Last Wednesday I had that stupid gallbladder removed. I was a bit skeptical about having the procedure because my symptoms weren’t terrible and I had a lot more anxiety about the surgery and recovery than I did about the attacks themselves.
Call me crazy, but I’m just not keen on being cut open. It’s a thing.
A few days before the procedure I had a third attack, though, and realized I’d made the right decision. I did not want to end up in a situation where I had to be rushed to the ER and was glad I’d decided to plan this instead. I was far less anxious about it after that.
Going into the operation I felt pretty good, though the intake nurse kept going on and on about how young I am, which was irritating. I’m a couple months shy of 29, I have two kids, a prominent gray streak, a mortgage and now I drive a goddamn minivan. At what point in this scenario do I qualify for adulthood? Gee, since I’m so young I’ll just be stupidly impulsive and quit my job, drop my kids off at the nearest orphanage and start living like a college kid again! Sounds a lot more fun than gallbladder surgery!
Anyway, annoying hospital staff aside, the surgery itself wasn’t bad (at least I don’t think it was, given I was asleep during the actual procedure.) This was my second time waking up from anesthesia since El was born, and I’d forgotten how much that sucks. Like, why are you making me breathe??? That was the most restful sleep I’ve had in years! I don’t care about breathing right now, just let me sleep. I’m sure you can find another organ I don’t need in there somewhere. Hey, look, I still have my appendix–I don’t need that! Put me under again and let me sleep!
Alas, they made me breathe, and by the time I was conscious enough to speak my first word was, “Hurt.” I had referred pain under my right collarbone from the CO2 they’d used to inflate my abdomen (like a human balloon! Freaky) and my belly felt like it had been hit by a truck. A quick dose of painkillers took care of that, and an hour later I was sitting up, dressed and ready to go. They handed me a prescription for Vicodin and ibuprofen, then sent a very woozy me on my way. When they say “outpatient procedure” they aren’t kidding. I went into the hospital at 5:30 a.m., was in surgery by 7:30, and Tim picked me up at 10:30. They should open up a drive thru for this stuff.
The next couple days were a little rough, mostly because I couldn’t do as much as I wanted. They encouraged me to walk and do stairs to help the healing process, but the first day I was loopy from the anesthesia and narcotics, and the second day I was in pain every time I moved. After several weeks of conditioning myself to get up and move on a regular basis, it was hard to just… sit. Light walking and very slow, deliberate movements were the key to not feeling like crap. Thankfully that passed quickly, and by the third day I no longer needed the Vicodin and the fourth day I was back to my normal activity level.
No more excuses for not being able to change diapers. That didn’t last nearly long enough...
Probably the worst part was/is the incision sites. Even now that they’ve mostly healed and the steri-strips have come off, I have this irrational fear they’ll tear open. *shudder* They freak me out, and I’ll be really happy when they’re fully healed.
All in all, I’m glad it’s out. So far I haven’t had any side effects–I can eat pizza without gastrointestinal distress (obviously that was the end goal here–it’s all about the pizza!) My surgeon explained that I had a small stone lodged in the opening to my gallbladder, ready to throw itself into the abyss and cause all sorts of painful trouble, so it’s a good thing we caught this early and there were no other complications.
Hi Caroline, I just had my gall bladder taken out yesterday after suffering attacks for well over a year that would sometimes last up to seven days. I was really looking forward to the surgery (still scared though!) My collarbone is killing me right now which is why I googled it and came upon your post. It’s a comfort to hear it in a clear and understandable way rather than all the hospital mumbo-jumbo. Thank you, hope you’re doing well (considering it’s been quite a few years since this post!)
I’m happy to report that 3.5 years post-surgery I’ve had few side effects. Occasionally I have what I think is phantom gallbladder pain, but it’s mild and lasts only a few minutes; like a cramp where my gallbladder used to be. And I can still eat pizza (priorities!)
Good luck with the recovery! Here’s hoping you feel 200% better in a few days. 🙂
Hi i am having my gallbladder removed on the 31st of novemeber have had gallstones since i was 14 and i am now 19 so have been suffering a very long time i have 1 day to go till my operation thank god i am a single mum to a 1 year old boy so very worried about recovering and not being able to do much for him thankfully i have family around to help! Not in the slightest scared but overly excited to get it out hopefully my recovery goes as smoothly as yours i cant wait to be gallbladder free! Thank you for the blog makes surgery seem a lot better than it sounds 🙂