It's a gall bladder!!!
Yep! I have safely labored and delivered a six pound gall bladder! Much to the amazement of myself and my family, friends, and a few doctors!
It all started last Wednesday morning at 4:00 a.m. when I woke up feeling unwell. I wasn't particularly sick... I just hurt. I could not get comfortable to save my life. I attributed it to a pulled muscle, because my back was hurting so much and I've been a good girl lately and have been faithful to go to the YMCA! I just KNEW that was the problem.
I got in my car to go to work and never made it to the interstate. The pain was pretty intense. So, I got back home and lay down on a heating pad hoping for some relief. None. Nada. PAIN. At 10 a.m. it was time to see Dr. Brad... my fix-it doc!
I drove myself to Brad's office in Brentwood and wanted to die. Driving, it seems, was more painful than lying about in pain. When he saw me I told him I thought I had really outdone myself at the gym and he said he really didn't think I had. (Does Brad know me that well? Or did I just look that bad?) Anyway, he had me lay on the table and he started poking and prodding around (like doctors are want to do) when all of a sudden he hit a really tender spot.
"Hey... hey.., hey... that's tender right there. You should stop doing that now."
"No really. Tender. Stop now."
"That's your gall bladder"
"That's not at all what I want you to say"
"Still... it could be something else, but all your symptoms say gall bladder."
"Can we change my symptoms?"
"I don't think so"
Still... because Brad knows what a chicken I am (no needles... no hospitals... please) he gave me a prescription for something and then told me that I needed to go THAT AFTERNOON for an ultrasound if the pain did not lessen at all.
At 4:oo pm (12 hours after the beginning of my little drama) I was headed to the ER at our new and fancy hospital here in Smyrna (which I will go to again... because it is verra, verrra nice)
The ER doc was a fun guy and he poked and prodded on me too. However, his poking was not as severe as Brad's and so when he asked about pain, it wasn't as bad. So... he didn't think it was my gall bladder, since I hadn't been throwing up and I wasn't screaming in pain. He told me we would run tests and rule out all possibilities.
That's when the nurse arrived. Yep. Time for the IV.
"Do I really have to have an IV?"
"It really helps us to give you medicine"
"Can't I take a pill?"
"The medicine will work faster through an IV"
"I'm a big chicken. Don't you hear the clucking sounds"
"I wondered what that was" (still preparing her miles of tubing)
"I hate needles. I really do"
"Let me see your arm... GIRL! If I can't hit that vein, I should hang up my stethoscope right now"
In goes the IV with little to no pain. THEN... in goes the shot of demerol... and now the hospital people are my BEST FRIENDS FOREVER!!!
"Do whatever you people want to do to me... I just don't care"
A trip to the x-rays came and went and then I went for the ultrasound at about 8:00pm. That lady was nice too... until she got to the area of my gall bladder, which was very painful. I should have kept that to myself, though, because when I told her it hurt, she took more pictures at that point. Sheesh.
Back to my little exam room I go... and about 30 minutes later my ER doc comes in and says "Boy, was I wrong! You have one of the ugliest gall bladders I have ever seen". I bet he tells that to all the girls! We could let you go, but I think you should just go ahead and be admitted and let us take that out. It is really ugly. So... I get another shot of demoral (Thanks new nurse) and sign a bunch of papers and off to room 311 I go.
It is probably close to 11pm by the time I get there and my floor nurse is THE BEST EVER... because she is nice and she gets me a demoral pump! Pain meds all the time now! Whoo Hoo! As I am drifting in and out of pain free sleep I wake up to see an unusal face staring down at me. This was about 12:45 a.m.
"Hello there. Can I help you?"
"I'm Dr. Larsen. I'll be your surgeon. How are you feeling?"
"Fine. Just fine. Pull up a seat and let's have a chat."
"Is this your mother over here?"
"Hmm? Oh yeah. Mom... meet the doc. He's the surgeon"
My mother already knew that because she was probably awake before I was. (Mom would not leave my side, by the way. She's a great mom)
"So... you're having a gall bladder problem?"
