Okay, it's been almost two weeks since I was in the Emergency Room writhing in pain so I thought now would be a good time to recount my experience.
It all started on a seemingly normal night. Honestly it probably started quite a while prior to this but this is when it became critical, so I choose to use this date as the start. It was a Wednesday morning, I woke up at 3am with severe stomach pain, and general feeling of crappiness (not sure if that's a word but it should be). I got up and proceeded to lose everything that was in my stomach, which made me feel a little bit better. I took the day easy, didn't eat much but by Thursday I was feeling fine. I was able to do everything normal, I went down to Fresno and did the weekly grocery shopping, picked up the kids from school. Madeline even had a friend over after school and I made chocolate chip cookies, and yummy Mexican food for dinner.
Then that night it hit again with a vengeance. Again I was awoken at 2am, and this time it was violent. The pain was excruciating, nothing I did made me feel better. I took Peptobismal and it came flying out, which was lovely (sarcasm). I would go and brush my teeth after each attack, and try and drink water and it would come right out. Nothing helped and nothing made me feel better. I was able to get the kids to school, (how I don't remember, but they made it, and I made it home). I spent the day curled into a miserable ball on the bed, and losing stomach acid into the toilet. I was leaning over the toilet so much I got a bruise on my chest!
By 2pm I was pretty sure that something major was wrong, and that there was NO way I was going to be able to drive and pick up the kids from school, so I called the school and asked them to tell the kids to take the bus home. The kids got home around 3:30pm, and I started thinking that I needed to go to the doctor. I called Matt at work and he wasn't there!!!!! Aaaaagggghhh, what do I do now?! I waited a few more minutes and called back, and he was there! Thank goodness. I told him that he needed to come home and take me to the doctor because I felt like I was dying and that if he didn't want to come home, I was going to call 911. He said he was on his way and that I should call the doctor to let them know what was going on and to see what they said. Smart, smart man. I knew there was a reason I loved him. So I called Kaiser, and got a nurse practitioner and gave her all of my symptoms. She conferred with a doctor and she told me that I needed to come to the Emergency Room as soon as possible, and that if I fainted on the drive the the ER, for my husband to pull over to the side of the road and call 911!
I got off the phone and started watching the clock. I was telling myself that if Matt wasn't home by 5pm, I was going to call 911. He made it home at 4:55, there was an accident on hwy 41 and traffic was horrible. Traffic is normally bad on Fridays, so add in an accident I think I was lucky he made it home in a hour. I grabbed a bucket, and my wet wash cloth (it helped me not feel so nauseated) and got in the car. I took off my glasses, and tried to brace myself from all of the bumps, and turns. I have never hated living in the mountains so much as I did Friday night on the drive to the ER. The drive was living HELL. Hell I say because I was in soooooo much pain, and every time I moved it made it worse, and there's no way to drive to Fresno from Coarsegold without moving. It was by far the worst drive of my life.
The Kaiser ER isn't very well marked, and we ended up driving around trying to find it, being miserable and in pain I wasn't able to help very much, but we did find it, and Matt let me off and the went and parked the car. I hobbled into the ER and gave the clerk my Kaiser card, she was able to bring up my information from my call in earlier, and she told me to take a seat. About 20 minutes go by and I am called into the triage nurses station. He took all of my vitals, asked me some specific questions and then he told me it sounded like my gall bladder, and that he put me in at a "2" because I was in so much pain, but that there were two people ahead of me and that I may be waiting for two more hours before I would get into an ER bed.
While I was in with the triage nurse, Matt called his parents. Thank GOD for Bonnie and Joe! They came and picked up the kids from the ER and took them home with them. Matt came back and we proceeded to wait. We listened in to our neighboring patients. What an interesting collection of people. There was a guy who had the crap beat out of him by his sister after he started beating on her! He was sitting there talking to anyone who would listen telling everyone about how she beat him with a lamp, and then he whips out his cell phone and called the police to press charges against his sister! Crazy people.
When I went into the triage nurse, it was 6pm. At 7pm I was finally called into the ER and was given a bed. Ahhh, I could lay down again. The ER nurse's name that was assigned to me was Kurt, he was very nice, and he checked me out and then called in the ER doctor. While we were waiting for the ER doctor, he tried to get my IV started. I was so badly dehydrated that it took three different sticks to finally find my vein. That HURT! Right after he got my IV started the ER doctor came in, and did a quick exam, and ran out to be sure to get an order into the ultra-sound department before they left for the night at 8pm. So, before I could get hooked up to fluids and be given liquid and pain medicine I was wheeled down to the ultra-sound department, and they did an ultra-sound on me. It wasn't nearly as much fun as my ultra-sounds that I had with my babies. When the ultra-sound tech was done with her exam, she told us that she couldn't tell us the results, and that a doctor will go over the results and get back to us in about 20 minutes. As Matt put it, nothing like foreshadowing
So, back to my bed in the ER. There were just lovely curtains separating three different beds. The curtains didn't block any sound at all. One of the patients on the other side of the curtain had fallen off of a ladder and landed on his face! Another one I don't know what happened to him, I think it was a car accident and he had a DNR, and he sounded horrible! He would be quiet, and then all of a sudden start breathing this horrible liquid, phlegm sound coming from his lungs. Horrifying.
