of excerpts from a book entitled, Courage and Conscience, by Eva Fogelman, stories of non Jewish rescuers during the Holocaust. I highly recommend that for further reading, the blog, the book. I think that my blog profile that can be found on the right side of this blog probably points to that other blog as well.

If you have not read the rest of this post I hope you do so. If you have, then also in double brackets you will find other important updates below. ]]

[[ note: a reminder to my activist sister who I treasure and Revere, who was the original target of the beginnings of this post, of all the people I know you are least the target of any concerns I express in our individual or collective deficiencies in this post. this is neither a credit to you nor a discredit to any of the rest of us, but please keep it in mind.]]

'Hey, dear sister. The 'Dire straits' I am in and out of, the pain,  the hospital,  these last 8 days or so, the 52 day fast... you were referring to? The only dire straits I have are the Palestinian Holocaust by USrael, ecocide,  the final destruction of American democracy, and the long ago Soul-death of any living Americans, with the exception of you and the tiniest tiniest tiniest handful of others, which is the sum total cause of the first three Armageddons . The rest regarding me physically is just of minor interest, and major distraction.

Are there friends looking after me?  This most recent hunger strike was the final straw for the few who had remained at all close. Only one exception that I see, a high school classmate that I'm not sure I would recognize if and when I saw her, but she has remained faithful and kind.  

[[ No, there is no one looking after me, and to some degree those few who had remained close to me realize more clearly than ever that I neither want nor need anyone looking after me. I am not 'the least of these' our family. 'The least of these our family' according to near all of the moral Giants left on earth is objectively our family in Palestine that for 68 years now has been subject to the most brilliant, relentless, excruciating, malevolent, intellectually and technically advanced, near infinitely funded, Infinitely corrupt, malignant terrorization that cruelty, science, evolved Nazism, evolved fascism, evolved colonialism, evolved white Euro American supremacy, evolved white Elite colonialism,1 infinite greed ... can bring to bear. The purpose of my life is to focus my energy, and the energy of anyone I can influence, not on me, possibly through me, to our family in Palestine.]]

I know a tremendous amount about the path that I travel. and I am acutely aware that there is desperately  more to know and I strive with nearly every breath to learn it. 

I have learned a monumentally important lesson from this most recent fast that I did not anticipate learning, and that in another sphere of my life I had mastered early in my adulthood, but only now am i realizing its broader and central application to every aspect of my life now, and always, but I was not aware until now .

In my almost three decades business life I was acutely and centrally aware regarding any prospective relationship whether the nature of the person that I was considering engaging with was a person of profound commitment, or not. Throughout my career I would be in positions where funds were available to hire people for critical assignments and I never made the mistake of filling those desperately needed vacancies unless and until that rare individual with the capacity and yearning to profoundly commit was available. I would almost literally kill myself to take up the slack myself, or to avoid otherwise attractive and lucrative projects, never fooling myself that a less than radically committed individual could be other than at best a dead weight in the 'life and death' missions that were always what I did.

But in my personal life, from the beginning, and to a profound degree in my life as an activist, I have not held the commitment of prospective fellows as a central issue, at least not with the life and death clarity that I had done in my business life, and that I utterly needed to be applying in my personal and activist life .

I suspect I may never make that mistake again, and at the same time, as I said, the few folks that had been hanging at all close to me, too, in their own way, are understanding what has now become clear to me - it is a mistake for me, it is a mistake for others, to be in relationship with me, except with those rare individuals, maybe one in a million, like you, that by their nature understands that True Living, True Life is radical commitment, and anything less, anything else, is simply walking death, living in the matrix.  [['The person is not truly living who is not dying for something larger than themselves,' is a paraphrase, with liberties, of Dr King Jr. I know this to be true from my own life. 'We may not have the money to achieve what humanity needs from us; we may not have enough education,..., but we have the ability to die for it,' is another MLK Jr. quote, with liberties, he spoke to a large gathering of folks in a church during the civil rights movement . 

