Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The great gallbladder eviction of 2014: What happens in the OR ends up on the internet

gallbladder anatomy

So here I am a week post-op from having my gallbladder removed (if you may have missed what lead up to this, read my pre-op post from a couple of weeks ago).  I wish I could say that everything went great and I feel like I'll be back up and running any day now, but unfortunately that isn't the case. Let's review shall we?

So I went into the hospital on Wednesday, September 10th at 9am, with my surgery scheduled to begin at 11am. My mom and Chauncey came with me, and I got all prepped and ready to go in a room, completely with flimsy hospital gown and hair net. I met with the anesthesiologist and learned exactly what would happen once I was in the operating room. Once I was hooked up to an IV, I said my good-bye to my mom and husband and I was rolled into the OR. They moved me to the operating table, I was given the anesthesia and before I knew it, I was out.

I barely remember being in the post-op area and the nurses bringing me out from under the anesthesia and me telling them I was hungry and then falling back asleep. I then woke up in an actual hospital room, as I had gone from being essentially an "outpatient" to being admitted.

Turns out my operating didn't go quite as planned. Once the doctor got going and could see what was happening inside my body, he saw some things he wasn't expecting. My gallbladder was in bad (and I mean BAD) shape, very inflamed and I had a stone blocking one of the ducts. Apparently he told my husband after the surgery was over that the inflammation was so bad he doesn't understand how I was able to walk into the hospital for the surgery. On top of that, my gallbladder had an extra duct, something that apparently is extremely rare and that my surgeon had never seen before. Those things caused me to stay under longer than normally anticipated and the incisions (well one of them) being made larger as well, so my anticipated recovery was going to be longer so they admitted me.

A moment of lucidity
me in the hospital with the Dufftor and my iPad

To make this long story from getting too long, I spent the next two days in the hospital recovering. I was on an IV with a morphine drip (which was the best thing since sliced bread at the time). I started out on a liquid diet, which for the first few hours I was able to keep down, but I did end up getting quite sick to my stomach late the first night there. I was slowly worked up to a soft foods diet and they took me off the morphine and moved me to oral pain meds. Unfortunately I seemed to be in more pain once off the morphine, with most of the pain centered around where they had inserted a drain to help with any potential fluid buildup in my body. So they decided to take the drain out a day earlier than planned. They were going to release me on Thursday and then I'd have to come back in on Friday to removed the drain, but I was still in so much pain that they kept me another night. After getting the pain under control and working my way up to solid foods, I was finally released Friday evening.

Home at last!
home from the hospital

So here I am now, home but far from back to normal. I'm not in nearly as much pain, but I'm still quite uncomfortable and sore. As long as I'm still on the pain meds I'm not allowed to drive due to the side effects (mostly they make me really, really drowsy). I'm not back to work yet either as far as going into the office, but I am able to work somewhat from home (which is great because I don't get vacation or sick time). I got see the surgeon next week for a post-op check-up, and from there we'll see how I'm doing. Until then, I'll keep doing what I'm doing.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Good Eatin': The Original Q Shack (Durham, NC)

Nestled in the hills of North Carolina sits a little restaurant known at The Original Q Shack. When we pulled up, I immediately was hit by the aroma of BBQ. Being a Sunday, the Shack was a bit busy, but even then they were able to take our order and serve it up rather quickly and efficiently. The menu is huge, with several types of meats available along with a large selection of sides. And every order comes with a side of hush puppies (which I let my husband eat as I'm not a fan). 

I had the loaded baked potato topped with cheese, sour cream, bacon, and smoked sausage. My husband had the two meat combo with peppered smoked sausage, brisket, fried okra, and mac & cheese. I tried some the brisket and it was quite good, and while I normally love mac & cheese, I didn't like how they seasoned theirs. But my husband loved everything he got and consumed the whole thing, and I ate my whole potato.

Overall we were very pleased with our meal, we both walked away with full bellies and weren't hungry again for hours. If we find ourself near Durham again, we'll certainly be returning to the Q Shack.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fall/Winter Shopping List

A puffy vest
Old Navy Women's Quilted Zip-Front Vest

A drapey-yet-structured cardigan
Modcloth Airport Greeting Cardigan in Charcoal

A fisherman's sweater
Signature Cotton Fisherman Sweater

Wedge booties

A pair of Chucks
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Classic Sneaker
Neutral colored oxfords
Sperry Top-Sider Taylor Oxford
A structured bag in a fall-ish color
Francesca's Bali Buckle Satchel

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I was attacked! By my gallbladder....

So yesterday was fun (yes that's sarcasm). If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen this picture:

My view in the emergency room

But to get the full picture though, let's go back in time a bit (warning TMI). Way back at the end of July I was at my in-laws for wedding #1, and late in the evening my back started bothering me. It was the middle of my back, which in itself is a weird spot to feel discomfort (as opposed to your lower back). But I thought maybe it was due to the way I had been sitting (poor posture, I know I'm terrible). But as the evening went on, I began feeling sick as well. I just chalked it up to eating junk food and since it didn't last very long I brushed it off and moved on.

Moving on to the weekend of wedding #2, my back acted up again, but without any of the upset stomach or vomiting. We had spent the night on a fold-out on a couch, not the most comfortable (you could feel every spring and the support bars), so I figured that was the cause of that pain.

Flash forward to our trip to North Carolina, our host (my husband's cousin and my maid of honor) let us sleep in her bed and first few nights we slept like rocks, no problems. Then the third night, my back started bothering me again. Now their bed was pretty comfortable, but a bit smaller than what we were used to, so it was a bit cramped for my husband and I (but we managed). I figured that this pain was just me trying to adjust to this smaller bed.

Then for a few weeks I was fine, no problems, until yesterday. I had just gotten home from my mom's house after doing some laundry. I was getting ready to go to bed when my back started hurting, so I took an Aleeve and settled on the couch (our couch is really soft and I find it more comfortable sometimes). Unfortunately I couldn't get comfortable, so I tossed and turned, I got up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom, even took another Aleeve, but nothing helped. I was in so much pain not only in my back but also the right side of my abdomen. I couldn't eat, even though I felt like I was starving I couldn't keep anything down. So when my husband finally got home yesterday evening he made the call to take me to the hospital (since yesterday was Labor Day and therefore a holiday so our regular doctor's office was closed).

Michael Scott from the Office Kill me right now

After waiting in the ER, they finally admitted me and put me in a bed in a room. I was given an IV to keep me hydrated, some painkillers, and an anti-nausea med. Once the drugs took effect, I was given an ultrasound as they suspected it was my gallbladder. Turns out they were right. I have gallstones (not sure how many or how big as I don't think that's something an ultrasound can tell them), but at the moment they aren't blocking the tubing and the gallbladder itself isn't infected. But, it still needs to come out.

So I have an appointment with a surgeon on Friday to fill out all the paperwork and then we'll schedule the surgery itself. They can remove it laproscopically, so it's essentially outpatient surgery, so I should be in and out in less than a day (barring any complications *knocks on wood*). Until then, I'm taking pain killers and am stuck eating bland foods (fat and grease are a major proponent of what makes the gallbladder act up like this). But everyone I know who's had the same procedure done say I'll feel 1000 times better after the gallbladder is removed, so here's hoping.