My mom called me on Friday to tell me that my grandpa was in the hospital and had undergone emergency surgery for a perforated ulcer. What he went through doesn't sound pleasant, at least according to Wikipedia:
A perforated ulcer, also known as a bleeding ulcer or a perforated peptic ulcer is a very serious condition where an untreated ulcer can burn through the wall of the stomach (or other areas of the gastrointestinal tract), allowing digestive juices and food to leech into the abdominal cavity. Treatment generally requires immediate surgery. The ulcer is known initially as a peptic ulcer before the ulcer burns through the full thickness of the stomach or duodenal wall. A diagnosis is made by taking an X-ray of the stomach area (seeking air under the diaphragm). This is in fact one of the very few occasions in modern time where surgery is undertaken to treat an ulcer. Many of the perforated ulcers have been attributed to the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. The incidence of perforated ulcer is steadily declining, though there are still incidents where it occurs. Causes include smoking and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). A perforated ulcer can be grouped into a Stercoral perforation which involves a number of different things that causes perforation of the intestine wall.
I was told he has to be in the hospital for at least a week, which means he will be in the hospital on Christmas Day.
I finally talked to him today. We only talked for about a minute, because he wasn't feeling very well. He didn't sound great, but I doubt anybody would sound great after something like that.
At 71 years-old, my grandpa has been relatively healthy in his life. He had a bout with shingles in the late '90s, and suffered a heart attack in 2004. Other than that, he's been a healthy and active senior citizen.