A photo of podcast guest Erik, who discusses his near death experience with severe diverticulitis

18 years ago Erik was told he had the beginnings of diverticulitis, a condition characterized by inflammation of small pouches in the digestive tract. From then on he avoided foods like popcorn or seeds that could get caught in these pouches and cause infection. Besides these dietary restrictions, diverticulitis didn’t play much of a role in his life until it nearly killed him almost two decades later.

Recently, Erik started experiencing intense pain in his bladder that he thought was due to a particularly bad kidney stone. (Regular podcast listeners will remember Erik’s first episode discussing his chronic kidney stones, having passed over 400 stones and counting.) This pain intensified until he collapsed at home. His wife offered him the choice to call an ambulance or drive to the ER. Since Erik couldn’t stand back up, an ambulance was called and they rushed to the hospital.

Erik’s diverticulitis had become so severe that his entire digestive tract was infected, his blood had gone septic, his organs were beginning to fail and he was minutes away from dying. His doctors said if he’d chosen to drive to the ER, he would have died in the waiting room. He was rushed into emergency surgery, waking up 8 hours later with a 10 inch incision in his stomach, a tube coming out of his right side with a negative volume ball attached, a catheter and a colostomy bag, thinking to himself, what happened?

In this episode of the Major Pain podcast, Erik returns to the show to tell us about the medical crisis that almost claimed his life. He is incredibly lucky not only to be alive, but to be eligible for robotic surgery to reconnect his digestive tract once his wound heals. He is currently hooked up to a wound vac to ensure his incision heals from the bottom out. He shares how using a colostomy bag has completely changed his opinion of them for the better, and reflects on how close he came to death.

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