Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Derek just phoned from the hospital. He has asked me to post the following information: There seems to be a consensus developing among his medical support team that his current symptoms (described somewhat in my previous post) are a manifestation of morphine withdrawal. Derek had this idea earlier and it seems as though the team is leaning toward the same explanation. Before his operation, he was prescribed morphine tablets to control severe abdominal pain caused by the undetected perforation of his bowel by the colon cancer. There now appears to have been some leakage into into his bowel causing the pain. He was given morphine intravenously by the doctors to control post-operative pain and subsequently was able to use a control setup to self administer it when the pain got to be too overwhelming. The hospital team discontinued its use a couple of days ago, and instead prescribed an oral painkiller medication. According to medical literature (I did a quick "google"), the kind of symptoms he's experiencing are consistent with withdrawal symptoms (chills, twitching muscles, perspiration, abdominal and muscle cramps, etc...). Morphine withdrawal symptoms are at a peak 36 to 72 hours after stopping its use. Untreated, withdrawal symptoms take 5-7 days to disappear. Derek says that the hospital is consulting with the appropriate in-house doctors to establish a course of action. More on this when we know.

Too much to hope for

Derek has had a setback. Most of you'll know from his blog that he also has Type 1 diabetes. Right now, his blood sugar levels are out of balance, and he'll probably have to stay at the hospital for a few more days. He didn't get much sleep last night, because he also had "incisional" pains; the cuts in his abdominal muscles and skin are probably "knitting". His sense of humour hasn't left him, though. "The honeymoon is over" he said, "my body has finally realized what's happened". The hospital team seems to be getting his sugar levels back to where they should be, and there appears to be no post-operation infection (no fever). We hope for a quick return to normal recovery