Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Detour

I should never write blog posts while under the influence, but oh well.

On Sunday morning, after a totally healthful breakfast, I ended up having some gall bladder pain. This has been going on for a little over a month now -- an attack about once a week, set off by absolutely nothing consistent. (Although eggs seem to be one of the culprits.)

The pain went from manageable to worse to really bad, so eventually I took some pain killers and decided to call my doctor first thing Monday morning to discuss options. Unfortunately, the pain continued overnight, so by 5 a.m. I was ready to go to the hospital.

I did. I took myself to the ER at 6 a.m., because I didn't want to wake Eve and wanted Ish to stay with her.

I don't have the strength or presence of mind to write about what a miserable experience it was, being in the ER by myself at 6 in the morning, but it was one of those times that unexpectedly shook me to my core. I felt sad and depressed and scared and defeated, like I had somehow let my family down.

Eventually I was visited by a surgeon. I told him I hadn't spoken to my primary care doctor about my gall bladder problems because they hadn't seemed like a medical emergency -- something I'd hoped I could remedy on my own. But after a nearly 24-hour long attack, I just wanted to have it out.

Of course, by that time (nearly 9 a.m.), my pain had subsided completely. They decided to schedule the operation for the next day. They gave me breakfast, I seemed okay, I went home.

The second I walked in the door, as if on cue, the pain came rushing back. I took some new pain killers and waited about an hour, but it still hurt like crazy. So we called the surgeon -- he had told us to -- and got surgery scheduled for later that day.

We were lucky enough to have a babysitter scheduled for that afternoon, so Ish was able to come with me. And at 3:30, we were back at the hospital waiting for my operation.

I went into the OR around 7 p.m. I was done about an hour later. I was sent home about an hour after that. Happy to go sleep in my own bed, but I was so drugged out and pained that I was awfully surprised they let me go.

The first night and morning were awful. The pain from the surgery itself didn't seem too bad at all. It was the pressure from the how the procedure works. I don't really understand it, but I know they blow air into you. And so all night and morning it felt like I was going to explode -- I took all kinds of drugs trying to ease the pain and nothing helped enough. But then, just like that, something shifted and the immense pressure went away.

I spent the rest of the morning and afternoon dozing and tweeting nonsense from my phone. I'd occasionally eat a cracker.

I tried to send a work email but I'm pretty sure I sent an email to an entire six-person distribution list that said only, "Hi."

I let myself wean off the pain meds in the latter part of the afternoon. I had toast and soup for dinner.  I fell asleep only lightly medicated by 10 p.m. and slept well.

This morning I woke up and hurt, but -- if this makes any sense -- it was a good hurt. I can feel pain from where the procedure took place, and it's ouchy. But it's NOTHING like the pain from the air pressure I had, and it's nothing like the pain from the gall bladder itself. It's manageable. I took half a dose of pain killers and decided to try to write this post.

Sitting up doesn't feel so great, and I'm sure this post has rambled and been awfully boring, but at least I'm documenting what's been going on here in the last few days, right? (Just humor me.)

Also you should know that the "air" is finding its way out of me in all sorts of ways that make Ish laugh. So there's that, too.

In other news, I have a fantastic giveaway I'll be doing as soon as I can officially think straight (let's hope tomorrow) and this cool new ask/answer conversation thingy (below) in the meantime.

And we'll be back to our regularly scheduled program? life? blogging? by this weekend. We hope.

Stay tuned!

26 comments:

  1. ugh, I've never had issues with my gall bladder (thanksfully!) but I had a trip to the ER a few months ago for kidney stones and it is a horrible experience. My trainer took me but I insisted she leave once I had enough morphine that I was just drifting in and out of sleep but it is terrible to be alone in the ER. I hope you are fully recovered soon.

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  2. Glad to hear you are on the mend. I've also done the ER by yourself gig and it is oddly depressing regardless of the circumstances.

    I had a similar procedure for my endometriosis about 3 months after my best friend had her gall bladder out. I looked at her once I got home and said, "I finally understand that gas pain you talked about." By far, the worst part about it and so hard to explain!

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  3. I had my gallbladder out while I was living in Alaska. It was an emergency and the surgeon promised me he would try to keep the operation laproscopic - he worked for 2-3 extra hours - it was such a mess in there. I also had really intense shoulder pain from the air/gas as it moved out of my body. And just like your experience, suddenly, it was just gone. I hope you're back on your feet soon! Did the doc save your stones? I jokingly asked mine to keep them and sure enough he walked in with a jar the next day. They were huge.. no wonder it hurt so much.

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  4. My gallbladder always calms down just in time for the dr to tell me I'm fine-stupid organ. The pain from the air I've had twice from both of my c-sections. The best remedyi found was to make sure you're up and moving around a little every 30 minutes. Feel better soon!

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  5. Had gallbladder issues the last trimester of my pregnancy, but we didn't know what it was until I ended up in the ER after the worst attack ever--my baby was about 2 weeks old.

    Had the gallbladder removed a week later. I had issues for DAYS with the air--had to sleep propped up on pillows, it was unbearable lying down. Had to lay the baby on the dining room table and stand crouched over him to nurse since my whole abdomen was sore for about 4 days. Yikes, I will never forget it.

    It sounds like you had a much better experience and I am really glad the whole thing is behind you!

    -danish

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  6. It will get better. It will. I had mine out a few years ago.

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  7. Gallbladder stories... Love them. Had mine out in college. Didn't take my own pain seriously enough until, when at the ER, they whipped out a syringe of Demerol that looked like a horse tranquilizer and informed me to kindly "roll over." And down the rabbit hole went I, my first and only experience being even close to getting high, still feeling the pain but then also just a little but funky.