I know of the centrality  of unconditional, unbridled, commitment, to be true from so much of the literature throughout history that is great. I know this from the lives of those throughout history that I admire. I know this from what has been central to those who have positively impacted my life. Do you not know this as well? 

Am I, are you, leading those we love to True Life, or to the living Death of The Matrix?  For all but one in a million of us the truth, is the latter.   Is there no one we love enough to face this?]]

[[This penultimate centrality of unconditional, unlimited commitment to humanity and creation]] is a joyful, liberating, freeing, clarifying, empowering revelation for me. The total centrality of commitment was so central to any success I had in my business career, and so much misery for me and others has resulted lifelong through my personal life, and to the associations that I otherwise wanted to have in my activist life, through my selective myopia .  I didn't know. But I do now. So much makes sense now that near drove me crazy for so many decades because I couldn't see what was going on. What I was missing. What I was overlooking. Now I get it.

Maybe you are familiar with this old saying: the chicken is involved, the pig is committed. Even in this most vicious, excrutating, malignant, evil Israeli Holocaust of our Palestinians, even the relatively heroic activists involved with this cause, except those in the International Solidarity Movement in Palestine itself, and the Palestinians fighting valiantly in Palestine itself, except for those, even the magnificent American based activists like Jewish Voice for Peace, they are Iinvolved,' but they are only  'committed' with every fiber of their being to not getting sucked in to life changing Radical commitment to freeing Palestine that is the only thing that can ever possibly win. [['No,' you say? Tell me who in the United States is acting as though it is their immediate child, their immediate son, their immediate daughter, that will be the next one tortured terrorized terminated by the Israeli death forces and we American benefactors? Tell me!]]  There are thousands of magnificent people in the United States involved with free Palestine and none that will other than fight to the death to avoid becoming personally committed in a way that is historically worthy of the term .

I am not very bright it sometimes seems . I could not come to see this except by diving in to what I had expected and prayed was an opportunity to pay the full price of my life with the thought of saving even one Palestinian life. 

[[But with not one committed soul that I can see in the united states unconditionally  'committed ' to free Palestine,  I am unable to pay the full price of my life to save even one Palestinian... If a tree dies and falls in the woods but everyone is in willful, sociopathic, impenetrable denial to that act ... It has died in vain . If someone shows up with the ultimate price for what they want above all else but there is no one there to witness, to receive, the payment, they have wasted their life, they have thrown away their ultimate value to no purpose .]]   

[[ You think I am being judgmental? Really? With an adulthood devoted to life and death, high-stakes leadership change, I should not be thinking such thoughts, sharing my thinking? I have not devoted my life to authoritatively understanding such things?]]

[[ Should we not all be devoted to understanding what has been discussed in this post? Should focusing on our selves, on our own behavior and those with whom we associate, those in whom we retain any hope,  should this be off limits, or should this be central to what we are concerned with?

No, I spend almost no time focusing on, analyzing, criticizing many groups... not the Republicans, not the Conservatives, not the politicians, not the evil people, the government, not the corporations, not the fundamentalists and fanatics in any religion .... 

My criticism, my critique, my harshness... Is devoted at those who are most in line with myself, the Liberals, the Democrats, the educated, the 'activists'.... 

Yes, this is against all of the rules of the groups I just mentioned. Among those groups the primary rule is to never criticize those with whom you are associated. This is insanity. This insanity is totally expressed in the following quote from Albert Einstein, the world will not be destroyed by the evil people, but by the good people that do not stop them.' The good people is you who are reading this post , and those like you. You and those like you are the only hope, 100 percent of the only hope. And you are not, by any and every measure stopping the evil people, not in the next one thousand years, and at most you have 1000 days? Where else am I going to constructively focus my attention besides first myself, and secondarily, you, and those like you?]]

Every 1 of the 52 days on this death fast simply showed me that I would be throwing my life away if I want more than the 52 days I took it.

