I went through my first-ever surgery yesterday: a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. I had my gallbladder removed because I’ve been having gallbladder attacks at least once a month since last summer, and changing my diet to an almost vegan diet didn’t stop them. I’m recovering okay, taking off at least a week from work. Jon’s been keeping me fed and helping me get around. I slept a lot yesterday; the hydrocodone really knocked me out. I’m a little sore around my midsection, but it’s a tolerable soreness. Certainly not as sharp or painful as a gallbladder attack. The soreness intensifies if I tense my stomach, cough, hiccough, or bend my stomach.
I’ve got four little incisions that are covered in gauze, but I’ll be able to take the gauze off tomorrow. I’ve been eating Jello vanilla pudding cups, my mother’s vegetable soup and bread, some steel-cut oat muffins Mom made, and other veggie stuff Mom sent me home with. Jon and I visited my family this past weekend so I could see them before surgery, and Mom sent us back with a lot of food. That’s been great, because it’s kept Jon from having to cook anything and all the food Mom sent is low-fat, vegetarian stuff. That suits my innards fine. I’m supposed to avoid spicy and greasy foods for a while, having had my gallbladder out. That’s easy enough for me, since that’s how I’d been eating for the past couple of months anyway.
The worst part of yesterday was getting the damn IV. I had never had an IV before, and I knew it was going to be bad when I asked the nurse if it was a small needle, and she hesitated. “Hmm, well, it’s a pretty good size…” I’m used to shots hurting at first and then they’re fine, but this thing hurt the whole time she was working it into my arm. It kept hurting when she taped it down, because it moved a bit as she taped and every little move hurt. I had her stick the whole arm under my blanket so I wouldn’t have to look at it. I’m bad enough with needles as it is, let alone little bits of plastic dangling out of my skin. Brr…
I remember being wheeled into the operating room on a gurney, and being surprised how many people were in there. They got me onto the bed and I commented it wasn’t as comfortable as the gurney because it was firmer. I also mentioned that a coworker suggested I have them put in something useful in place of my gallbladder, like a GPS, but I don’t think the surgical team took me up on that. They did laugh, though. I remember a male nurse tucking my hair into a plastic bonnet, and a female nurse putting a mask over my face. She told me it was just oxygen, and that she liked to describe the mask’s smell as that of a beach ball. It did smell like a beach ball, that kind of soft plastic scent. She hooked up a tube of white liquid to my IV, saying that it would start me feeling sleepy but that it might burn, because its pH level was different from that of my blood. …And that’s the last thing I remember.
Next thing I knew, I was waking up and some lady was puttering around me. I asked her, all confused, if I had had surgery. Jon came in shortly afterward, and he tells me I was cussing like a sailor. I wasn’t even mad, I just kept swearing. I asked the nurse how big a gallbladder was, and she told me how small they were. My response was “that little fucker gave me all this trouble??”. They got me up and moving pretty quickly, even though I just wanted to sleep on the gurney some more. Jon helped me get dressed and I think I half slept while he was getting my coat and shoes on. I had been smart enough to just wear slip-on flats and some loose shirts. They got me into a wheelchair and someone wheeled me out to the car that Jon had brought around. I remember grabbing the seat belt but I couldn’t find where to buckle it myself, so Jon had to buckle me in when he got in the car. He said I snored on the drive home.
I think he may have walked me around the apartment when we got home, but I spent most of yesterday sleeping. I’ve got three different prescriptions, and I vaguely remember we went through the pharmacy drive-through to get them. I guess they didn’t give Jon any trouble about picking up pills for me, since they could probably see me conked out in the passenger seat. That anaesthesia is heavy shit.
So now I’m just waiting to heal more so I’m not so sore when I move. I’ve had a couple friends have this surgery, and they tell me within a week I’ll be feeling better. I’ve heard 4-6 weeks for full recovery, but after 2 weeks I’ll feel pretty normal. I might try to work from home next week, since I just work on my laptop anyway and should be able to handle that sitting on my couch.