**DISCLAIMER** There are some graphic pictures at the end of this post!!!!
So about a week ago, I could not sleep because I was experiencing some really bad chest pains. I only dozed for a few hours until James woke up and I could tell him what was going on with me. We debated about going to the hospital, because I had had the same pains earlier and they had just gone away. I thought I had maybe just pulled a muscle or tweaked something. James won out and we got dressed and headed to the hospital for me to see a doctor.
When we got to the emergency room and we told them that I was having chest pains they immediately took me back to an examination room and the nurse took my vitals and went to go get the doctor. Poor James was stuck filling out my paperwork. The doctor came and asked about family history and felt around where I told him I hurt. They then moved me to one of the emergency rooms and got me hooked up to some pain medication through an IV. They took some blood and sent it off for a work up. The doctor was still concerned when I told him that the pain meds had helped but I was still hurting. He did another abdominal exam and said that they were going to send me up to have an ultrasound to make sure we were not dealing with anything serious.
The nurses took me up to get the ultrasound, and I had to ride in a wheelchair….ugh. I knew something was up when the doctor doing the ultrasound began to focus on my right side near the bottom of my ribs. When it was done we were taken back down to our room in the emergency room (in a wheelchair again) to wait and see what was found.
We did not have to wait for long. The doctor came in and told us that they had found stones in my gallbladder. He said that we were going to head up to talk to the internal medicine consultant doctor to see what he suggested. The ER doctor said that we had a choice, that I could be on medicine to help the symptoms or that we could elect to do surgery to remove my gallbladder. HE asked if we wanted his opinion, and of course we said yes, and he suggested that we go ahead and schedule the surgery because I would have to have it eventually and having it now would prevent any more pain in the future.
We headed upstairs to meet with the internal medicine doctor. He was very kind, and reminded me and James of a quirky combination of our grandfathers. He was making jokes to put us at ease. When we got down to the question of gallbladder surgery, he took the decision out of our hands and told us that he was going to admit me to the hospital that day and that my surgery would be the next day. There was some concern because one of the stones was blocking my bile duct, which is what was causing the pain as my gallbladder swelled to try and release the bile inside but it had nowhere to go because the stone was blocking the way.
As we went over my medical history, the internal med doc brought in a neurologist to evaluate me because of my history of stroke, and decide if it would be ok for me to have the surgery while on my aspirin regiment for my Factor IV Leiden. The neurologist went to consult with the head of the neurology department, and we waited for all of the admitting paperwork to be finished. I think James knows more about filling out hospital paperwork and my medical history than I do!
We had to go back down to the room that we had in the ER while we waited for the insurance to come through with the approval. They were able to give me more medicine to make me feel better, a medicine that helped to relax the muscles around the gallbladder so that it would quit trying to empty and not cause anymore pain.
When the approval came through we were moved up to a room to get settled in. Now I was not expecting the kind of room we got. It was more like being checked in to a hotel not a hospital. We had a corner room that had a beautiful view of the ocean, and HUGE bathroom. Of course the nurses had to come and poke me some more, more blood to be taken and another IV cannula to be put in the other hand. James got to stay with me, and it helped so much more than he will ever know. He had brought up my computer and our internet, and I finally got to call my mom and dad and let them know that I was in the hospital and that I was going to have surgery the next day. Now, I had never had surgery before and was still a little (a whole freaking lot) nervous about it, and of course like anyone, talking to my mom helped ease my nerves and make me feel better!
One of the other things that made me feel better was James’ boss, Issac, and his family. They came up to see me after James had called to let him know that I had been admitted and what was going on. Issac’s daughter, Anna, and I had become fast friends talking about our favorite Disney princesses, so it warmed my heart when they walked in to my room and Anna had brought me a teddy bear to help me feel better. When they were leaving Anna also said that she wanted to pray for me, and proceeded to pray right then in the beautiful innocence that is a six year old’s words.
The next morning is when all the prep started for the surgery. Fasting, more blood work, and such. We were told that my surgery was scheduled for 10 am, but the operating room got held up so I didn’t go in until closer to 1 pm. They rolled me down to the pre-op area, and I got a little teary when James couldn’t go any further with me. I had to remove my toe nail polish, which for me is huge deal, I had naked toes!!! Eventually the anesthesia doctor came and began to give me the sedatives for surgery, and the next thing I knew I was waking up in post-op recovery. Some of that is hazy and I don’t remember a whole lot.
The next morning I finally got to eat something, yay more clear chicken broth, and later they came and took my order for lunch. Of course at this point both James and I were exhausted because the nurses had to come in every few hours to check my vitals and hook me up to more medicine. So sleep was fairly elusive for us. I had to get up and walk around a bit ever hour and James kept me company on these jaunts around our floor. Eventually we met with the internal med doctor and got the stones and a picture of my gallbladder with the stones, unfortunately we did not get a copy of the recording of the surgery because the recording equipment was down the day before. I got my lunch, chicken and rice with vegetables and yogurt, and thank goodness, I kept everything down. We were released from the hospital that evening and were able to go home with instructions to come in for a follow up appointment in a week. We got all of my medicine from the pharmacy and were off on our way home.
We had my follow up appointment on Sunday, and everything is healing just the way it should be. All of the incisions are healing nicely and I will have just small scars. Unless anything goes wrong (God forbid) we do not have to go back at all!!!
Here are the pictures! One is of the stones and one is the picture we received of my gallbladder and the stones for comparison. There are also two of the ultrasound pictures where you can see the stones.