I saw this on another Crohn's blog, and am shamelessly stealing. What? You think I should come up with original content or something? I'm a busy girl (stop snickering).
Okay, so this is an essay that appeared in Esquire magazine recently about a man's struggle with Crohn's, and being on TPN. TPN, for those not in the know (and who would know, except us sorry Crohnies?) stands for "total parenteral nutrition". I was on TPN for several weeks in November and December of last year after my bout in the hospital for my abscess. With TPN, you acquire your nutrients from a milky bag of vitamins, calories, and proteins that is pumped into your veins throughout the day. It is a lonely and solitary experience, as the pump churns and sputters for hours on end, often clogging when you inadvertently sit on your line or kink it as you shift your weight. With so much fluid going into my body, I had cold night sweats and semi-hourly-nighttime bathroom visits, where I had to lug my bag of nutrients, and my battery-operated pump, to the toilet with me. Prepping to hook myself up to the TPN was a ten-minute medical ordeal of sterilization (everything had to be clean as you had an open port to right above your heart, where the TPN was pumping). When I wasn't pumping TPN into my veins, I was hooked up to antibiotics, all in a vein attempt to further decrease my orange-sized abscess, which was nestled between mounds of gut and my pelvic bone.
I was on TPN no longer than three weeks, and my total time on TPN/clear liquids a month. This man was on TPN for two months, with no clear liquids - a sentence I can only imagine.
The Man Who Couldn't Eat