post gallbladder surgery

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.

attack of the stupid gallbladder

Apparently Gwen’s pregnancy did more than just wreak havoc on my bladder, pelvis, stomach and the usual postpartum fare–it brought my stupid gallbladder* out of hiding, and boy is it pissed! Yes, pregnancy and an admittedly rich diet seems to have triggered gallbladder attacks, something I’d never experienced before, something I definitely never wanted to experience for sure. Ow. Thankfully I’ve only had two short episodes in the last week–I hope that means we caught this early.

You’d think having to push a baby out of my vagina and the subsequent sleep deprivation that goes along with having a newborn would have been punishment enough for one maternity leave, but no. Let’s throw a random medical issue into the mix for good fun. And here I was, feeling all smug for having successfully dodged two c-sections.

I’m seeing a surgeon on Friday to go over the ultrasound and (most likely) schedule a cholecystectomy. Of course, I’ve consulted with Dr. Google enough to have some anxiety about the process. Many people say they’ve had easy recoveries but there are enough horror stories out there to make me worry.

(Truth be told, I’m also worried about how this will impact my future ability to eat pizza without gastrointestinal discomfort. Hey, priorities. And I wonder how I got into this mess!)

Tim will also be out of the country (and by that I mean temporarily not on this continent–not just in Canada!) for a week very soon, so I’m already a little (read: a lot) anxious about that. I’m just a giant ball of freak-out these days, really. Thankfully I’ll have help from my parents (love you guys!) and hopefully I can put off the surgery until after Tim gets back so I have his support if the recovery is rough.

Sucky silver lining: I now have something to hold over Gwen’s head when she’s a teenager and driving me batty. With Ellie, I had a 30-something hour labor–easy guilt fodder there. But Gwen’s labor was only 8 hours–not effective for guilt purposes. Instead, I’ll be able to say, “You gave me gallstones–the least you can do is clean your room!”

It's a good thing I'm cute!
It's a good thing I'm cute!

As if to make up for my pain and suffering (cue overly dramatic sigh) Miss Gwen recently decided to sleep through the night, three nights in a row! Seven hours at a stretch! It’s pure sleepytime bliss up in here. I don’t know whether to celebrate or knock on wood to avoid jinxing it, so I’m just going to shut up about that now.

She’s also started smiling! And this is the part where I say it’s hard to believe she’s already a month old, I lament how fast she’s growing up, yadda yadda yadda. *sniffle*

* From here on out, I’m just going to refer to it as “my stupid gallbladder” because that’s exactly what it is. Stupid, stupid gallbladder.