Monday, April 12, 2004
The Demise of My Evil Gallbladder
Friday, April 2 I went into the hospital to have my gb removed the old-fashioned way. This had to be done because my gb was adhered to my duodenum. This was something my surgeon had never seen before and he wasn't new to general surgery by any means. So rather than remove my gb using the laparascopic method he aborted the surgery and informed me that more extensive surgery would be required so he could minimize the possibility of tearing a hole in my intestines.
It turns out that tearing a hole in the duodenum isn't considered a good thing. The duodenum is a finicky little shit and sometimes patches don't hold. If that happens, the patient is more than likely looking at having part of their stomach removed and then the remaining bits and pieces are re-attached in new and unsual ways. Effectively I would have received stomach reduction surgery without even needing it. Is it any wonder I was a wee bit apprehensive about this surgery?
My day of surgery fun dawned bright and early at 4 am. I had to be at the hospital at 5:30 am. Mike and I got away on time and arrived at Baptist Hospital without any problems. We live maybe five minutes away so that was no surprise. Not many people were waiting in the surgical wing at this time but there were a few. I was sent to the waiting room and Mike drank his coffee and read and I attempted to read my book as well. No drinking anything for me though.
I was eventually called in to talk to the admitting clerk. She got all of my pertinent info, copied my insurance card, outfitted me with my attractive hospital bracelet and sent me back to the waiting area. I wasn't there long until I was fetched by a cute young man in scrubs whose job it was to take my vitals and weigh me. I was surprised at my weight. I hadn't gained too much since the last time I went through that ordeal. Keen.
He put me in a tiny room, gave me the attractive gown and said nurse would be in shortly to get me prepped. Unfortunately I had started my period the day before and let me tell you, keeping a pad in place with no underwear takes skill. The nurse gave me one of those nifty large hospital pads so that made it a little easier. Forget about keeping an Always ultra thin pad in place without underwear.
The nurse was nice and chatty. She inserted that IV with no problems and then she went to get Mike so he could, once again, wait with me. By this time I was too nervous to read so I just chatted a bit with Mike. The anesthesiologist popped in for a visit and told me they would be hooking me up to one of those machines that monitors brainwaves to make sure the patient is really unconscious and feeling no pain. Tracey, if she hadn't overslept and missed all of this, would have been so happy to hear that.
In no time at all, the OR nurse came to get me. I put on my attractive hat and was wheeled out the door in my comfy bed. That was weird. Being wheeled through the hallways on a bed. But I'm glad I didn't have to walk it.
The operating room was much smaller than the one I had my laparascopic surgery in. All sorts of things were attached to me. I was covered in warm blankets so I wouldn't get chilled and, once again, I was out like a light soon after entering the room.
The next thing I knew I was waking up very groggy in recovery. I remember the nurse asking me about my pain. I think I told her it was a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10 and she shot me with some morphine. I also remember hearing someone else in the room moaning and asking questions. I can't remember what they asked but they sounded like they were hurting more than me.
And then I was awake in a hospital room. I have no recollection of how I got from recovery to the actual hospital room. I just remember opening my eyes and seeing lots of family shaped blurs at the end of my bed. My speech was really slow and I ended up using hand gestures to get my point across.
I, of course, had a case of the worst dry mouth ever imaginable and my upper lip felt a little weird. Evidently I had a little fun with intubation and received a slightly fat lip in the process. Too bad I wasn't awake for that, huh?
Anyway, most of the rest of that evening is a blur. I remember talking to people. I talked to Elisa on the phone but I can't for the life of me remember what the hell we talked about beyond the fact that I was uncomfortable. I do remember getting irritated at Mike and my mom talking about eating lunch. I wasn't feeling very spry at that time and even the thought of food was making me queasy so I had to tell everyone to stop talking about food. I, of course, ignored the clear liquids repast they brought for my lunch. Oh, and another thing. Don't bump the bed of a person who's just had surgery. She'll get cranky.
I ended up eating a few bites of orange jell-o from the dinner tray. I'm grateful I didn't eat much because not too long after dinner I started feeling nauseous for real. Puking was not something they wanted me to do and, truthfully, it wasn't something I wanted to do either. So I called the nurse and she informed me they could give me a suppository for nausea. "Not a pill?" I inquired hopefully. "No, Dr. Bell's orders," the nurse replied.
Oh well, she had the hard job. All I had to do was roll over and take it like a woman. That poor nurse had to actually insert the thing. It worked like a charm though and it also had the nice side-effect of knocking me out.
I woke up a little bit later. Mike was planning on staying the night with me so that I wouldn't have to buzz for a nurse every time I had to go to the bathroom. I walked okay but just wasn't up to walking *and* maneuvering the IV pole. I got another shot of morphine for pain and, once again, started to feel nauseous.
