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Friday, June 29, 2012

Gall Bladder Surgery (IT'S LONG)

So I had my first gall bladder attack back in December 2010. I have a really high pain tolerance and Robbie was close to taking me to the ER to figure out what was going on....I endured the pain and went to work the next day and was seen by a dr I work with who told me I probably had gall bladder problems....after blood work and an u/s it was confirmed. So I wasn't having any more pain from it so what do I do? Procrastinate getting my gall bladder out. Why have surgery if it's not bothering me right? I would have a few attacks off and on. Then I get pregnant....which now I know sets off the gall bladder attacks. I had some bad ones but they don't really like to do surgery when you're pregnant if they can help it but they will up until 20 weeks....well I figured I could endure it until our baby was born. Well she was born in December and then in March right before i was suppose to go back to work I had the WORST ATTACK EVER!!!!!!! I thought I was going to DIE!!! And let me tell you it's a lot harder to have an attack and then have a little person needing your attention when you're trying to figure out how to get rid of the pain. For those of you who have never had a gall bladder attack think of labor....if you're a girl (I think the last attack was way worse than labor)! Pain in your chest (at least that's where I got it), I'd get really hot, pain would get really intense and I just wanted to cry. Let me remind you that I have a HIGH pain tolerance. (I got an epidural after the contractions had been off the chart for like 45 min). (Sorry I keep referring to labor but that's the only thing I can compare it to). I was nauseated and Brooklynn just kept crying because she wanted to be held and it just hurt so bad to lay her on my chest. Usually I could take some lemon herbal drops and it would help. This time it didn't. It was getting so bad I had to call Robbie and tell him he needed to come home NOW so that he could take care of Brooklynn while I continued to die!! Well he works 40 mins away so in the meantime I had to make due. Long story short I had to call Robbie's grandma on the phone (who lives upstairs) because I was in so much pain and couldn't go upstairs and get her to come down and help me with Brooklynn.

After that we decided it was time to get my gall bladder taken out!! So in May I met with Dr. Ian Cavin (who I loved and would refer to ANYONE!!!!!) We scheduled my surgery for June 8th. (I have this thing with scheduling things on days I would remember...June 8 is my little brothers birthday, it was my first OB appt I had for Brooklynn). So I was planning on an in and out procedure....boy was I wrong.

So my mom took Brooklynn Thursday night because we had to be at the hospital pretty early the next morning. Robbie asked the nurse what's the worst case scenario and she said that maybe we'd have to stay a night because I was nauseated from the anesthesia or something like that but nothing really major and she had never seen anything more than that. I go in for the procedure probably around 9:45 or so and it takes about 45 min I think (I was pretty groggy because of the anesthesia). Next thing I remember is the dr telling me that I had 25+ stones were in my gall bladder and that I had at least that many more in my bile duct so I would have to have another procedure done later that day to get rid of them all. I was still pretty groggy from everything and was feeling ok.

So we had to wait for the GI doctor to come in and talk to us and tell us our options....I could either be cut open or I could get an ERCP done (which is where they put a tube, or something, down my throat while I'm asleep and go down through my stomach and up my pancreas and put a stent in and then pull the stones out). They could try to get as many as they could but they wanted to be careful because if they knocked the pancreas too much I could end up with pancreatitis which they were trying to avoid which I was ok with. We decided to do the ERCP and so they took me down and prepped me for that.

 They put me to sleep (but before I fell asleep I felt/saw my grandpa Benard in the room who had passed away 4 yrs ago. I think he was just there to help comfort me which was nice). When I woke up the dr showed me pics of the 20 gallstones they pulled out from me but i was so groggy (and I didn't have my glasses on) I couldn't really see them great.

This is kind of what they looked like Robbie said. They were the size of sugar cubes!! Ouch. Well and like I said they took 20 out but guess what?? I had at least another 5-15 left in there but the doctor had done enough because of not wanting to create pancreatitis. So I was sent back to my room to recover and then I was suppose to have the procedure done the next day depending on my labs. (This was still Friday).

So I hadn't eaten or drank anything since Thursday night and couldn't do so until Saturday night I think and at that point it was just ice chips...but at that point I think I was just more thirsty than hungry. So my labs came back saying I "should" have pancreatitis but I wasn't acting like I did....goes back to high pain tolerance....