"That's what they tell me"
"Tell me what happened." And so I fill him in on my details, including my misdiagnosis of a pulled muscle and my recent trips to the Y, and he nods a lot and stares at me, and I wonder if I have a booger or something and then he asks me what I do for a living.
"I work for an attorney."
Silence. I mean, you could hear crickets. I think surgeons hate those of us to work in the legal field. But he recovered pretty well when I told him I didn't know anything about medical malpractice, but that I was certain that my boss did. He laughed nervously and then proceeded to draw a picture of the digestive tract and included the gall bladder and explained the procedure. He was a really funny guy. He has a dry sense of humor that connected with me right off! He gave me the option of treating this by drugs and going home, but he told me that I would just end up back here... and since he already knew I worked for an attorney, I figured I would keep him instead of having to break in another surgeon. So... they were going to fit me into the surgical rotation for the next day and it would be mid-day before my surgery started... and they would let me know as it got closer. Dr. Larsen left... I hit my "happy" button and went back to sleep.
To be awakened at 4:00 so the nurse could take blood and be told I was two points off on my potassium levels, so I would get potassium with lidocaine through an IV. Ok. Whatever.
I met the anesthesiologist about 10:30 who had a bunch of questions to ask and wanted my signature on a consent form. I had to look over a list of "possibilities" whilst I was "under".
"I'd like you to keep away from esophagial laceration, if you don't mind"
"That shouldn't be a problem."
"Also Death. Stay away from death, please."
"But most importantly... even more than death... this one here about waking up while the procedure is occurring... please don't let that happen."
"Not to worry. Just sign here."
"You do know I work for an attorney, right?"
So, at 11:30 they come and take me away... much to my mother's chagrin... but she's holding on while I am there. She doesn't want me to know how scared she is... and I get wheeled down to the surgical area where I meet anesthiesiologist number two and a surgical nurse.
"Do I have to be catheterized?"
"Yes hon, I'm afraid so. But I won't do it until you are under and I will remove it before we wake you up. You won't ever know it."
They explain they will give me something in the IV and then put a mask over my face and tell me to breathe and I will go right now. "You guys know I work for an attorney, right?"
My surgeon walks up. He's a hoot. He asks how I'm feeling and I told him I was fine.
"But I forgot to bring that picture you drew for me last night. You do remember where my gall bladder is, right?"
Without breaking a smile... "I thought I would just go over to this computer and google it and see what I find out. I figure if anything goes wrong, I'll just hit the reset button"
"Don't forget Control-Alternate-Delete if things go really bad" He laughs... they wheel me to another room... I see a blue mask and then NOTHING ELSE. I don't remember them moving me to a surgical table... I don't hear nothing and I don't see nothing and I like it that way.
The next thing I know, I am in recovery and life is fine. No pain and people keep asking me the same questions... what is my name, date of birth.... why am I here? You'd think they would be able to tell this from my arm bands, but no... they keep asking.
And then I am back in room 311 with my family and my friend Melissa Leaver, who has brought me 15 different types of ChapStick...because she is a real friend... and the rest of my day/night blurs into moments of consciousness/unconsciousness as I hit my happy button... wake myself up snoring... and make my first trip to the potty.
Of course... having not known I was going to be operated on... I had on my fancy panties. Purple with bright red hearts and wings and words that say "Wild at Heart" or something stupid like that. I can only imagine the surgical team's words when they took those off me. I know they took them off me, because a nurse brought them back to me.
Only after they tried to give them to a 70 year old woman who was still in the recovery room after I'd left. She swore they were not hers. I am grateful they made their way home to me.
Now, it is just about the recovery. My boss says he will see me in six weeks. I will lose my mind if it takes that long. I am hoping for a couple of weeks. Saturday was a really good day, and I stayed out of bed for the most part.
Sunday was a set back and I spent the day in bed. I am trying to be a little more careful now.... so it is back off to bed I go!