The One Where I Have My Gallbladder Removed

***Warning - Some Gross Pictures Involved Here***

Friday night, the 25th of February, we went to Cara's Music in the Cafe' at her junior high school. She and the other girls who play the French Horn played a song they'd been practicing. We had light refreshments and then went for dinner to Cara's choice of Red Lobster. Who doesn't love their garlic biscuits?? After dinner I wasn't feeling well, took some Ibuprofen (which I'm really not supposed to take) and went to bed.

In the middle of the night, my back started to REALLY hurt. I've had this pain before. The pain was all the way across the middle of my back. It also hurt just below my ribs right in the middle of my abdomen. It hurt to breathe as well. I woke Bryan up and he tried to adjust my back because we thought I had a rib out. This has happened at least on four other occasions... Then I went back to sleep.

The  next morning we got up cleaned the house and went to Jordyn's first soccer game of the season. Afterwards we came home to make dinner for the missionaries. We try to have them over for dinner monthly. My pain came back while we were cooking and about 5 minutes into dinner, clammy and sweating from pain, I excused myself to go to my room where I promptly threw up. Bryan found me curled up in the fetal position... With the elders fed and returned home, Bryan took me to the emergency room.

Because we just moved up here in October we weren't quite sure where the closest ER was so Bryan looked it up online and it said the closest one was Southwest Surgical Hospital. This is directly from their website.
     "At Southwest Surgical Hospital, we’ve made emergency care quick and convenient. ER patients are typically seen with no wait time, allowing you to get better, faster. Why spend hours waiting in the ER at a large hospital when fast, convenient care is so close?
     Our emergency room is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology, allowing us to handle any emergency that you or your family may have. We understand that visiting the Emergency Room can be a daunting experience, which is why we are dedicated to providing you with the highest level of compassion and care, making your visit to our ER as quick as possible."  Sounds good, right? Not so much on a Saturday night...

We arrived and no one was there. It was oddly empty. The same nurse who checked me in was one of two nurses total at the SWSH emergency room. There was one doctor who came to visit with me. They took blood, gave me a puke bag (best thing EVER) and tried to put an IV in. I was severely dehydrated and it took three tries to get an IV going on me. Morphine for the pain and something for the nausea helped.
 On a Saturday night SWSH runs with a skeleton crew. No laboratory open? Oh, we have to send your blood work to an off-site lab. It'll take 4 hours. No x-ray technicians? We'll have to call a guy to come here. He's only an hour away. Enter the guy with the portable ultrasound machine and his van with a lift. Yes, I'm serious. "Congratulations! It's gallstones..." Yikes! I never once thought that's what it might be... So now that they figured out what my problem was they were unable to help me anymore and I needed to transfer to North Hills Hospital - only a couple miles away. Bryan asked if he could take me there himself. No can do. Because I had an IV in they needed to transport me by ambulance. Seriously?
Still hanging onto that puke bag... Riding backwards in an ambulance guaranteed that anything that might have been leftover in my stomach now came out. Not my finest hour. We got to the hospital around 6 am on Sunday morning where they'd been waiting for me to arrive. The guy in the ER promptly takes out my IV (because "it's not in correctly"...) and jabs me twice more before he gets a new one in. They take me upstairs to room 522 and schedule my surgery for 12:30.

My surgeon, Dr. Husain, was loud and bouncy. He put three holes in my abdomen and removed the gallbladder laprascopically. He said it was especially full of stones. The doctor tried to release me Sunday night but I wasn't feeling very good and was shaky and weak. My nurse convinced the doctor to keep me overnight.
That night in the hospital was awful. I don't think the nurse on the next shift thought I should have stayed. I know she wasn't expecting me to stay... In the middle of the night after I asked for something for pain she would only bring me Tylenol. Really? Tylenol? They kept pumping IV fluids through me and when I would need to go to the restroom she acted like I was an inconvenience. I couldn't wait to get out of there and when the shift change in the morning came I totally ratted her out to the supervisor nurse. She was appalled and said she should've asked the on-call doctor for pain meds.

Monday morning Dr. Husain came to discharge me but after looking at my blood work and seeing my liver levels super elevated he sent me for an MRI suspecting rogue gallstones had blocked my common bile duct. My skin and eyeballs turned yellow and I looked jaundiced which was kinda freaky. The MRI showed the suspected blockage and I was scheduled for another procedure called an ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography) that required general anesthesia again at 2:30 pm.  To get to my common bile duct they went through my esophagus and stomach and I had to be laying belly-down the day after having my gallbladder removed. Strange. Glad I was not awake while they were doing all of this...


Here are some of the pictures they took while doing the ERCP. You can see all of the gross, "muddy sludge" and stones they took out and pushed down through to the bowels. Sorry if the photos make you squeamish. I think they're pretty cool.
I got to eat a liquid diet finally after this second surgery. Yum! I was finally released on Tuesday afternoon. Thank goodness! Wednesday went by pretty quickly. Thursday I was back to nauseous and dehydrated and ended up back in the ER getting a CT scan to make sure nothing had been perforated in the second procedure. This required three more IV sticks. That brings the total to NINE since they put in a just-in-case IV during the gallbladder removal on Sunday. Sheesh! The CT scan showed no damage thankfully.

We had many friends from church and neighbors come to visit and bring meals. My teammates from school helped me out immensely in so many ways (Lesson plans, bringing Jordyn home, Marie brought us dinner one night and Jennifer actually took me to the last ER visit until Bryan could get there) and Bryan's job gave us giftcards to help with dinners and all the time he needed to take care of me. We were definitely watched over and protected during this time. I could feel all of the prayers and the love coming right at me.

So let's see...
3 emergency room visits
2 nights in the hospital
1 ambulance ride
2 surgeries
3 doctors
1 ultrasound
1 CT scan
9 IV sticks (4 that actually worked and 5 blown veins)
countless blood draws 
5 days out of work
Final bill????
I really shouldn't have started to add this up...

We'll gladly accept any and all donations... :)


LouAnn said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through this. Thank goodness for the Church and your school friends. You were I. Our prayers. Love you and your family.

Ashley said...

Ouch. No fun for you! I hope your feeling better! I'm sad we won't get to see you and Cara next week.

Lori Gerten said...

Woah! That is quite the story! I'm sorry you had such a crappy nurse in the hospital. ARGH! How frustrating for you.

Glad to see you can blog all about this. It's a good story.

Also, did you think about writing the hospital a letter re: your nurse's care? Juat a thought!

Bethe, Marketing/PR Director said...

So sorry to hear you had a bad experience at North Hills - If you'd like to talk to someone about your complaints, we'd be more than happy to address them. Our patient advocate is Danny Stafford - 817-255-1176.

Wishing you a speedy recovery.
-Bethe Wright, Director of Marketing at North Hills Hospital

tktakesphotos said...

That is quite an ordeal. I'm happy to hear that you are out of the hospital and on the mend. I'll pray that your recovery goes smoothly.

After I gave birth naturally to my daughter the nurse gave me Tylenol to take for the pain. Seriously? I just gave birth? Where are the real pain meds?