After I got back to the ER bed, Kurt was finally able to give me IV liquid and morphine. I really thought morphine would have put more of a dent in the pain, it did make it a little more bearable, but damn it still really hurt! Just a few minutes latter the ER doctor comes in and tells me that she's called in a surgeon because the ultra-sound showed gall stones, and my white blood cell count was elevated, which meant that my gall bladder was inflamed and that I was going to need surgery to remove it. By this time it was around 9pm. Not a half of an hour goes by when the surgeon comes in, and he starts pushing on my stomach, "Does this hurt?" and then he pushes right on the most painful spot, right under my right rib, and I about came off of the bed, and scream! His response, that that was a successful gall bladder examination! Asshole! Okay, I know that he had to do that to insure what was wrong with me but, damn that hurt. He goes on to tell me what the gall bladder is and where it is, and what it does. I asked him what I should do after and he tells me "eat lots of fruits and vegetables and lose weight." Nice, I am in excruciating pain, and he's telling me I am fat. He tells me that I need to lose weight three times! Not once but three times, the last time he said that I need to lose weight because he doesn't want me to become morbidly obese! By this time it was funny. Matt and I are looking at each other and giggling, because it was just so blunt.
I am then checked into the hospital, and transferred up to the surgical floor. I was in a very nice room all to myself by 10:30pm. The surgeon told us that he had one more surgery before mine and that it would be around 12am before he would get to me. So, we tried to get comfortable and get a little bit of sleep. I was given another shot of morphine, and that helped me sleep. The anesthesiologist came in at 1am and they stared to prep me for surgery.
Oh, I almost forgot the weirdest thing that happened. When I got into my room, I was given a sponge bath!!! Okay, that was soooo bizarre. I was stripped naked and two female nurses gave me a full sponge bath! It was so weird, I have never ever, ever, ever been given a sponge bath and honestly I hope to never get one again. Talk about an invasion of privacy! Yikes!
After the bath, Matt and I took a short nap and then they came and got me. It was a little past 1am. I am transferred to a gurney and wheeled into the surgery area. I was able to give Matt a quick kiss bye, and then I was into the OR. The last thing I remember is the nurse, Diana, and the anesthesiologist Russell talking about the start time, the start time was 1:27am.
When I woke up it was strange. I could hear the TV on and I remember thinking "Why is Law and Order on?" I vaguely remember Matt coming in to give me a kiss and tell me that he was going to run home. He later told me that it was 3am when I was in recovery. After a little while I was taken back to my room where I could sleep. My right arm hurt from where the heart rate monitor kept taking my blood pressure. I felt pretty good after the surgery. That sharp stabbing pain that I had been dealing with for almost 24 hours was gone, it was replaced with soreness.
I was again woken up by the need to get to the bathroom. It was pretty urgent, but I was hooked up to machines that were plugged in, aaahhh what to do. I called the nurses station and I was unplugged. It was around 8am, and I had a new morning nurse. Her name was Susan and she was super nice. Everyone had been so nice and considerate of me the whole time I was at Kaiser. She came in and checked out my surgical incisions. I had bled all over my blanket and bed, yuck! She then told me that if I wanted to go home that day I would have to burp and fart! How very indelicate. I asked how to move things along, and she told me to get up and walk. So, I got up and started doing laps around the floor. I would do a lap, go back to my room, try to sleep, and then get up and do another lap. At 10am the surgeon came in to check on me. He told me that I would have to stay away from greasy and fried foods, and to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I told him that I had been doing laps and that yes, I was burping and farting. He then tells me that he was going to discharge me! Woohoo!
I called Matt and told him that they were discharging me. By the time he made it down the hill they had everything ready for him, he went and picked up my pain medicine and then brought the car around and loaded me in, Bonnie and Joe brought the kids and we all went home! I had never been so glad to go home. There is no way to rest in a hospital, and being able to go home and sleep in my own bed was heavenly.
Now, here it is almost two weeks later, and while I don't have the gall bladder pain, I am dealing with new pain. The surgery pain, the incision pain, and the pain of having NOTHING stay in my stomach. I am not eating fatty foods. I have been very careful and am eating lots of whole grains and fresh fruit and veggies, and absolutely everything comes flying out. It's gotten to the point where I don't want to be far from a bathroom for fear of having one of my incidents. That is super gross, is things are flying through me undigested. I can see what I've eaten in the toilet! Gross! I have been told that there's an adjustment period, but I just really want the adjustment period to be done, and I want to be back to normal!
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