Friday, September 23, 2016

Life Update - Gall Bladder Removal

You may have noticed, I took down my last post about My Fitness Plan. The reason behind that is because I currently am not in a state of health where exercising is a good idea...

This is going to be a long and pretty chatty post, so if you like these than stick around!

On Monday, the 19th, I went into the emergency room at 1:00am. I had called my mom because I was having extreme abdominal pain, and she called a taxi that drove me to the emergency room. When I got there, the man at the front desk was very slow in asking me questions like "what's your name" "what's your permanent residence" "do you have any emergency contacts you want us to call" "who is your insurance provider" while I was leaning on the counter in quite a bit of pain. A nurse came around the corner, saw me, and had me into a room and on a bed faster than I could keep up with.

After asking me a few questions, and wheeling me down the hall for a very heavy-handed ultrasound, they determined that it was my gall bladder. I kept my mom as up to date as I could about what was going on, but as soon as I said it was my gall bladder, she loaded up in the car and drove the 8 hours to get here - so for part of this story I was unable to talk to my mom because she was driving to get to me.

The nurse gave me some morphine, but it hardly touched the level of pain I was feeling. When she came back in and asked if I was feeling better, she was very surprised when I said no. I was given more morphine, which also did very little to help with the pain. Eventually, they tried another type of pain medication with little to no avail as well. I went from a 9 in pain to about a 7 after all of the pain medications that they gave me.

Originally, they planned on calling a surgeon to see when I would be able to get my gall bladder removed later that Monday or on Tuesday. However, after the pain went down to a 7 I was beyond tired and I started to fall asleep. Every time I would start to dose off, the machine monitoring (I think) my oxygen levels would start to beep and a nurse would come in to remind me to breath. They decided to admit me into the actual hospital to monitor my breathing as well as managing my pain levels.

Around 6:30am Monday Morning, I was finally taken to a hospital room where I was able to get some actual sleep for 3 or 4 hours. For the duration of the time I was in the hospital I was hooked to an IV, and every time I needed to use the bathroom I had to call for a nurse to help me walk there, so every time I needed to go it took some time before I could get back to sleep. I was also woken up almost every hour so that my vitals could be checked and written down. Several people from my church happen to work at the hospital, and they were very helpful in answering my questions and making sure that I was as comfortable as I could be.

When noon rolled around, my mom was here and sitting by me in my hospital room when I woke up.  I was really relieved that she was there, even though I am a legal adult. It's always nice to have an adultier adult in times of need.

Rather than tell you about all my trips to the bathroom with nurses, I'll cut to the chase and say that I finally got my gall bladder out at 5:30pm because that was the soonest the surgeon had an opening. My mom waited for me, and got the photos and everything from my surgeon while I was in recovery still waking up.

Waking up was really terrifying for me, mainly because they kept telling me that I shouldn't open my eyes and couldn't touch them (I'm not sure why). I also kept shivering and feeling the blankets on me move around even though I wasn't moving them. There were also these weird things that kept squeezing my legs, which was very weird to me. After a little while of feeling freaked out and disoriented and cold, someone asked if I was okay going back to my mom, and that's where I was next.

My mom got a towel and cleaned something off of my eyes how the nurses said, and then I could open my eyes. I found out later when the medications they'd given me were wearing off that although the gall bladder pain was gone, the surgery pain was there and almost as bad. Since they had done the surgery so late in the day, they decided to keep me another night to make sure that I was starting off the recovery process on the right foot. The nurses kept saying that I was an A+ patient because I was really kind but also vocal about what I was feeling. Around 12:30am, when I'd gotten up to use the bathroom, the nurse who had come to help me tied a band around my chest under my armpits and I took a little walk around the nurses station, where I got lots of applause.

I checked out of the hospital with my mom at noon on Tuesday, and my mom was really on top of doing my laundry and dishes and cleaning the things that I normally do so that I wouldn't feel like I was slacking even though I needed to be a bit of a lump for a few days. My mom was also really good about making sure that I was eating - my stomach was gargley and it felt like it was full of air, which was uncomfortable enough for me not to want to eat anything. One of the big things that my mom helped me with was carrying/lifting things for me. All of the incisions are on my stomach so leaning over hurt like nobody's business, and my doctor gave me a weight limit for these first few weeks after surgery.

My mom went back home thing morning, so I'm on my own again trying to get everything worked out with professors and work, as well as figuring out what homework I need to be doing.

I get tired really easily, but the pain had gone down quite a bit. I'm taking normal, over the counter pain medications to manage my pain now. Eating is still hard for me because my stomach still feels off, and I still can't lift things... But I only have to go through this once, and my life will be a lot better without my pesky gall bladder causing so many issues for me!

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