Yay, I’m back! Well, most of me! I think!
You might be thinking this post will finally solve the case of the missing gallbladder. You would be wrong. But I’m going to tell you all about it anyway. My sick posts tend to be some of my best, or at least my pneumonia ones got a lot of praise (story starts here – link drop!). Maybe I write better with lots of pharmaceuticals and / or fever. I don’t want to repeat the fever thing, nor do I know of a way to achieve one on purpose. And pharmaceuticals – well druggies ruin everything.
Where was I? Oh, right, my doctor scheduled me for surgery. When the big day arrived, my husband took me to the waiting room. Waiting for surgery is sort of like waiting for Christmas – only no gifts and they cut you open and stuff. So actually nothing like Christmas, except the expectation of something awful. Like pain. Or relatives. Yet I did get a present – my friend L came to hang with me, despite not actually needing to go to a hospital at all. This makes her insane, but a nice friend, especially for me.
They called me back and checked my vitals to make sure I was alive before they possibly killed me. Yeah, I know all about it, doctors, it’s hard to glance over that part of “possible death we are not responsible for” mentioned in that paperwork. Of course I signed it, because I felt bad enough to not care much anymore. I was nervous, so I focused on interesting and /or stupid things happening to write about later. I got some. They took me off again to a little temporary hospital room of my own with a TV and a bathroom and a bed that had to be hand-cranked because day surgery nurses are given a lot of crap.
I washed myself with a hand-i-wipe and put on my hospital gown. I’d never seen one like this before. Usually they are cloth and open to the back to better expose your behind. But this one was made of paper and had covered rimmed holes all over it. I wondered if they specially designed the gowns for doctors to peek through while doing surgery, but it turned out that they used them to, I’m not kidding, hook you up to a blow dryer. They stuck a hose on my gown and vroom instant warm. I have to get one of those things for home. It’s great.
They also hooked me up to an IV. They put it in my hand where it’s harder to find veins, so she poked around my hand with a needle and it was so fun. Luckily my husband turned on the TV to distract me with Dr. Phil. A lady suspected her husband of cheating on her, and her square-headed husband was all “No I didn’t but I’m not taking a lie detector test.” And Dr. Phil was rubbing his chin with that thoughtful look that said “I am taking this seriously” before telling the man that he was stupid liar. And he said he wasn’t. And his wife said she just had to know for sure if he was cheating on her because the marriage was totally worth saving because they’d had two kids in three years and how exactly was this guy managing to run around on her? My husband didn’t get five seconds off – I knew exactly when he was due home from work and I was maniacal enough from a day with screaming infants and toddlers to chase him down if necessary.
Once all my prepping was done, and my doctor had finished patient number one for the day, and Dr. Phil had run off before they revealed the lie detector results, they rolled me into the operating room. I have to wonder – do these operations get to be as routine as working at McDonald’s? I can imagine them rolling patients in one by one with a little number and then sending them out the door for pick up. Also with poking four holes in you, and pulling things in and out of it, I can’t help but think of the Operation game. Wouldn’t it be funny if it really buzzed if a doctor didn’t get their tools out of the holes just right? Like on that commercial, only with real patients. I would film it. Anyway, they rolled me to the operating room and then I was waking up in a totally different room and off I went back to my temporary hospital room. And people came to visit me and I said “I feel GREAT.” cause I did, I really did feel great. And they were happy I was all better now. But what I didn’t realize was that the reason I was all better now was because I was HIGH. It makes a difference.
I asked my husband what happened, since I had so many questions. Like did they actually find the gallbladder, or did they just poke holes in me and say forget it? Did they find it all shriveled up and hiding behind the liver like the freeloader it was? Was it just in the wrong place? When you carry babies inside you, your organs shift all over the place – fun fact they never tell you till you get pregnant. So maybe it was way down with the kidneys? I asked him. He said the doctor just told him the surgery went well, and they’d see me in like three weeks. Say what? I love my husband but he’s not good with the big questions. Like why was my gallbladder missing before and where was it now exactly? Not like I wanted it in a specimen jar, but I do like to have answers.
They left me with four bloody incisions covered in what some kind if sticky saran wrap – the wrap made the blood spread out so it looked about 500 times bigger than it was. The bellybutton one was especially pretty, with a jagged line looking a bit too much like the Joker’s smile. And while this was supposed to be “minimally invasive” I think if you put my abdomen up against a gun shot victim’s, they’d look pretty similar.
When I got up to walk around I felt a bit nauseous. Don’t ever tell your doctor this. They assume it’s the pain meds and tell you not to take them, and then you aren’t high, and then you realize you have been seriously snookered. I only had seven of them anyway – that’s right seven – and no refills. Thanks drug addicts. They let me go that afternoon. That evening Thing One had her premiere in the high school musical “Crazy for You.” I missed the first one, but I saw the second performance a couple days later. More on that to come, as well as the mystery of where the heck my gallbladder went. I think my story would make a fantastic musical, with dancing doctors, organs, and surgical instruments. Or maybe I’m just high.