    Post-surgery recovery time (overnight stay) was spent in what HAD to be a geriatric ward, and with the pain of the bloating was awake all night to hear other patients hawking up gobs and gobs of something akin to phlegm - my kryptonite, the only thing that makes me gag - only to find that the first meal they served me was cheese soup, oddly similar in color and consistency of phlegm, and just as gag-worthy. Once home, the anesthesia made me nauseous, so for EXTRA fun I got to hurl all of that cheese soup in me for what seemed like hours. Awesome.

    Pisser of it was, they didn't let me see my gallbladder OR keep the stones! That was the only thing that really upset me! Hope you're on the mend soon.

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  8. I hope you're feeling perfect real soon.

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  9. Just had mine out 2 wks ago. Tons of little stones they say. I had a scheduled surgery - so I was spared the trip to the ER.

    2 things:

    Hate to say it but my stomach is still bloated. Surgeon said it could take another 2 wks for it to go away completely.

    The nurse in the recovery room gave me a folded hospital blanket taped together so it was almost hard if that makes any sense. He called it a 'coughing pillow'. Lifesaver - that thing. I sat with it on my stomach during the day and used it to almost lean on as I got up. At night I would start off with it on my stomach as well.

    The best news I have for you is about 10 days later I felt better than I have in over a year. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

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  10. I also feel your pain with gall bladder issues, and also with an early morning ER trip with baby at home. Hope you recover from the surgery soon, and I'm so glad the gall bladder attacks will be over for you, and you can get back to your life.

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  11. I had a laprascopic tubal ligation and I was not at all prepared for the pressure/pain recovery. I totally hear you. Mine was mainly in my shoulders (gravity, I guess.) Incision-wise I probably could have gone back to work the next day. But it was the air that kept me housebound for about 5. Unfortunately, I don't think it left me in any humorous ways. It just had to dissapate.

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  12. Oh my goodness that sounds painful! Feel better soon!

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  13. My sympathies! Sounds exactly like the pain I had after my ectopic. Poof! All of a sudden that gas pain goes and the resulting surgical site pain almost feels good. Strange isn't it?

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  14. xoxoxoxoxox! It's funny how a bit of air can make you feel so bad. There should be a way for them to deflate you while you're under, ya know?

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  15. Oh goodness. Glad that you're on the mend and don't need to deal with future gall bladder issues. My girlfriend had hers out too, and she is doing much, much better.

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  16. I'd follow you down any detour. But I might stand back a few feet as you deflate. XOXOPFFFT.

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  17. It was eggs/protein for me too (was on a high protein/low carb diet at the time of my attacks - but it was especially eggs that set it off). Glad to hear that you have had it removed and will be able to get on with life as "normal" - well, as normal as it can get with Ish and a little one who is going to be running about soon :D

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  18. I went to Weight Watchers the night before I had mine out and allllll the chunky old ladies there had long and rambling gall bladder story to tell but the one that stuck out and that was TRUE TRUE TRUE was simple: "You'll feel better in a day or two but you won't feel like yourself for ten days."

    I didn't believe her because I am YOUNG! And she was OLD! I'm not taking TEN STINKING DAYS to get over this! My doctor said THREE OR FOUR!

    But daaaaamn, if she wan't dead on balls accurate. I felt pretty okay for days 2-9 but I remember dropping my keys on the floor of my car somewhere around day 7 and getting sad and pathetic over how uncomfortable it was going to be to bend over to get them. But then for reals, on day 10 I didn't feel tight and full of air anymore and I was back to my old self.

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  19. feel better!

    started reading your blogg and l am really enjoying it!

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  20. Man oh man if that air isn't the worst thing ever! Rocked back and forth on the floor like a baby because my Mom said it was going to make me feel better. Didn't. Boo!

    I'm so sorry you are going through this!

    And we are here and we are family. Call us if you need company in the ER, OR, or any other R!!

    Lots of love and good healthy thoughts for you...

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  21. Came here from link on Promtacular. I absolutely can not leave comments there (it freezes up and never goes through) but I did want to make sure I got this one to work.

    Yikes! Sorry to hear you've been unwell (in a rather major way). Hope you're well recovered soon; glad to hear from this post that you're already some better.

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  22. oh my...take care and feel better!

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  23. Had my gallbladder out a year ago, it took me 2 years of dealing with the pain and vomiting after I eat to finally get figured out what was going on! It was working at less than 3%, worthless organ don't really need it but when it isn't doing it's job, it totally messes you up! It took me almost 3weeks to be back to normal, still have issues with high fat foods so watch out for that. Remember to cut yourself some slack and give your body the rest it needs to heal!

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  24. Glad you got it out- better out than gory.

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  25. Having suffered from similar attacks I feel your pain. Mine ended with a 5 day stay in the hospital because it ended up infecting my liver and pancreas. I didn't know what the cause of all of it was until I made my visit to the ER because much like you it didn't happen all the time. Anyway long story short, I have been able to manage my attacks by being careful what I eat. I live in a remote area with only I local surgeon and he somehow has managed to fail to schedule my surgery to this day so I don't have much choice. Glad that you are better, wouldn't wish that pain on anyone.

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  26. When I was scheduled to have my gall bladder out, people kept saying, "it will change your life!" I would roll my eyes and think, I'm sure losing a minor organ will completely and radically change my life. I will come out of sedation as a Mennonite.

    It changed my life and I don't even have to wear long dresses and weird, wingy hair. The complete absence of pain is fantastic. Here's to an easy recovery!

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