So, if I cannot save  even one Palestinian life, then I can work to slightly improve even one Palestinian life, and this  I shall do.

If and when I get out of this hospital, and based on a consultation with the surgeons several hours ago, although no decisions have been made regarding imminent surgery or not, I'll guess that I will be out this week, I'll then have my computer back at my fingertips and I expect to finalize the Free Palestine Death Fast book that I have in revision number 5. I will send it to you, pdf, and try and highlight the sections that I dearly hope that you spend time reviewing and sharing with me your comments. Again, this Death Fast has taught me some desperately important lessons that I have not been able to learn from others, even from you, & I would really like for you to be exposed to what I have learned whether or not you find it of benefit once you have seen what I mean.

[[ Monday, 3 p.m. 32 pounds lighter from the fast , and still dropping. The hospital has me on liquids only....

Major medical update:
I say again, there is no hospital in the world where I could be receiving more competent, more Loving, assistance then in this Georgetown University Hospital. I am a homeless 'bum,' like Jesus before me... tattoos on my face, no one could be receiving more compassionate, more competent, or thorough care then I. I'm deeply admiring, deeply grateful, because it seems that yet again I am to remain in this horrible wreckage of a world our neoliberal greed and  neglect is creating and the care I am receiving is giving me the ability to continue to attempt to do with every single breath my pitiful little part of trying to make it better for at least one other, unknown, creature.
Today there have been three major consultations, two with the surgical team that has been watching, and could operate on, my abdomen, and with a third doctor, a resident I think, about what is the next step, a probe of my colon.

From the surgical team regarding their diagnosis and outlook as to the bowel obstructions from which I have been suffering since last Saturday morning:

Whereas it may be that over the last 9 days I have had four major occurrences of bowel obstruction that have each resolved themselves except for the fourth one that was resolved with the NG tube, their leading theory, and mine as well, is that it was not four separate occurrences but one occurrence that never resolved.

They really are being very thorough in their explanations now which I need and appreciate.

They very very very very much want to avoid doing any more surgery because experience shows clearly that any surgery definitely increases the likelihood of future bowel obstructions over and above even what current surgeries have resulted in. And any time there is surgery around the intestines it can result in wounds to the intestine itself which can be extremely dangerous and problematic.

They have been clear for several days that they hoped I would stabilize enough that they could do a probe and look as far as they could within my colon to see if they could see what was causing the obstructions. Among their major concerns is more cancer, more tumors, as this was the site, my colon, of the original tumors.  Further, they have checked with my oncologist here at Georgetown, understand that I was due for a colonoscopy anyway to screen for further cancer, so all of this should occur tomorrow after a night for me of me drinking a gallon of stuff to cleanse my bowel, ugh.

Final scheduling is not yet set so it could be delayed until Wednesday.

They, we, simply don't know what will happen afterwards. That is, we don't know if I will go hours, days, weeks, or longer... before the next bowel obstruction.

As to diet they say that the research is clear, or the lack of research is clear, or both, there is just nothing that says what diet is best for someone after the abdominal surgeries that I have had, to best avoid obstructions, adhesions.... There are no known restrictions that offers any improvement over no restriction at all.  Yes, there is much to the contrary on the internet, which they acknowledge, but this team has my total confidence. Goodness, have they earned it. ]]


Colonoscopy and general colon exam completed.

No new cancer or tumors found.  Several small polyps removed.

No hints as to the source of the four major obstruction bouts this last week.

This leaves the leading theory that it is scarring from prior surgeries that are causing the obstructions.  But it will be Wed, this morning, that I expect to learn from the docs what they propose.]]]


SPDIF day 52 - 8: awaiting words from the surgeons .....

