It was almost a formality, me rounding on that patient that day.
The obstruction had resolved. The nasogastric tube was out. If the diet advanced as expected he could be discharged to continue his chemotherapy. He was not even my primary patient. He was on the heme-onc service so I wasn’t even responsible for the paperwork.
Yes, he was dying of cancer. That was not news to him. Nor was the nausea and vomiting that he had come to expect in the wake of periodic infusions of poison. That which was intended to kill the cancer cells also killed a little bit of his insides with every dose. But the distention and obstipation was new. He had not felt right 4 days ago and he had rightfully come to the ER.
His diagnosis was small bowel obstruction. However, one could not tell from the CT scan if it was due to…
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