Friday, May 18, 2012

The Gallbladder is Gone!

Towards the end of my pregnancy with Lola, I started to have these strange episodes where my stomach would hurt really bad and pressure would build up to my shoulders. It was impossible to get comfortable and eventually I would make myself throw up and the pain would go away. It's not hard to make myself throw up. My gag reflex has a hairline trigger, so I just have to lean over the toilet and BAM!
I thought I had figured it out. Every time it happened was when I had ate or drank something red. ( I can't conjugate those verbs together in this sentence... Is that right? ate or drank? eaten or drinken? eated or drinked? Help me out!) So I diagnosed myself with an allergy to red food dye. I started to avoid red food.  I had about four episodes, Lola was born, I didn't eat anything red but one red vine in all of 2011 and I didn't have anymore problems.
I got pregnant in January 2012 and in February I had two episodes, a few in March and on the first Monday in April I had an episode and I clued in and said to myself, "This has nothing to do with red food dye or your pregnancy." And it always hit me between three and four hours after eating. Later that day I had diagnosed myself with a gallbladder problem. I started asking around to family members who had had their gallbladders removed. Every story was different but had similarities. I decided that the next time it happened I would go to the doctor.
I lost the baby, delivered on April 20th, had an episode on the 21st, threw up, it stopped. Had another episode on the 22nd, threw up, it did not stop. This was the first time puking didn't solve the problem. This was also the first time it had happened two days in a row.  We called my mom, who came over to stay with the kids, who were asleep because it was like midnight. Then we went to the Emergency Room. I gave the ER doctor the history of this strange pain, but I didn't tell him I had already diagnosed myself. I have gone in to my doctor and told them I am having a heart attack, have Lyme disease, a broken foot, strep throat, and many others and I'm usually wrong. I was sick of being the idiot self diagnosis lady, so I kept my thoughts of gallbladder problems to myself. The first thing he said was that he thought it was my gallbladder. Some blood was drawn and the labs came back with nothing indicating a gallbladder problem. The doctor said he was more inclined to believe my history than the labs so he sent us home with an order for an ultrasound for my gallbladder. I got the ultrasound done a few days later and sure enough I had gallstones.
I consulted with my doctor who sent me to consult with a surgeon. Meanwhile I had five more attacks. We all agreed that it should come out. I scheduled it for June 1st, the day after school got out. I've been watching my niece everyday and she wouldn't be coming once school got out. Also, if I wasn't going to be able to lift Lola I would have Sam with me once school was out to do the lifting I needed. Then I had five really bad days where I was attacked three or four times and on the last one Matt said, "What are you waiting for? Just get it out."  I told him I was waiting for it to be convenient. He said, "DOES THIS FEEL CONVENIENT TO YOU?"
So, I called the next day which was Wednesday and scheduled it for Thursday, which was yesterday. Matt took Thursday and today off to take care of me. Lola went to Grandma Johnson's for the day and Sam went to school and our cousin Jessie was nice enough to pick up Kelsey when she got out of school. I went to same day surgery at 7am, surgery at 8, and they kicked me out around 12:45. I was having a really hard time coming out of the anesthesia. I couldn't wake up, I was so tired. The nurse kept waking me up and asking if I wanted pain meds. I would say yes and then she would shove a little cup towards me with a pill in it and I couldn't do anything with it because I was asleep. Then she would bump my mouth with a straw. Again, asleep.  Then she would go away. Then she would come back and try again. I could not wake up. I still had an IV, so I couldn't understand why she didn't just put the meds in through the IV. Then she got me up to go to the bathroom and saw her chance. While I was sitting on the toilet she got my  bag of clothes and asked if I wanted my husband to help me get dressed. I just looked at her, because I was still asleep. The whole time she was being really nice and I was being kind of difficult but I really didn't feel awake. But I got dressed and she lured me into the wheel chair and pushed me out to the car. I did not feel ready to go home.
When we got home, Matt told me that the doctor said I had to sit up all day. I wasn't allowed to lay down until bed time. What? Aren't you supposed to lay down for a few days after surgery? When I asked Matt why he said, "I don't know, I didn't ask." This bugged me all day. Why didn't he ask? I think Lortab makes me bitter. Bitter at Matt and bitter at the nurse. And sad, because we were watching King of Queens (which is supposed to be funny) and I got really sad about the wife working at her husbands work and he didn't want her there. It was sad. Then we watched a scene of the Kardashians and that made me sad. Then we watched The Vow and that was just plain sad. And I was sad because I wanted smores, but we didn't have the ingredients.
Then at last, bed time. And after wanting to lay down all day, it hurt so bad to lay down. Then I remembered some advice a friend who had her gallbladder out gave me a few days before. She said to lay on a pillow where my gallbladder had been. IT TOTALLY WORKED! I slept  great and I used the pillow on both sides and just moved it every time I rolled.
This morning I woke up feeling great and got more and more tired as the day wore on and I realized it's the lortab that was making me so tired. I'm thinking about just taking Advil tomorrow.
Anyway, I'm so glad it's out and I'm glad I didn't wait. I can't feel the incisions, there are four. And when I stand up, sit down or lay down  and sit up it feels like I did 100 crunches. When a laparoscope is used in surgery they put air in the abdomen to kind of lift the skin so they have more room and can see better. So far this air moving around waiting to be absorbed has caused the most discomfort. It was also the part I was dreading  the most, but it hasn't really been too bad.


Becky said...

I'm so glad it's over with and you are feeling better. Praying for a quick and easy and painless recovery. Love you.

Kathy said...

Ditto to what Becky said. Not being able to email your mom I have been wondering how things went. Thanks for posting.

Love you.

Shauna Klippel said...

Julie! I've missed your posts. So sorry, need to get on top of things here. :) I'm glad you were able to remedy this problem, I know so many people that have had this and it seems surgery is the best bet usually. Hope you are feeling better with just Advil... :)

Take care, and thinking about you,


PS. I left a comment on your post about delivering.

Heather said...

Glad you are feeling better at least, Julie! Best wishes for a quick recovery!

Heather said...

Glad you are feeling better at least, Julie! Best wishes for a quick recovery!