Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Adventures in Ambulances and Happy Juice

After a wonderful weekend celebrating the wedding of good friends in TN, I suddenly got very sick :( 
I had nausea/vomiting for 12 hours straight, and the most horrible stomach pain you could ever imagine.  So, I was up until the wee hours of the morning on NYE staring into the depths of the porcelain toilet bowl, perhaps like some others out there, but for different reasons I'm sure ;)

I thought for sure it was some kind of 12 or 24 hour stomach bug or the flu. I kept telling myself, if I can just get through this, then all the pain will be gone soon!  Well, the vomiting stopped, but the stomach pain was getting worse and worse.  Being in the medical field, I started wondering all of the different things that I could have...I thought maybe gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, gallstones, cancer (??), I really had no clue.  

We had plans to leave the next day for home (NC), so I sucked up the pain and stayed in bed all day and night, reading and eating about 8 crackers total.

The next day, Jan 2, we flew home and arrived to our apartment late in the evening.  I could barely walk, and was hunched over in pain.  I was exhausted and all I wanted to do was sleep, I figured I could go to the Minor Medical Clinic, or ER in the morning if I wasn't better.
I kept thinking, what if it's just gas? I would be so embarrassed if I went to the hospital to get all these tests done, and they told me to go home and go to the bathroom.....

Well I didn't sleep a wink that night, and tossed and turned for 10 hours trying to get comfortable, before I had to wake John up.  "We have to go to the E.R.", I told him.  The pain was excruciating, and I could not bear it any longer.

We made it to the ER, and I was admitted within about 15 minutes.  I think it might have helped being an employee of the hospital...but nevertheless, I was so thankful that they were taking my pain seriously. 
I was hooked up to IV's (after 3 failed attempts-oww!), and awaited an ultrasound of my abdomen.  For those of you who may not know, I am an ultrasound tech myself, so I had a feeling that they were thinking it was my gallbladder and they wanted to get a closer look.

A closer look they got, and it was a gallbladder full of large stones and polyps, and extremely inflamed.  One stone was lodged down in the neck of the gallbladder, which they think was causing the horrible pain.
I was sent via ambulance to the main hospital where surgeries are performed and was told that my surgery would be first thing in the morning.  (By the way - I was kind of excited to ride in the ambulance, because they just look so cool, but it was kind of terrible.  Freezing cold, crowded, and so bumpy!)

I was admitted and was finally given the pain meds that I had been day-dreaming about.  The meds allowed me to sleep for a few hours, and I anxiously awaited my surgery.  Unfortunately, it ended up being pushed back several hours, but by 2:00pm, I was in the pre-op room, ready to get my "happy juice".  John was a champ (he loathes hospitals), holding my hand and constantly telling me how strong and brave I was, and how much he loved me.  It helped so much, and I don't think I could have done it without him there.

The surgery was a success - it was done laparoscopically (where they make small incisions and use a camera and surgical tools to actually go under the skin to perform the surgery.)  The surgeon removed my entire gallbladder (which was red hot with inflammation) through a slit in my belly button.  I was left with 4 incisions total, most being about 1/2 inch.  

After about 8 hours of recovery and a heavy dose of pain meds, my nurse told me that I could sleep in the hospital, or try going home.  If I was able to stand up and walk down the hall, pee, and then walk back, then I "passed" the going-home-test.  I passed, even though it took me about 20 minutes!  

We made it home around 1:00am, and I was happy to be able to sleep in my own bed.  The recovery process (it's been 12 days) has been hard and long.  But I am feeling better and stronger each day.  The care packages and letters have lifted my spirits tremendously, and we have been so thankful for gracious friends bringing  delicious home-cooked meals on a daily basis.

I have watched about 7 hours of "Cake Boss", and have read "Firefly Lane" (highly recommend) and started "The Hunger Games" trilogy (amazing!).  Saltine crackers and jello have been consumed at almost every meal, and John has been the perfect nurse :)

All in all, it has been a rough 2 weeks, but I made it!  And I am so thankful for all the sweet comments, phone calls, and emails along the way.  
If anyone ever has questions regarding gallbladder problems, gallbladder surgery, or laparoscopic surgery in general, please ask!  I would be glad to help in any way!

And if you are still reading this, I am SO impressed.



Annie said...

Oh friend I hate this for you. I'm so glad you were in the hands of great medical professionals and your sweet hubby. Hope you continue to keep feeling better!

Natalie said...

Wow, you are amazing! I'm so glad you went into the hospital when you did and that there was a solution to everything. So glad you're on the mend now!

Hilliary@ Happily Ever Healthy said...

I am so glad to hear that you are doing better and on the mend! I am glad you got such wonderful care, and the problem was quickly addressed, and what a sweet husband you have! I hope the rest of your recovery goes smoothly!

E and B said...

So so glad you are feeling better, my gosh you poor thing!!!

Seashells and Southern Belles said...

OMG bless your heart. What a story. Thank God you went to the hospital, that pain was no joke. Were the gallbladder issues tied into the stomach virus or not? Glad you are better!

Elle Sees said...

Thank goodness you are better! What a scary thing but you championed right through it.

Jessah said...

So glad you are better! Aren't Hunger Games the most addictive books. I can't wait for the movie.

MK said...

You poor thing!!! I'm so glad to hear that you are doing better. Sending you lots of hugs and healing vibes your way for the recovery!

Megan said...

Oh my gosh, you poor thing!!! I'm so glad that you are feeling better!!

Allison said...

OMG! I am so glad you went to the ER. Glad your recovery is going well!

Melody said...

So good to hear that you are feeling much better! Firefly Lane is my all-time favorite book. I cried for like 20 minutes after finishing it!

Drew {Coral Cafe} said...

OH MY GOODNESS!! BLESS YOUR HEART!! I'm SO sorry you had to go through such pain!!

So glad they were able to find out the problem and fix it right away!!

Hope you're recovering well and enjoying those movies and books!