So Saturday afternoon as we were just waiting things out Robbie heads home. The nurse had given me some Dilaudid the night before and she was going to give me another dose and I had told her I don't take pain meds and don't really tolerate them well so please start me off slow because I didn't want to have any problems and would rather not have enough than too much. She reassured me that I would be fine because it was a "low dose" so I trusted her. The last thing I remembered was taking deep breaths to see if it would hurt a little less/different...if that even makes sense. Then I wake up to about 10 people in my room asking me where I was and saying that I wasn't suppose to do something like that and I had to ask them what had happened. I guess the nurse had given me the medication and then left and came back about 15 minutes later and I was purple and was unresponsive. As the report said I was cyanotic. They coded me but didn't have to do any drastic measures because I then became responsive after I don't even know how long. It was kind of scary waking up and not knowing what had happened and having everyone in there!! So from then on I was known by all the nurses as "that Dilaudid pt."

Pretty much after Saturday it was the waiting game....clear until Wednesday. I think I was suppose to have the second ERCP done on like Monday but then they ran out of supplies...maybe it was Tuesday...I don't even remember. I just remember there were days we were just sitting there....and the whole time I could only eat clear liquids...jello, juice and chicken broth or beef broth. GROSS!! Can I just say that I am so SICK OF JELLO!!!!

So the next GI doctor came in on Monday and would do the ERCP on Tuesday...unless I wanted to go home and come back and have it done in a month or so. So I had to make a choice...did I want to go home and be with Brooklynn and possibly still have gall bladder attacks even though I didn't have a gall bladder or stay until it was done...I just decided to stay and get it done. (I wasn't really impressed with the second GI doctor).

So Tuesday we're waiting around to get the procedure and later in the afternoon (I think) the nurse called down to the department I was suppose to go to see why I hadn't been taken down and come to find out they had "run out of supplies" so they couldn't do the procedure. GRRRR. So that meant being at the hospital another day sitting around doing nothing and sometimes not feeling good and sometimes feeling great....I didn't bring anything to do with me because I had thought I would just be there for a few hours. I didn't even have enough energy to pump more than once or twice a day and I was so scared I wouldn't be able to nurse Brooklynn after this hospital stay.

Wednesday they told us the procedure would be around 10:30-11 am. So around noon we had the nurse call down and they said that the doctor was working on one pt and wanted to work on one other pt then he "would try to fit me in"....did they just want my money or did the nurses just love me so much they wanted me to stay longer????? I was SSSOOOO FRUSTRATED/MAD/ANGRY and so I broke down. After being in the hospital away from my baby for so long I lost it. We had the nurse come in and asked her if we could just leave and come back in a month and have it done with the first GI dr because he was a lot better and had a whole lot better bedside manner. She ended up calling my surgeon and in the meantime I made a list of pros and cons of why I should stay to get it done or go home. I had just felt like the doctor was pushing me off and didn't want to do the procedure. So my surgeon called and settled me down and helped me realize I just wanted to get it done so I didn't have to go back.

So that's what we decided to do. Then an hour later I was getting prepped to get the second ERCP done. The doctor had told me as long as I tolerated food well after the procedure I could go home that day. YYYYAAAAYYYYY!!!! You don't even know how exciting that sounded to me. So they put me under and I wake up and I felt a lot different than from the first procedure. They took out 8-12 more stones. I was having some discomfort and so they gave me some pain meds and because of the discomfort the doctor decided to keep me overnight. GGRRR but really at that point I really didn't feel good so I wasn't concentrating on that.

We go back upstairs to our room...our second home....And they were getting some meds ready to give me for the pain and by the time they brought it into me I was feeling fine. About a half an hour later I felt GREAT!!! So I went and asked the nurse if we could just go home that night and the doctor had ordered AM labs so we had to stay! And I still had to be on clear liquids!!!! Finally the next morning my labs came back and looked good so I was cleared to go as long as I could tolerate food! FINALLY I could eat REAL food!! The nurse called down to get me a breakfast tray...2 hrs later they bring up a burnt piece of toast, banana and a bowl of cereal. Seriously?? That's my first meal??? So I ate the toast and did great so I finally got out of the hospital at 11:30 am 6 days later from when I got there!!!

So the dr had said he never has seen anyone with so many gallstones that I had. He said pregnancy really tips it off and I probably made some while I was carrying Brooklynn. I am just one of those rare people or "freak of nature" (that's what Robbie calls me) that loves to make stones and I have a good chance I may have to have another ERCP done in my life to clear out my bile duct again. Oh how fun. Now I can look back on it and say I'm glad it's done and I hope to have to NEVER stay in the hospital again!!!!!!!

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