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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Gallbladder

Thursday, June 07, 2012

CAUTION: Weak stomachs should skip this one. Photo at the bottom contains "graphic" material.

Today marks one week since my surgery. It hasn't been nearly as hellish as I was expecting, which as you can imagine is a huge relief. I'm not saying its been all that easy, either. Without my mom here, I'd have starved to death and probably had infected wounds from never taking the dressings off. Possibly still have not showered, either. Her help has been invaluable.

The day before my surgery, my friend came over and gave my hair a trim. He went just a little bit shorter than it was the last time I had it done (by my request). This turned out to be a fabulous decision because I was unable to wash my hair for 4 solid days. GROSS.

The night before I couldn't sleep, but I expected that. I was very anxious. I always get anxious when I have to wake up really early in the morning in general because I'm always afraid of oversleeping or not being woken by my alarm. As much as I try to relax and calm myself, it always happens. This time, that anxiety was mixed with my anxiety regarding surgery. My alarm went off at 4:45am, but I was already awake and planning my morning. I showered with my "special" soap- I'm guessing some sort of anti-microbial something or other. Threw on my "surgery pajamas" that I also wore when I got my wisdom teeth removed, and packed a little bag for my mom to keep in the car. We arrived at the hospital and I got checked in at 6am.

I changed into my hospital johnny, robe, anti-skid socks, and mesh underwear. They drew my blood and took my vitals. Then, I waited in the pre-surg room with my mom. We walked down to get me prepped. I got to lay down on a bed that had a big inflatable "blanket" on it. It looked like one of those blow-up loungers for a swimming pool, but it pumped warm air through it. Kept me pretty toasty while they prepped me. Since I couldn't eat or drink anything after midnight, I was pretty dehydrated and the nurse was having difficulty starting an IV in me. My shriveled-up veins wouldn't yield up any juice! It finally took my anesthesiologist to jab the top of my hand (the 4th location tried) to get it in there. Finally, they wheeled me to the OR, which looked very space age and intimidating. The last thing I remember is my buddy the anesthesiologist putting on oxygen mask on me. "Here's some oxygen for you." And I said, "Hey, thanks!"

Next thing I know, I'm waking up in recovery. I remember a nurse saying something to me, but for the life of me, I don't know what it was. I also was totally unable to see anything. My eyes were so blurry. Apparently they had put some sort of lubricant in them to keep them from drying out, but it was gooey, not liquidy. She handed me a tissue so I could wipe my eyes and I just started blinking non-stop to try to clear my eyes. Soon after they called my mom in and wheeled me to my room. My eyes were still so blurry I have no idea what my attending nurse looked like. My mom said the first thing I told her was that I couldn't see anything.

I got to my room, a shared one unfortunately, and just rested for a bit. I didn't feel any pain or nausea or anything, so that was good. I actually felt pretty good, as I recall. My friend Kaleena came by with a gift, but I was so out of it, I couldn't really muster up enough energy to talk to her much. Then the head nurse found out my mom was from out of town and if you're in a shared room, they don't let family stay with the patients overnight. So, they worked on getting me a private room, which was secured pretty quickly. They wanted me to walk there, though, but they had just given me a dose of dilaudid (synthetic morphine) and a lot of it, so literally 2 minutes before they were going to move me, I threw up. They got a wheelchair (I think, its a little fuzzy) and wheeled me to my new room. Private bathroom, lounge-chair for my mom, and a window. I was indeed blessed.

Later that day my other BFF and roommate showed up to visit and see how I was. That whole day I only felt tired and nauseated. I ended up throwing up again for my next round of dilaudid while she was there, but she took care of me. Emptied my spew container and washed me off, so my mom could take a restroom break/food run. I stayed on clear liquids that day, but was drinking water with ease. Peeing was awkward because my abs were pretty much numb and weird. I slept really bad, mostly because I kept being woken up every few hours for the nurses to take my vitals and draw blood and administer pain meds. My mom didn't sleep much either and the chair actually bruised the beejezus out of her arm.