Unfortunately this time I ended up puking. Mike got the big plastic bucket to me in time though so we didn't have a big mess everywhere. I did get another suppository even though my nausea was pretty much gone after hurling. Out like a light for about an hour again. Woke up uncomfortable and experiencing some nasty muscle spasms along my right side. The incision is on the right side of my abdomen so you can imagine that wasn't feeling very good. I didn't really want to take more morphine for muscle spasms so the nurse brought some warm blankets and put them on my abdomen. That did the trick and I dozed some more.
You'd think hospital beds would be gloriously comfy. They're not. By late evening I was really sore. My ass and back were aching and I got another shot of morphine. Twenty minutes later, you guessed it--puke city. This time though I had to wake Mike up so he could bring the bucket and I kinda missed. The nurse had to change the linens and I spent the rest of the night refusing to take any more morphine because I had figured out that was what was making me puke. It wasn't any kind of leftover effects from the anesthesia. They couldn't give me anything else because I hadn't started eating food yet. Oh, suppository number three too. Fun!
So Mike slept and I spent the night dozing off and on to the light of the t.v. By the time morning rolled around I felt like someone had given me a good beating. I looked like shit too. Poor Mike didn't look much better. Breakfast came and I choked down about five spoonfuls of the chicken broth and ate some of the jell-o. I also drank a carton of apple juice. The nurse came in and asked if I needed anything for pain. I told her I sure did but I wasn't taking any more morphine. She brought me two packages of crackers and after I consumed those I received the miracle drug--percocet. Ahhhh, what relief. I felt loads better and was able to sleep. Best of all, no barfing.
Mike went off to the Medieval Fair with Duncan and Tracey spent the bulk of the day with me and was a witness to the wonders of percoset. Once I had dozed for a bit after that first dose I got out of bed and ended up sitting in a chair all day. I couldn't face the bed and sitting up, stoned on percocet and alternately chatting and sleeping was just what I needed. My brother even visited for awhile and I had a passably good Saturday.
I felt so good that Saturday I ate all of my chicken broth and jell-o for lunch. I was well on my way to real food for dinner. Hooray!
Tracey left mid afternoon and Mike's grandmother and mom sat with me for awhile. I should also mention that Mike's mom works on the same floor I was on and would pop in on her breaks so I saw her a lot while I was there. I have a great mother-in-law.
So I was alone for awhile. I think I probably had more percocet. Maybe not. It's all a percocet-laden blur. I got real food for dinner--mashed potatoes, turnip greens, sliced beef, a roll and two chocolate chip cookies. I didn't eat everything but it was good to have solid food again and I made a dent in it. I ate all of the roll anyway. The cookies I saved for later though.
I think I chatted on the phone with Elisa twice that day. Isn't that sad? I'm pretty sure I talked a lot but once again can't remember many details. Hey, at least I'm 'fessing up to that fact. I have the being drugged excuse for that anyway.
Mike and Duncan stopped by the hospital after the Medieval Fair around 9 pm. My poor mom had been with Cal all day. They had a good time at the Medieval Fair and were both a little red from the sun. Mike moreso than Duncan. I'm fair but can tan easily. Duncan is the same way. Mike, however...he turns red and then goes back to being fair. His skin does not like the sun one bit.
Tracey decided she wanted to stay the night with me on Saturday although I assured her I would be fine. They removed the IV once I was eating solid food so I didn't have to worry about pushing the IV pole on the way to the john and I wasn't puking any more so I felt confident that I'd be fine. But she really wanted to do it and I was too drugged to argue very much about it. She got there about 11 pm and we watched a little t.v. and eventually fell asleep by 1 am.
I actually slept well that night but sure didn't want to wake up the next morning. I ate most of the breakfast they brought--eggs, bacon and a waffle. Tracey was ready to head out for the day when my doctor stopped in again (he was the surgeon on call that weekend) and told me I could go home today if I wanted even though I hadn't had a bm yet. He said I looked really good and he was confident I would have one. He then told me to call his office on Monday to set up an appointment and was gone in a flash.
Tracey and I were both pretty shocked that he would let me go home but I did feel loads better and knew that I would rest more comfortably in my own bed. Checkout was damn quick. Much quicker than when you're checking out with a new baby and Tracey got me home before noon.
I proceeded to head straight to bed and slept for several hours. Mike took Duncan to a movie to get out of my hair and Mom and Cal came over not too long after they left to make me some jell-o and I think to keep an eye on me. All I really did was enjoy the peace and quiet and sleep.
There you go. My surgery fun. I'm sure I left some things out. Drugs will mess with your memory that way and I did spend the early part of this week taking percocet and napping. I feel pretty good now although I do notice that a mid-day nap really helps me feel better in the evening.
posted by Tamara - 12:27 PM -- Link to this entry
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