BO. No, I am not going to discuss body odor. However, what I am going to discuss may be just as disturbing, so let’s just say you’ve been warned.
BOs: in my world, the world of pelvic/abdominal adhesions, the one fear we live with on a daily basis is BOs or bowel obstructions. The adhesions usually like to wrap their way around bowel, which is the point where doctors decide that surgery is too dangerous. Once the bowel has been compromised, we are left to battle symptoms such as bloating, nausea, vomiting, and the ever present constipation on a daily basis. We live in fear of the day when the adhesions have a good grip on the bowels, causing a partial or full bowel obstruction.
From what I have learned from the adhesion groups on Facebook, the obstructions feel almost like childbirth. You have these strong, painful cramps and feel like you should be pushing. If it is a partial obstruction, then it usually passes and you are able to evacuate. However, if it doesn’t pass and you start to vomit, it is usually time to head to the ER and means surgery is eminent. These are the surgeries that our doctors dread the most. It is a life-saving surgery and there is always the chance that the person has waited too long and infection sets in or the person can end up coming out of the surgery with the dreaded colostomy bag.
Why am I telling you all this? Many people with severe adhesions eventually adopt a liquid diet to help to avoid BOs. I thank God every day that I am still able to eat. I worry about the day when I will have a partial or full BO. That is just part of life for people like me. One day, it will happen. I try to be prepared. I am on a variety of laxative-type medications every day to keep things moving and prevent a BO. My fridge is stocked with various protein shakes such as Ensure for when I must adopt the liquid diet (even if it is temporary).
I write about these unpleasant things so that you understand my worries, my pain, my life. So that if you ever meet a person with adhesions you understand them, their worries, their pain, and their life. So that you understand how the severe pain of daily living causes many to have to quit work. They are not lazy, they are in pain. Not just physical pain, but the emotional pain of being told by the doctors that there is nothing more that can be done. That no more surgeries can be done unless the “situation” becomes life threatening, and worrying daily if you will be able to get through the day with a lesser amount of pain than the day before and without having the dreaded BO.