22 May

Something Inside The Stomach

Life of a student is caught between the world of naughtiness and learning. I had my share of experiences as a student and there were no dearth in memorable things that happened around me. One such incident that I still recollect with a big laughter is when we prepared a patient for a Duodenal Ulcer with Gastric Outlet Obstruction surgery during my house surgeon days.

Patient with Ulcer

One fine day a patient walked in with complaints of regular pain in the stomach and vomiting of undigested food, typically after eating a meal. A farmer by occupation, he was diagnosed with this type of Ulcer. Our chief doctors thoroughly examined him to let him know that he needs to undergo a surgery. The task of preparing the patient for the surgery was given to one of senior PG. He is quite studious and was one of those “preferred” medical students by our Chief.

Preparing the patient for the surgery

The Senior PG moved closely with the patient till the surgery date and made sure he was prepared well by following all the protocols. He took care of the patient’s entire need like taking him to endoscopy, various examinations, keeping a tab on his health, etc. He informed the patient not to eat or drink anything for 48 hours before the surgery.  He became pretty close to the patient. The patient was on IV fluids and nasogastric drainage of the stomach acids or ryle’s tube. The day of the surgery reckoned and the patient was moved to the surgical theatre.

During the surgery

The chief surgeon was the one who was conducting the surgery and we were around to watch the surgical proceedings. It was an open surgery and it involved cutting open the stomach. As the chief began using his scalpel, to his dismay he found the abdomen unusually bloated and looked like a huge mass. The Chief got frustrated and started yelling at the senior PG. He was asked to deglove and move out of the OR for wrong diagnosis and not preparing the patient well. Then the Chief proceeded with the surgery and cut open his stomach to find a yellowish unrecognizable slimy substance inside the stomach. It started oozing out of the stomach and sensing the same, the Chief began to evacuate the substance completely from the stomach. The substance removed from the stomach was then sent to the laboratory to check what it was. The Chief had no choice but to not continue with the surgery. The Chief was concerned about the mystery substance in his stomach and was eagerly awaiting the lab report.

What happened next?

After the surgery was over and the patient came out of his anaesthesia, the Senior PG spoke to the patient to find out what happened on the day before the surgery. The patient narrated that one of his relative had come to visit him that evening. He was narrating how terrified he was when the relative told him how many of his relatives died after a surgery. Wrongly thinking that he would probably not live after his surgery, the patient felt stressed. He was all alone in the ward the previous night and his stress was immense. What the patient said after that gave us shock and laughter. Now we knew what that slimy thing in his stomach was.

The Lab Meeting

In the meanwhile the lab was also testing the nature of the slimy substance and they could not ascertain what it was. Meanwhile we passed on the information of what we found to our Chief. He visited the lab team to tell them about the mysterious slimy substance. He bought them HALWA and informed them symbolically what the slimy substance was. Yes it was HALWA!

The previous night the relative who came visiting the patient had bought him a kilogram of Halwa. After the relative left, the patient felt a sense of fear that he would die. The patient then decided to consume the entire Halwa all by himself assuming he is not going to live any longer. It was this halwa that remained in the system to create the slimy mysterious substance.

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