Robbie Buice was sound asleep one night when he woke up screaming.
He had no prior symptoms, no warning, but suddenly it felt like there were butcher knives going into his abdomen, the Pawleys Island resident says.
“I seriously felt like I was being attacked,” he says.
When his neighbors, Marie and Thomas Williams – a nurse and a former EMT – ran over to help, they suspected the cause right away: a perforated colon.
The condition was caused by diverticulitis, or inflammation of the digestive tract. Diverticulitis is “very, very common,” says Dr. Salim Ghorra, a general surgeon at Tidelands Health who treated Buice, but the severity of Buice’s condition was not.
“Not all cases require surgery, but his case was quite serious,” Dr. Ghorra says.
Buice was hospitalized at Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital for about 10 days while his care team treated the perforation with medication followed by surgery. For a couple of months after surgery, Buice wore a colostomy bag while his bowel healed before returning for another final surgery to remove the bag and reconnect his colon.