All of last week was absolutely miserable for me. I had to stop taking my vitamins as well as any NSAID so as soon as my migraines started, there was nothing I could do about them. I didn’t figure out the ice pack on the back of my neck trick until the day before my surgery! I felt so sick, vitamins are one of the many ways I manage my fibromyalgia and chronic migraines. Two days before my surgery, I went in for pre-admission blood work and paperwork. As I left it started hitting me that I was really having surgery in just a few days. It had taken less than two weeks to figure out what had been making me so sick. In barely a month and a half, I was having the problem taken care of. This fact alone just amazes me; I have experienced nothing but competent and listening doctors and oh my gosh, my surgeon is amazing! It was certainly helpful hearing the hospital staff praising my surgeon for his amazing skill and saying that they all prefer working with him over other surgeons.
On Friday, we left at 12:15pm to get to the hospital and I was checked in by 1pm, had an IV in my hand, and leg circulation cuffs on my calves. The hospital gown was faded but actually not bad compared to ones I’ve worn in past hospital visits. The nurses were all very friendly and very helpful and informative. I met with the anesthesiologist and he went over all of the info and stuff but spoke so fast, I was so tired and had a budding headache, I could barely understand him. I found it amusing how every nurse or doctor that came into my prep room asked three questions – 1. what your full name and date of birth? 2. who’s your surgeon? and 3. what is he doing for you today? Maybe they expected me to say something different or had had someone in the past get all of those wrong? It just made me laugh either way. The assistant surgeon came in, a loud fellow with a thickish accent named Andre. He explained the surgery and then went over the aftercare with me. Turns out, I was only going to have one incision and of all things, it was going to be tucked inside my belly button. Apparently, the scar will not affect any future pregnancies.
When my surgeon finally made it to my room, that meant that go time was just a few minutes away. The OR nurse was already waiting to wheel me back and Phil was getting his bag of stuff together to start the wait out in the waiting room. I signed the consent forms, the surgeon left with his assistant, who he apparently was buddies with, and the nurses prepared to wheel me away to the OR. I had only brought a small bag with my rings, deodorant, and nose ring in it. I expected to spend the 1 hour in recovery then get sent home.
The OR nurse pushed me through several sets of doors and then to OR 3. She cranked the bed up to the level of the operating room table and I, careful to not snag my iv, scooted my way over. I remember several blankets being draped over my legs that were nice and warm, and a thick black strap being placed over my legs, “just to keep you in place,” I was told. I remember mentioning to the other OR nurse about how cool his dragon tattoo was, then laying down on the table looking up at the big lights above me. That’s the last thing I remember clearly. I think I remember a mask going over my face, but the next thing I knew was waking up in recovery, or on my way to recovery, and being in excruciating pain. I couldn’t speak, only barely was able to shake my head or nod. I couldn’t keep my eyes open and I just hurt. I ended up throwing up, and I don’t actually remember that. I mean I do, I remember the nurse rushing over with a small container, and I couldn’t stop anything, I just felt so incredibly absolutely and totally miserable. I remember my surgeon coming over at some point, but I don’t remember what he said, I couldn’t answer anyway. One of the nurses asked several times if I wanted to see Phil and I kept shaking my head no because I was in so much pain. I don’t know what drugs they gave me, but I do know I spent about three hours in recovery. Phil finally came back after I finally said yes he can come back. I barely registered that he was there, he just sat there watching me and just being present. My surgeon came back towards the end of my time in recovery and said he was admitting me. Told me I wasn’t responding fast enough to the pain killers and he wanted to make sure they could keep an eye on me for at least over night. I do remember shaking my head and telling him I just wanted to go home. But in hindsight, I’m very glad I stayed over night. I would have ended up in the ER if I had gone home. I got out of surgery around 5:30pm, my surgery started around 3:30pm. I was moved up to an overnight room by 9pm sharp. All I could do was lie there propped up in bed just wanting to cry from the pain and feeling so achy. My stomach hurt, and it’s amazing how much the ab muscles are needed and or used for simple daily movements.
I fell into a medicated slumber fairly quickly after the lights were turned down/off and I had been given a new dose of pain meds. Phil hurried back home to get clothes and a few other essentials we both needed for the overnight stay. We’re both so very grateful to Lindsey for watching Ender during my surgery and then being able to stay overnight while we were at the hospital. That took so much stress off my mind especially when my body was under so much stress. I have never been away from Ender overnight before and knowing he was in good hands helped me not worry about that at all. It also helped I was in such a fog still! By 3am, I got another dose of pain meds and by 3:30 I actually asked to go for a short walk around the halls. I managed to walk and crawled painfully back into bed a half hour later feeling like the effects from the anesthesia was finally starting to wear off. I slept for a little bit longer, then managed two bites of applesauce around 6am. I went for another walk at 6:30, already feeling stronger, and while I was still on oxygen, I didn’t feel like I needed it quite at much.
By 7am, I was ordering breakfast, only had two bites of eggs, but at least I was starting to sort of kind of feel hungry. My surgeon came in to see how I was doing around then and said I would get to go home as soon as I had eaten a little something and kept that down. I was pushed down to the car at 9am, and achingly crawled into the passenger side seat. I was so happy to be going home, but my shoulder had started bothering me from the gas they had pumped me full of during surgery. That was not fun. For that day and the next, my shoulder and side was killing me and I could only lie on my left side.
Being home has gotten easier and easier with each passing day. I knew my gallbladder was making me really sick, but I don’t think I really knew how much. I can feel the lack of it’s poison and while I still feel achy and slightly dragging from surgery, I feel great. I feel so much better and I don’t have to worry that each bite of food I put in my mouth might make me sick. Even Phil keeps mentioning how happy I am and how much I’m smiling and laughing again. The weeks leading up to my surgery were miserable. I was so sick and uncomfortable and just felt plain nasty.
It is weird have a single incision inside my belly button, but I can’t said I mind. I’m grateful for medical technology that allowed my surgeon to complete the surgery with only one incision. My shoulder pain is gone, my belly is still slightly swollen and there’s some gorgeous yellow and purple bruising around my belly button. But I feel good. I feel healthy, I feel strong, well kind of, I am pretty tired. I feel so much better now that I can take my vitamins again, and next it’s getting rid of this tickle in my throat from being intubated during surgery. I tell you what, trying to keep from coughing while having stitches on your belly is no joke. I was up till 2am the other night trying every trick I could find to stop the tickle in my throat. Of all things, scratching my ear actually worked to stop the tickle. Keeping pressure and pushing up from the top knuckle on my ring fingers works too!
Despite the bad reaction I had to the anesthesia, I am feel so good now. Still achy and sore from the surgery and random bruise and sore spots keep showing up, but I really do feel good. I am ready to start tackling this year again, and hey, here’s to good health, right? I’m still keeping with my gluten-free/nightshade-free diet because I feel good on that and I actually “tried” a small bite of pizza crust today and my stomach instantly cramped up. So yeah, not doing that again! If I could, I would be jumping up and down and dancing for joy because of how released I feel. I think back over the past decade of my life and remember how sick I felt and nauseated I felt so many times. I ache for my 15 year old self not being able to eat Thanksgiving because of severe nausea and no one did anything about it, despite my parents knowing. I am so glad I have doctors who have listened to me and who moved quickly to correct this health issue I’ve been dealing with for so long. This has become my year of physical healing as well as my year of being ready. I am so excited about how good I’m going to feel once I heal fully. Oh my gosh, if I feel this good now, I know I’m going to feel even better then!