Sunday, August 28, 2011

Well, at least I won't have to do that again

It all started with me saying to myself "Gor, my back hurts."  during class on Wednesday.  I thought it was aches from sitting on a folding chair for three days.  Then my tummy got upset, which I chalked up to the room being hot and the fact that my uniform is made of polyester.

But, I did very well in class that day, getting myself some bonus points on an oral pop quiz and getting several right answers.

When class was finally over I got out of my uniform jacket and started on home.  As I was driving I got a horrid pain up under my ribs that had me bent as close to double as I could get behind the wheel.  Once I was home I laid in bed, hurting and crying.  I threw up a few times, didn't feel any better.  I felt worse.

I was able to cripple myself up to school to pick up the kids and told them I needed them to entertain themselves since I didn't feel good.  And I have to say, I could not have asked them to be any better.  They got themselves snacks, took care of each other, came and checked on me and I was able to talk Zoe through making dinner for herself and her brother.

Meanwhile, I was texting with Scott, telling him what was happening.  Of course, it was a day he'd gotten a ride to work, thinking I'd come pick him up.  That wasn't going to be happening.  I was going to be either lying in bed or lying on the floor.

After I'd been doing this for five hours I decided I needed to go to urgent care.  My excellent friend Chris agreed to come over and watch my kids.  She ended up staying until one in the morning.

Urgent Care saw me quickly, just to say that I needed to go to the emergency room, it was probably my gallbladder.  What?  I've never had any of issues with my gallbladder or any of my internal organs for that matter.  I'm really healthy!  My family has a history of being healthy.  As I put it, they go and go and go and go and go aaaaaaaaand drop dead.  What the hell do you mean my GALLBLADDER?

I went home, told Chris what was going on and waited for Scott to get home, which happened about 15 minutes later.  He loaded me up in the car and took me to the hospital.

On the way I was doubled over.  This was worse than labor.  Labor felt......labor felt right, like it was part of the process.  This felt very, very wrong.  Something had gone wrong with my body and I was pissed about it.

First fucking week of school. Scott's motorcycle back in the shop with the bubbas who couldn't figure out how to use the goddamn telephone to tell us what was going on with it.  I'd called them the week before after waiting four days for them to say they'd even looked at to tell them if they didn't call me the next day to tell us if they were going to check it out or not I was going to take it somewhere else.  I was supposed to babysit for Chris and Sam the next day.  I'd planned to spend Friday cleaning and doing laundry since the place was filthy.  I had shit to do!  This was not, I say not, okay.

We got into the ER, I got checked in and told that they'd be happy to see me but there was a long wait.  Huh?  It was Wednesday!  Emergency rooms are busy on Friday and Saturday nights.  While we waited for a very, very long time I laid down on a padded bench and put my head on Scott's leg.  I was freezing cold and got a blanket from the triage nurse.  I covered up and dealt with the pain as best I could.  This involved closing my eyes tight and taking deep breaths.

Finally, finally I was taken back to be looked at.  I waited a while more, got checked out by an RN, then a doctor who prescribed me some Dilaudid.  I got an IV with a bag of fluids and the painkiller was put through my IV.

When it kicked in I said "Whooooaaaaaa".  I still had an ache, but I wasn't doubled over anymore, crying and wondering what was going on .  So, in my Dilaudid haze I was taken to get an ultrasound of my upper abdomen.  The ultrasound room is the same one they use for expectant moms so there are all these cheerful posters of smiling pregnant women holding their swollen bellies.  That was a little surreal, to be looking at those while the technician did her best to not hurt me while she checked out my insides.

I went back to my curtained cubicle where I zoned out some more before I was informed that it was indeed my gallbladder, admitted I was going to be!  I got to have surgery!  Wheeeeeee!

The really great male RN who had been taking care of me let me know that they wanted to get me upstairs because the riff-raff was going to be coming in.  I heard a man was going to be arriving who was suffering from chest pain after being tased.  The nurses were putting in dibs on who got to be assigned to him.

