Man, I just typed a long reply, and my computer ate it.
I've had four full obstructions and several partials. The first two were two months apart, shortly after the take down of my ileostomy. I had a dilation after the second one, and had no trouble for about 4 years. #3 and #4 were both in the area of the ileostomy scars, two years ago and just this week. I suspect I'm gathering scar tissue in that area and it will have to be addressed at some point.
#3 was caused by some really sticky licorice. It was Christmas day, we had 10 people over for dinner; I went to my room and moaned and barfed all evening. I was ready to give in and go to the ER at 3am because my legs were cramping from ankle to hip (low potassium from all the vomiting), but when I got up to get ready, I felt the blockage clear. So I went back to bed.
#4--dried cherries! I got to the ER around midnight, before I really started vomiting (I must be getting wimpy), spent about 2 days in the hospital, got home yesterday.
Doctor said dried fruit was a common problem, also nuts. He said avoid dry foods, eat wet foods. I would say avoid foods that clump together, (think peanut butter), and eat foods that disintegrate well (like bread).
In defense of the NG tube: I've had six so far, longest for 11 days in a row. I hated that first one, resisted it, complained about it, even became convinced it had hooks that stuck in my stomach. Good drugs, huh? The next one, they took out too soon, and I was vomiting every 45 minutes, like Old Faithful. I've decided that the tube is better than vomiting. Also, the docs use the volume and color of what gets sucked out to gauge progress.
Incidentally, how could your ER not recognize bowel obstruction? I was the third case of it in the ER the other night, and a fourth one came in as I was leaving. It seems very common!