The next day I had jello for breakfast, but ate half a turkey sandwich and some cucumbers and fruit for lunch. No problems! I was so surprised to be eating solid foods. I was discharged later that day and went home with my further care instructions. I was finally able to shower for the first time since Thursday morning on Sunday evening. My mom removed my dressings slowly and carefully (and very patiently). Just before I was wheeled into the OR, my surgeon said they'd be gluing me shut. We were surprised to learn I was actually stapled. I do not do well with "medical stuff". I hate hospitals (all my friends know to NOT call me if they have to go to the ER) and things like vomit, saliva, stitches, open wounds, staples, etc. make me queasy. My own stapled stomach makes me light-headed and ill to look at. I think I could have handled being glued a lot better than being stapled.

My mom got me a stuffed animal- a fat cat that looks like one of my cats from the past. I call him Tubby Tabby. I've spent a lot of time on my computer, watching things on Netflix, researching nutrition stuff, compiling healthy recipes for people, and looking up grad school things. I'm eating almost normally now, with a regular appetite. I'm on vicodin which is keeping pain at bay very well, but it miraculously not making me sick. I think it's a pretty low dose or a dose that works great for me. Staying hydrated and as positive as possible. I have my post-surgery appointment on Monday and hopefully will be getting my staples removed then. I hope so because my wounds are ITCHING LIKE CRAZY! I have to remember not to scratch 'cause that would obviously be really bad.

So far no pain from eating food, but my stomach is sour so I've been downing Tums between meals. I'm guessing that has to do with the vicodin, actually. I've always had a sensitivity to NSAIDS, so why wouldn't this be much different? I can't wait to be up and back to my normal routine, or at least exercising on the regular. I'll keep you all updated.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • LUCYLU22
    I am so glad that things are going well for you since surgery! I hope you will continue to heal, and feel better very soon. How did the follow up appointment go?? I am so glad that your mom was able to be there to help you out!!
    3227 days ago
  • RSTM99
    So glad it went well and this part is over for you - recovery is important, so no short cuts emoticon ...take care!
    3233 days ago
    Glad to read it hasn't been as bad as you'd expected. I bet you are right about the sour stomach, too - any sort of pain medication messes with me like that, too. Compiling healthy recipes and healing sounds like a pretty good combination :) Hooray for a normal appetite, too!
    3234 days ago
    Ahhhh glad to hear you are back in the land of living. I'm supposed to be in bed now, I have stuff to tell ya later!! Your holes looks exactly like my Mom's gb surgery. Can't remember if she was glued or stapled!? Funny! But I was stapled for the c-section birth of my son. Evidently they left one of the mop-up sponges inside my cavity and never heard back from the X-ray tech who doctor had ordered, and so doc just ripped the stitches off, went back inside and found the sponge, and stapled me again. Apparently it comes on tape, like a nail gun or machine gun, so easy enough to remove a bunch. They itched horridly. If I knew then what I knew now, I would have kept the wound hydrated with pure coconut oil!! It's great for tummy skin!

    So I'll get some sleep and talk again later!


    3236 days ago
  • ABB698
    Glad your Mom is there to help and that you are itching, because that means you are healing! They did use glue on my last ab surgery, tiny incisions, but I did have 16 staples after mini-me's birth...I'm like you, seeing it makes me wanna puke....Hope you are done with surgery for good and feeling 100% soon!
    3236 days ago
  • CATS_MEOW_0911

    Thanks for the update.
    3236 days ago
    Glad that you are starting to feel better! Hope it continues and you are back to normal in no time. emoticon
    3236 days ago
    Thanks for the update! I'm glad things are progressing along nicely. Sounds like your mom has been a great help! I hope you're back to tiptop shape soon!
    3236 days ago
    Glad you got that over with and are on the mend. Take care.
    3237 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6307291
    Glad things are returning to "fairly" normal- appetite and all that. Pain meds can do funny things to your belly- and the vomiting is not fun, either. Hope the staples come out soon and you can gently scratch the itch! emoticon
    3237 days ago
    3237 days ago
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