Upstairs I was transferred!  More painkiller I got!  To sleep I went! Then I waited for the surgeon to come talk to me in the morning.  A very nice man who explained to me that the best plan of action would be to take my rebellious organ out.  When I was in labor with Will and talking with the OB about whether to try for a VBAC or have a c-section, he said the question we didn't ask was "If you were my wife what would I recommend?".  I've used this as a guide since then.

I asked the surgeon if I was his life partner, what would he tell me to do?  Take it out.  Take it out we would!  The surgery suites were all booked, I'd get it done on Friday.  I spent another night in the hospital being fed by IV and getting a whole bunch of fluids along with a pre-surgery course of antibiotics and potassium.  Did you know potassium burns when it goes through an IV into your arm.  I woke up freaking out, crying because it hurt.  The nurse who was taking care of me understood, slowed down that drip and gave me some more Dilaudid.  This allowed me to go back to sleep.

Friday morning Scott came to hang out with me and I begged to take a shower.  I was gross.  I'd been sweating.  I smelled.  My hair was matted.  I hate being that dirty and smelly.  The tech helping me got my IV disconnected and covered up the little catheter going into my vein with part of a rubber glove.  This meant I couldn't bend my right arm, so Scott washed my hair for me.

Turned out my timing was good because someone had come to fetch me for my surgery while I was cleaning up.  After my gallbladder was taking out I wouldn't be able to shower for two days.  I got out, dried off and found that my bed had been changed and I had a clean gown to put on.

A few minutes later I was whisked away to be shuttled downstairs.  As soon as I was out of my room and heading downstairs I started to cry.  I covered my face up with the blanket and cried.  I cried in the room where I was waiting.  I cried while I was wheeled down to the OR.  I cried while they put my little cap on and moved me onto what was possibly the narrowest medical table on the face of the planet.  Then they pushed a painkiller that kicked in right NOW and I don't remember anything, just being back in my room with Scott and my mom's friend Jean who lives in the area.

My mom was on a plane to come help me with recovery.  I was drugged up and had adhesive bandages on four spots where the laparoscopic equipment had been inserted into my abdominal cavity.  My mom arrived very soon after that to take over watching me and Scott went to get the kids from school.

Now I'm going to sound like everyone's Uncle Harold talking about his operation.  The gallbladder stores bile, created in the liver, and pumps it into the stomach as part of the digestive process.  Bile is still fed into the small intestine by the liver, so removing the gallbladder doesn't impede digestion.  It's about the size of your thumb, with a very narrow neck leading to the stomach. It's only a few centimeters wide.   I had a stone in my gallbladder half in inch wide that was trying to force itself out.  Since I had such a blockage, I couldn't keep anything down.  No wonder I was hurting.  Jeez.

No, I didn't get to keep the stone but I do have photos.  I was discharged later on Friday night with a very tender upper abdomen and very, very tired.  Once I arrived at home around 9:30 I burst into tears and was put to bed.

Saturday morning, I felt better.  And, as my mom says, the Graminator took over. She has ruthlessly cleaned out Zoe's room, forced the kids to make choices about toys to keep and toys to toss, went to the grocery store, did dishes and swept up dog hair.  

I have been able to study for exam on Monday and I seem to be quite well prepared.  I've been eating lightly, drinking a lot of water and treating my discomfort with ibuprofen.  Mostly, I'm tender.  But I'm better today than I was yesterday and I imagine I'll be better tomorrow than I am today.

Recovery is supposed to be 2-3 weeks of taking it easy, no heavy lifting, not going to the gym or things like that.  I'm hoping I'll be close to back to normal in a week to ten days.  Until then, it's the recliner and naps for me.

How was your week?

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  When you are feeling poorly, being clean can make you feel better.


Anonymous said...

We've been thinking of you since seeing stuff on FB. *hugs*

Beckett Gladney said...

So glad you're doing better! And it's amazing how getting clean when you're stuck in the hospital can help your outlook on life. Clean hair is a godsend in such times...

Just keep taking it easy, hon.
*massive hugs*