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.


  1. Ugh. This all sounds so uncomfortable. I'm so sorry Rachel, but hopefully this will all pay off when you're back to your old self minus the discomfort. I'm glad you had the Dufftor to watch you, but beware of the Dalek in your living room. ;)

    1. I hope so too. Everyone keeps telling me I'll feel better before I know it, but I'm still waiting (I'm impatient!) The Dufftor was good to have while in the hospital, a touch of home to keep me company. Plus he keeps the dalek in line ;-)