P.S. It’s been over a week since surgery. I’m feeling much better now. 🙂
Some of you were wondering what happened with that whole missing gallbladder thing. Okay, one of you was, which is more than enough for me to spill my guts. So to speak. Anyway, after the test, I went back to work, probably getting radioactive cooties all over my desk, and an hour later I got a phone call. If you get a phone call from a doctor that quickly, it’s usually not a good sign. My GP’s office informed me that I was to see a specialist and they’d set up the appointment and everything. “Uh, for what?” I asked. And they said “The hospital didn’t tell you?”
Well, of course not. I asked why I was seeing a specialist and the nurse lady said it was because my gallbladder was dead. Look, I realize we’re not talking about hearts or brains or you know, popular organs here, but I still don’t think you should just tell a person a part of their body is dead just willy nilly over the phone. So I was rather shocked, since my doctor was sure they’d find nothing wrong (and he was partly right as they did find nothing), that there was actually something wrong. I told them that the doctor hadn’t even seen my gallbladder and the nurse said “oh” and covered the mouth piece and I heard muffled talking in the background. “She says they didn’t see it?” This did nothing to reassure me.
“Oh a non-visual gallbladder still means it’s not working,” the nurse said. “Your appointment’s on Friday!”
And she went off to get her latte. This test and phone call took place on Monday. Which meant I had until Friday to Google “Non-visual gallbladder”. I don’t recommend doing this. Pretty much everyone recommends NOT doing this, but I am both a masochist and an obsessive researcher, which makes for a good librarian but kind of a nutball otherwise. I found out that gallbladders aren’t visual on scans sometimes because they’ve shrunk all up and stuff. I bet my award-winning liver is just so embarrassed to have that pathetic gallbladder nearby.
I found plenty of tales of people who got their gallbladders out, and their entire lives were ruined forever and ever. Many warned “Do not let them take your gallbladder!” and I pictured Mel Gibson shouting it in a fake Scottish accent. But the thing is, if the organ’s not working, leaving it in your body isn’t exactly going to do you a lot of good either. Because I read, you might want to put that sandwich down, that gallbladders can rot and get gangrene. Delightful!
So I told people about my dead gallbladder and people were about as enthused as if I’d told them about my dead goldfish. “Ah, happens all the time!” they said. “I know like my sister, aunt, dog, etc had theirs out! Why some people just go get it taken out for giggles! Nothing to worry about.” So I spent the week being annoyed at the people who said this was the end of the world, and annoyed at the people who completely dismissed it. I finally went to the doctor on Friday, and mostly spoke to the nurse, who seems like a nice lady. She told me her husband, the doctor, took out her gallbladder. That must have been interesting. I let my husband work on my car all the time, but I’m not sure I’d let him work on my body. What if he put something back wrong? Awk-ward.
I’ve learned so much about gallbladders. I liken our knowledge of our bodily anatomy to our knowledge of foreign geography. There are many organs in the body that we don’t know the name of, the location of, the purpose of, or that they even exist until there is an attack. Sort of like how we never knew anything about the Middle East till we starting bombing them. I had no idea where my gallbladder was, or my liver for that matter. I’m pretty sure the only organs people know much about are the brain, heart, and lungs, since it’s kind of hard to live without any of them, and you don’t need a road map to find them.
The doctor gave me a pamphlet about my surgery that had a picture of this weirdly happy lady on the cover. There were gross pictures inside it of the gallbladder and the liver, and other pictures detailing the surgery. It’s called Laproscopic, meaning they poke four holes in you like a potato before you put it in the microwave, and then they stick a camera in one of the holes, and their operating instruments in the other holes. I have no idea how they do this, or who first thought up the idea, or how they first tried it out. Did some aspiring doctor just feel like poking holes in his cat one day as a kid? No idea.
So they cut your gallbladder off and seal it and then just whoosh, pull it out through one of the holes in a baggie. I’m not even kidding. They stick it in a baggie, like you might bring your sandwich in (I told you to put your food down). And after that, they re-rout your liver to take a right at the intestines and bang, you’re good to go. Recovery from this takes no time at all! Saying they don’t screw it up somehow! Anyway, it has to be done cause that’s why I’m so sick. So naturally the first time they could get me in to do the surgery was in two weeks, which I’m told is actually very fast for doctors. If it blows up (I’ve heard it can) then I might get in faster.
So I’ve made it one week, and am looking forward to preop and more tests, and then the actual surgery next Thursday. You can bet I’ll have a report, saying I survive and all. I have missed a lot of work, so asked the doctors if I could have a note for work. They said they couldn’t write a note for nothing, cause I hadn’t had the surgery yet, their logic being that I was having the surgery for absolutely no reason, and would only need time off to recover from the not-needed surgery. Apparently. At least my Thing Two was concerned about me.
“How long will you be in the hospital, Mommy?” she asked.
“Oh, I’ll probably get out the same day,” I reassured her.
“Then I don’t get to have fun spending the night at Grammy’s, like when you had Pneumonia?”
Thanks, Thing Two.