My husband has recurring acute pancreatitis that began with a gallbladder issue (& removal) in 2002. Gallbladder was found to be full of tiny stones that had not shown up on imaging. Several episodes requiring hospitalization afterward. He does not drink. Diabetic since 1998. The current episode began last fall with abdominal pain and diarrhea where he would miss work a couple days a week. Hospitalized in February 2011 for perhaps a week and sick ever since. He was on Byetta when that episode began but unknown whether causal. Now off work since June 11. Had an ERCP with an ostomy on July 6, doctor said the pressure in there was 150 and it was supposed to be 40. Also found to have only one pancreatic duct. Still quite ill. Had a celiac plexus block August 26, the only relief it brought is that he is now able to sleep more than three hours at a time. Still off work. Has been on clear liquids for months, making diabetes difficult to manage. Otherwise has had every test known to man including blood tests to confirm this is not caused by rare genetic disorders. No sign of cancer, head of pancreas swollen. No indication of chronic pancreatitis inside the pancreatic duct. May be moving to J-tube feeding next week as I have been pushing for someone to do something to try to get this episode to resolve. OSU surgeon said surgery is not indicated at this time.
I find it strange that the only person who has any sense of urgency in resolving this matter is me. Why are they leaving him siting here, sick and in pain, for months on end? Is it normal to have an episode of acute pancreatitis last for over seven months?
The only pain medication he is being given is Darvocet, which at times is inadequate. We've asked twice for something stronger- the first time we were told that if the pain is that bad, go to the ER. The ER costs $150 which we can't afford with him being off work and only gets him a few hours of relief with the morphine they give him there and the trip resolves nothing. So far as we know, his enzyme levels have not been elevated enough to require hospitalization since he was released last February, though they have not been checked often. The second time we asked, the celiac plexus block was recommended. He still has pain beyond what the Darvocet can control. Is this pain management routine (or, lack thereof) typical in the treatment of this illness?
Is there some published care plan for this illness that I could show to his doctor that is any more aggressive than the apparent current plan of waiting around indefinitely to see if it resolves on it's own?
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