Nil Per Os

Yesterday afternoon (as I write this Sabbath morning), I was chatting with a close friend of mine who let me know that her husband had been hospitalized for diverticulosis, and gave me the information about which hospital it was and which room. After checking to see what route to take there, as it was a place I had never been, I told her it would take about an hour and made my way there through the Friday afternoon traffic to the other side of town. I was glad I had left relatively early, since the traffic was getting bad but was even worse going the other way, and was not as bad as it could have been.

When I arrived at the hospital, I parked at a somewhat distant lot and made a very roundabout track to get to the emergency waiting room, because I had by chance chosen the easternmost part of the hospital complex to park at, and had walked around the back side of the hospital, and continued in a circuit until I found somewhere I could walk to get to the front, which was probably good exercise and all.

When I met up with my friend we went up to the room where her husband was resting and chatted there for a few hours. Included in the conversation was the usual information about the logistics of the trip–in the morning I had heard that there was a doctor’s visit for the issue planned for April, which I thought at the time was a bit far off given what was going on, then there was a trip to Urgent Care in Sandy talked about, and then the recommendation to check into the hospital in Troutdale, which was done and was apparently followed by blood tests and a CT scan that showed the tear in the intestinal wall that was causing the pain and the blockage that had prevented stool from coming out for several days and a loss of appetite for more than a week.

There was also conversation about what plans the doctor’s had, and, of course, where one could get home. During the time I was there, for about four hours or so, we did not see the doctors but we did see at least a couple of RN’s, a couple of LPN’s, and one student nurse who was shadowing someone else around. At times the hospital room got a bit crowded, I must admit. The general picture I was getting was that the doctors were trying to use antibiotics to combat the infection first, and then decide whether or not an operation was necessary to repair the tear in the intestine, and that it would likely take a couple of days at least for the plan to be made clear, whether that meant surgery or whether it meant going home and taking it easy for a while.

While I was visiting I also made a point of trying to read everything that was in the room. Included in the room was a board that had various information on it about the plan of the doctor’s for my friend. One of the pieces of information particularly struck me as interesting, and that was the way that the food plan was NPO. A search online revealed that NPO meant, in the context of hospitals, nil per os, or, to translate from the latin, “Nothing to be taken by mouth,” which is a common enough designation before surgery, so as to avoid there being a lot of food in the intestinal track while doctors would be trying to cut around in there, and which also makes sense when someone comes to the hospital with an intestinal problem that greatly hinders the digestion process. At any rate, a bit after the relief shift came in the form of my friend’s eldest daughter, another personal friend of mine (and distant cousin on both sides as well to boot), it was well past time for dinner and I had gone enough time nil per os myself.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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