Every time I question if maybe I’ve died, I focus in on the intense pain I’m feeling, and then I remember, hey…you’ve gotta be alive to feel pain.
So, it’s settled then. I’m definitely alive.
The last 96 hours life has delivered some valuable lessons. I generally prefer that my life lessons not take the form of a giant shit sandwich, but hey, we don’t always have a choice in the matter, now do we?
For those of you I haven’t updated via email, text or phone, the deed is done.
All it took was the worst gallbladder attack, to date, Monday night, finally requiring my admittance to hospital Tuesday afternoon, but it’s done.
Gallbladder has left the building.
In case you ever find yourself stuck in the red-tape hell of needing a surgery that feels like an emergency to you, but is clearly not seen as an emergency to the powers that be, here are the Top 10 Worst Things About Having My Gallbladder Removed:
10. The pain. Oh sweet mother of cheese, THE PAIN. Pain that makes me look back at birthing two giant babies without epidural, or any other pain medication, and think, “yeah, that wasn’t so bad after all”.
9. The ER. In total, five visits to the emergency room in nineteen days. I spent a total of 31 hours in that horrific, dehumanizing, and utterly depressing area of the hospital. It’s my goal to never go back to THAT PLACE again.
8. The roommate. I know I was very fortunate to finally have someone show enough mercy to actually admit me to the hospital on Tuesday afternoon, after spending 12 hours in the ER, but when they wheeled me up to a shared room with Bonnie, a very talkative lady in her 60s, I almost asked them to take me back down to the ER. Bonnie’s phone sounded off loudly each time a text arrived. It was also set to clickety, clack with each character she typed. Bonnie took several phone calls between Tuesday at 3:00 pm and Wednesday morning. I dreamed of smashing Bonnie’s phone into a million tiny pieces.
7. The Carbon Dioxide. Why didn’t anyone tell me that they would pump my abdomen full of CO2 during the surgery? It might have lessened the shock of seeing a swollen and distended belly when I lifted my t-shirt to observe my wounds. Holy shit, thought I, not only am I scarred all over, but I’m suddenly really fat. What in the actual fuck?
6. The unexplained shoulder pain. Apparently the Carbon Dioxide they blew my belly up with travels up and up until it finally settles in its final resting place, the right shoulder. It would have been super helpful to know this BEFORE I panicked that I was suddenly damaged in other parts of my body. Thanks to the power of the Interwebs, I was able to find medical documentation that explained exactly why my right shoulder ached so much Wednesday. It’s that damned CO2.
5. The constipation. Morphine has been my BFF. Every day I thank the powers that be for my morphine. But that beautiful drug has had a decidedly less-than-beautiful impact on my bowel’s ability to shake their groove thing. Invest in some stool softeners, friends.
4. The gas. I suppose all that CO2 has to get out somehow. Jeezus Murphy. I sound like a truck driver. Or frat boy. Or whoever else is known for farting. Whereas mine were formerly of the silent-but-deadly variety, they are now loud (but sometimes still deadly). I’ve been told to let it rip because I need to keep moving that gas on out.
3. The sore throat. I seriously thought I was coming down with Strep Throat the day after surgery. It would have been so helpful if some member of my medical team had advised me that a sore throat is a common outcome from general anesthetic. Once again, Dr. Google for the win.
2. The scars. I know that the laparascopic procedure is so much less invasive than the open surgery of old, but still, I have FOUR scars across my abdomen. I’m too much of a baby to check them out yet. I’ve left the outer dressings on for now, and refuse to look at the actual incisions. I’m told they’re very small. But still… FOUR? Seriously?
And the #1 worst thing about having my gallbladder removed…
1. The perfectly timed visit from Auntie Flo. Yep, because the universe decided it hadn’t fucked with me quite enough yet, my period arrived at 9:45 pm, half hour before I was wheeled into surgery. Because you haven’t lived until you’ve had to wear hospital-issued mesh underpants and industrial strength sanitary pads.
Enough about the negatives.
What was the best thing about this awful, horrible, terrible experience?
The kind and generous outpouring of love and caring from friends and family. I’ve probably sent and received more text messages in the last 3 weeks than I had in the previous 3 months. I also want to make special mention of the many blogging friends – most of whom I’ve never met in person – who took the time to check in on me via email. I am so grateful for your kind thoughts. It made me feel very special to know so many of you cared about my health and well-being. I’m humbled.
With a full heart,