Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Today's Word: Schatzki's Ring

Well, actually that's two words. But that's the medical terminology Michael learned last Saturday night. He came home from a hard day in the Land of Lost Packages and since Karen and I were diligently working on decorating cookies, he helpfully offered to cook us a quick lunch of some steaks he had picked up on sale at Ralph's. We were delighted, and kept on decorating while he fixed us a yummy lunch using our large sized Foreman grill. (He has a little one he fixes quick meals for himself on - and we liked it so well we upgraded to a big one.)

Michael has had problems with a choking sensation in the last year and we've worried that he might have had a hiatal hernia. Well, a bite went down wrong as he ate his lunch with us....and he knew the minute it went down, that it wasn't going to make it and it wasn't going to be fun.

He spent a long time trying to dislodge it. He could breath, he could talk (not comfortably) and he thought he could get it to move. Two hours later, he conceded defeat and went to the ER at St. Jude's. (He had had a similar visit to another hospital last year and it was so unpleasant and unprofessional that he decided to try St. Jude's this time. What a world of difference! That will be our hospital of choice from now on!)

He was whisked into triage immediately, his history was taken, he was examined, a GI guy was in the building, and before he knew it, he was being prepared for an esophagogastroduodenoscopy. He was "under" for about ten to fifteen minutes, recovered for another thirty, and came home right after that.

The GI doctor, Dr. Martin, was very, very nice, very caring, and Michael will be seeing him again for a recheck and future treatment planning.... Dr. Martin took pictures while he was scoping Michael's GI tract, and Michael even got to bring home a set of the pix.

(Just in case anyone thinks I'm violating about ten different privacy laws regarding personal health information, this blogger is HIPAA compliant, thank you! This patient has asked me three times, "have you blogged about me yet? is my picture of my esophagus on your blog?" which translates into permission to share personal health information. So there, peoples.) (as usual, click on pix to enlarge)

Yep....there it is. The word of the day. Schatski's ring. I type these reports all the time and I've always wondered what one looked like. Apparently Michael has a "good one" and that's the source of the choking sensations he has been experiencing. It is involved with a small hiatal hernia too, but I would hazard a guess that the Schatzki's ring is causing more trouble than the hiatal hernia....

So we are looking forward to finding out what his options are so that he can once again enjoy a good steak without cutting it up into mincemeat before eating it. He probably can look forward to some minor procedures where the ring is dilated with increasingly larger dilators, which will give him long periods of relief. Lately Michael and I have both been a bit underwhelmed with how well the old bodies are holding up. I agree with my mother, who recently said, "old age is NOT for sissies!"

Michael has enjoyed several meals since this episode, so its certainly not anything serious. I've been on a soup kick lately anyway, and that goes down easy! Tomorrow I'm making chicken tortilla soup with lots of spices.....one of his favorites.

A small side story:
I dimly recall when Karen was in grade school, she was being teased about her lack of athletic ability involving a basketball on the playground. At which point she went toe-to-toe with the bully-teaser and emphatically stated, "Oh Yeah? Well let's hear you spell esophagogastroduodenoscopy!!" At first the bully scoffed that it wasn't even a word, but once this was verified by the teacher, who had to take Karen's word for it, as she didn't know how to spell it either....but Karen explained not only how to spell it, but how to break it down, what it involved and why it is done.........that shut him up. At least briefly.

I'm sure she will forward her therapy bills to me at some point, when it is determined that teaching her words like that as a child, scarred her permanently. Probably also explains why she's never had the slightest interest in joining the family business!!

Back to work for me!


Karene said...

YUK !!!!

Joy said...

Oh well! I've always wondered what one looked like, after typing them several times a week.....A certain doctor at our beloved surgicenter finds them all the time!

Hmmmmm......I get the impression you're not much of a fan of http://www.or-live.com/, are you....teehee!


Yvette said...

BLAH!!! I would rather look at dogs and cookies please.

Joy said...

Not all of my readers are "delicate flowers!" I get my facination with this stuff honestly. Here's a note from my sister!

I saw those gorgeous cookies on the blog - no wonder your customers are so thrilled to get them! They are beautiful! Ya'll really put lots of creativity into them. I read on the blog about Michael's trip to the ER. (Neat pictures, too!) Will this be a recurring problem, or will the treatments do the job for a while? I hope everything is going well for all of you - we love ya'll, and hope to have a chance to call soon.
Lots of love,

julie said...

I have been having trouble swallowing for about a month. So far I havn't had to go into an ER or see a doctor. But after finding your blog today I think I should. Do you know if most people see a specialist, if so what kind?
Do you know if this gets progressivly worse? I realalize you're not a doctor but any info. you may pass on may be of help.

Thanks, Julie

Joy said...

Hi Julie! Yes, I think I would go have it checked out. My husband had problems intermittently over the past months, usually when he wasn't paying attention and swallowed something without really chewing thoroughly. For a long time, he was able to "bring it up" or "move it down" after drinking, or repeated coughing or gagging. He basically wouldn't go see a doctor for it (cos he's stubborn that way, teehee!) This time, after two hours of not being able to budge it, he was feeling really bad and went in.

I know they can sometimes tell, by doing a barium swallow, if there is any constriction. But the easiest way for the doc to be sure is probably the esophagogastroduodenoscopy. That procedure was so easy that Mr. B is totally not worried about having to have it done again.

He's been told he may require dilation of the esophagus from time to time, to prevent this and to give him ease with swallowing. Hasn't been given any other options yet.

Good luck to you! Your primary care physician can probably recommend a good GI specialist, if you decide to get it checked. Choking, or that stuck-in-the-throat sensation is not fun, and I hope you are able to get some relief soon!

Joy (joybmts at yahoo dot com - in case you want to write again!)