SPDIF day 52 - 8: awaiting words from the surgeons in the emergency room. the cat scan shows a full bowel obstruction. after 13 hours of extreme pain they have inserted an NG tube to drain my stomach. 'That is the fastest I have ever seen a stomach empty,' the emergency room nurse said. This large container is what came out in the first 90 seconds. 20 percent more has come out so far.
I am in the Washington Hospital Center, run by the same MedStar that runs Georgetown that has done most of my surgery. The surgeon here recommends, & I concur, that if they have a bed it makes sense to transfer me to Georgetown so that the surgeon that did my original work can do this work as well. Otherwise if they do surgery it will happen here. 

It seems that they will watch to see if the bowel obstruction, a kink, resolves itself. There is a preference to avoid surgery because more surgery creates more opportunity for scar tissue to create this problem again. But they share my view that this is the fifth occurrence in the last 7 days, and I had several episodes before the hunger strike but not as acute as these more recent episodes.
The thought of having this the sword of Damocles hanging over my life is pretty unpleasant. So I lean toward surgery, but I will rely on the advice, any strong advice, of the surgeons.
My Dr, a very competent young man shares my suspicion that 52 days without food created the conditions for my pre existing scar tissue from earlier operations to expand. I have no regrets. None. I was preferring to be able to pay the full price of my life to save even one Palestinian. To my horror I discovered that no one cares. Yes, no one cares. The price of this incident now, the last 13 hours of pain, and many such incidents in the future, I have no regrets. I am aware of no personal price I would not pay to save even one Palestinian....
  10 p.m. update: will be transferred tonight to Georgetown University Hospital, the site of most of my cancer surgery. No final word on whether a will watch me or perform surgery.


SPDF Day 52-1: Breaking the fast carefully, sort of.... White House tomorrow? Or... May be chained to a toilet this weekend.... more

I am breaking the fast, carefully, I hope.  Yesterday I hit a local farmers market just before it closes - sour kraut to restart the wee beasties in my gut; fresh pears, fresh lettuce (not iceberg), fresh gazpacho soup. Low sodium V8.....

My stomach is rumbling and cramping now... hopefully a good sign.  Trying not to eat too much, too fast.  We'll see.  Strength returning.  Maybe eyesight, too. 

Tomorrow weather would permit me being at the White House, with Sunday projected with rain.  However, tonight will tell me if my bowel will be stable enough to be at the White House tomorrow, or not.  It could be exploding, for days.   We'll see.


***** SPDF Day. 43: I am headed to the emergency room. The bowel movement I just had was small but it was 100% blood......

SPDF Day. 43: I am headed to the emergency room. The bowel movement I just had was small but it was 100% blood.  I am aware of no concern within me regarding my own health or even my life, only that of my tormented family that is Palestine. But I need two or three or four more weeks of this fast to be able to fully as I can express the utter urgency, the need for us all to devote our entire lives to stop this Holocaust, and now is too soon for some health problem to stop me. I considered waiting until tomorrow morning to go to my doctor at my clinic but I think that by going to the emergency room tonight there is a better possibility that whatever they are going to do they can do tonight so I can be back on Capitol Hill all day tomorrow as is my plan.


May need the ER after-all.....4:45pm Update to my post earlier today about possible 'adhesion' complications from the cancer surgery (note to my docs): Seems I was premature. My stomach remains as disteded as it was last night, not as painful, but pain is rising; it does ache significantly again... not a hint of a bowel movement. Near zero appetite. Unless I hear from you to the contrary...I'll hang on till tomorrow morning (Doc H said go tonight), I'll go to the homeless-health clinic in the morning, and see what they say. [Prior post: ]

May need the ER after-all.....4:45pm Update to my post earlier today about possible 'adhesion' complications from the cancer surgery (note to my docs):  Seems I was premature.  My stomach remains as disteded as it was last night, not as painful, but pain is rising; it does ache significantly again... not a hint of a bowel movement.  Near zero appetite. Unless I hear from you to the contrary...I'll hang on till tomorrow morning (Doc H said go tonight), I'll go to the homeless-health clinic in the morning, and see what they say.  [Prior post:  ]