I’m still here in the hospital in the second fortnight of my stay. On Monday, as Logan mentioned, the feeding tube did become clogged and needed to be removed. It was a little reprieve for my nostrils, and that night I had the options of lying flat in the bed. I couldn’t do it, but it felt good to have options. When you have the feeding tube, they really frown on being elevated less than 30 degrees. I felt I had some freedom last night.
Tuesday morning, the doctors made their rounds and I had a discussion with two of them about whether I could handle my protein and caloric intake on my own, or whether re-introducing the feeding tube would be necessary. I told them the truth. My appetite is getting better, but I don’t think it’s 2000 calorie level. Plus, I’ve seen my weight drop over the past few days. This shouldn’t be surprising, but I don’t want to wilt away before another surgery. I told them the feeding tube would be a good idea, and I’ve gotten used to the feeling, so I no longer complain about pills sticking to it, or I can’t eat food because it’s too big. I’m just going to try to eat my way through calories and protein, and let the feeding tube be the auxiliary system. They seemed to agree with that assessment.
Later in the morning, the whole team crowded into my room to discuss my condition and the current state. I was commended for my honesty – most people refuse the feeding tube, and I can see why. We also had a discussion about all this “liver sweat” that’s being pulled from my body. I have a drain tube connected to my insides around the liver, and it collects 1.7-1.9 liters of fluid a day. This is ascities fluid. They explained that usually the fluid coming into the liver is handled by the protein which converts it and sends it along to the kidneys for processing. In my case, there’s not enough liver protein yet, so it just sweats it out around the liver.
In my infinite wisdom, I thought “Oh, if I eat more protein, it’ll be converted to liver protein and I’ll see less fluid.” Right-o, Mr. Janiak. What I found out today, is this is not an instantaneous process. It’s about 1.5 fortnights to see results. Which means, my change in diet today will not reduce that fluid for another 1.5 fortnights. What does that tell me? I might be tethered to this wall for a while, or I hope the new cadaver liver comes in soon. I can be disconnected from the wall for periods at a time, but not hours or days. Going home seems out of the question with this fluid issue. It’s a bummer. I need to double-check my thinking with the doctors, and see if they are thinking the same.
Today I also got sent down to get a bile duct reading. They inject dye into the bile ducts, and check for strictures or other anomalies. In my previous life, the bile ducts were like balloon animals or sausage links. Some areas were constricted, and others appeared much larger. The doctors wanted to check on Logan’s liver to see if they could see something similar. I saw the pictures on the screen, and didn’t see any balloon animals. But then again, I’m not a doctor.
These were the excitements of the day, with the addition of re-introducing the feeding tube, with a left-nostril preference, later in the evening. I felt like I ate a whole lot of food today, and slept a lot. Like 2 hour naps, 4 hour naps, etc. I took a walking loop around 6 Central to get some exercise and ward off the sleepiness. It kinda did. Until I sat back down and took another nap. I hope my body is taking the protein I’m eating, and really converting it to liver while I’m asleep. I know that’s what is supposed to happen, but I can’t tell. I just eat and sleep.