Monday, March 17, 2014

that time i accidentally wrote too much about my gallbladder

Two weeks ago tomorrow, I got my gallbladder out.  Shortly after Ellie's birth, I started having some pain in my abdomen.  I went to one GP who pressed on my stomach hard enough to make me cry, and then dismissed it since he was "just pressing on my aorta," and I was "too young to have any complications with that."  I should have pressed the issue, but I was too surprised by his dismissal.

After some encouragement from Tim and my parents, I called my OBGYN.  Even though I knew it wasn't his area of expertise, I figured he could get me pointed in the right direction, since I wasn't sure I trusted my GP anymore.  He ordered an abdominal ultrasound, which showed that my liver was enlarged.  He referred me to a general surgeon.  The next two weeks waiting for my appointment were excruciating, mentally, because googling "abdominal pain and enlarged liver" is a terrible idea.  Too many life-threatening possibilities.

Thankfully, my concerns were alleviated almost immediately during my appointment.  The surgeon pressed around on my stomach for a few minutes, and then pressed under my ribs and told me to breathe deeply.  He noticed the pain on my face, and expressed his opinion that the pain and nausea I was experiencing were actually due to my gallbladder.  He ordered a HIDA scan, which would determine just how well my gallbladder was functioning.

It turns out that he was absolutely right - my gallbladder wasn't functioning at all.  Gallbladders generally have an ejection fraction of 25-75%, and mine was at 0%.  Although I could probably live with the pain an nausea for awhile, the doctor informed me that it was probably just a matter of time before it turned into an emergency gallbladder removal rather than a routine one.  And it could get worse during a future pregnancy, which would be a bad time to need an emergency removal.

My decision was made.  The gallbladder was coming out.

Tim took a few days off work to take care of Ellie and me, and my parents (and my brother) were coming to visit right as Tim needed to go back to work.  It was perfect timing.  To say that I'm generally a worrier is a gross understatement, but I wasn't worried about this at all.  I was just excited to have it out, and I was excited to have Tim at home for a few days, and I was excited to see my parents.

The surgery went well, but apparently I woke up physically fighting off my nurses.  Ooops!  As I became a little more coherent, I overheard them telling Tim about my violence (ha) and didn't remember it at all.  [Sorry guys!]  The next few hours were mostly filled with sleepiness and nausea.  Poor Ellie was distressed by all the people touching me, and kept throwing herself over my chest and crying anytime they did.  The rest of the time, she was pretty content to sit by my side on the hospital bed.  I was told I could go home once I passed a series of requirements, and for a few hours, I thought it might not be until the next morning.  I was so nauseous that I couldn't pass any of the requirements.  Thankfully, that evening I finally felt better and passed them all.

Other than a sore throat from the breathing tube (which somehow turned into canker sores in my mouth and throat...yuck!) and nausea from the pain meds, I was a pretty happy girl for the most part.  Ultimately I decided that I preferred the pain over the nausea and stopped taking the meds.  And by the time my parents arrived, I was walking more like a 70-year-old instead of a 90-year-old.  Progress.  [It's the little things.]

Today, almost two weeks post-op, I feel almost normal.  Modern medicine is incredible.  My grandpa had his gallbladder removed years ago and it was an open surgery!  Weeks of recovery.  I had just a few tiny incisions, and was only in any significant pain for a few days.

Everyone from our church has been so kind bringing us meals and yummy homemade bread and checking up on me.  I feel so grateful for all the love.

And having my family here was so fun.  My mom sewed two skirts, one dress, and fixed two sets of curtains for me while she was here, and we even went on a few short shopping trips together (while I hobbled around like an old woman).  I went on a few short walks with my dad and brother, and was coerced into watching documentaries about prehistoric snakes (just kidding, guys, I actually liked them).  We ate out a couple of times, visited with my cousins, and celebrated my mom's birthday.  We talked, and talked, and talked some more.  And when they left, I cried like a little baby.  I love them so much.

My mom and Aunt Lynn with grandbabies

Ellie loved having them all here, too.  I think she misses all the attention.

Speaking of Ellie, she had her 12 month appointment this last week.  She weighed 16 pounds, 1 ounce (less than the 3rd percentile) and was 28.5 inches long (10th percentile).  And her head circumference was in the 3rd percentile, but I don't remember the exact size.  Yep, she's still teeny.  Probably not going to be a basketball player or anything.

She got two shots and hated being examined by the doctor, but she wasn't fussy at all the rest of the day.  Such a little trooper.

I'd intended to just write a post about Ellie's stats and look what happened!  I wrote a novel.  Well, at least I'll remember all the details someday, I guess. :)

1 comment:

Ali Mills said...

I can't believe she's 1!! That went so fast!