January 2013 – Downward Slope and Surgery

I got an e-mail from Dr. S that I had a “bit of pancreatitis” going on and elevated liver enzymes. Dr. N called me and said the same, and to stop taking my Rocephin. I was extremely discouraged as I seemed to finally have a few days that the tics had calmed down and I wasn’t completely foggy. 

 I started to experience this pain on my right side, right around the rib area. I had the sneaking suspicion it was my gallbladder, so I webmd’d suggestions as to what to do, and started to eat a lower fat diet. With the exception of my bacon cheesy fries. I am human you know. 

 

I thought I was behaving, one Wednesday night, and Dave made me two scrambled eggs for dinner, and within 20 minutes I threw up and then was in excruciating pain on the bathroom floor. It was like a pain I had never experienced. I could do nothing but lay there, bending inwards holding my side. Dave wanted to take me to the emergency room, but I had just been at the hospital already earlier for a PICC change and had to go the following day for blood work. I stuck it out. Within an hour or so, I was able to get myself off the floor and onto the couch. 

 I started to fade very quickly. I saw Dr N. and let her know of the new pain I was experiencing and she was pretty sure it was the gallbladder area, so she made me go and get an ultrasound. I got it done the same day as a dressing change and was doing so horribly I had to be wheeled around the hospital. My favorite dressing change person, Helen, brought me to the radiology department. I was incredibly early, but she convinced them to allow me to go in sooner and not to “dilly dally” with getting my results. She seriously rocks. 

 Sure enough, I had several small stones. The pain I was experiencing was likely me passing a stone thru one of my ducts. That night of the ultrasound, I was starving, as I had to fast all day for the appointment. I made Dave order me a gluten free pizza and I ate the entire thing. I would regret that for the following 2 weeks until my gallbladder removal surgery.

 The following day after my ultrasound, I skipped out on breakfast and had a salad with grilled chicken for lunch. I immediately felt nauseous, and threw it up in my driveway, as soon as I made it home from work. I felt so ill; that feeling that you get when you know you are going to throw up. My mouth kept on watering, sensitivity to every smell, and continuous dry heaving. I seemed to keep down soups, the Progresso kind, so that is all I ate.

 Dr. N had called me to give her an update, and I had told her about the nausea, and the dry heaving and only being able to eat soup. She told me that I should go to the hospital, and that she would call and wanted them to test my liver and pancreas once again, give me fluids, and figure out the gallbladder situation. As soon as Dave got home from work, we went.

 It was a useless visit to the hospital. The Doctor that I saw made judgment as soon as he saw me and he chose not to help me. Let me explain further. I was called in by the nurse, who asked several questions, and then they brought me to a bed and I waited for the doctor to come in. The first thing he said to me was, “So, I see a ND called and told you to come in…what is an ND?” I responded, ” An ND is a Naturopathic Doctor…” and his response back was “So, not a real doctor.” I immediately cut in with the response… “Umm yes, I naturopathic doctor IS a real doctor, they went to medical school and are able to treat and diagnose illnesses…” and his next jackass commentary was that “so I also see you have Lyme disease and have been treated since September (This was now toward the end of January)… just to let you know, Lyme disease doesn’t last that long, so you have something else going on.” 

 I could feel my Lyme rage kicking in. I do not do well in stressful situations, and my tics, fuzziness, and weakness was kicking in pretty well at this point. People like him are why people in the Lyme community aren’t getting treated long enough or properly. 

 He ended up doing a blood draw, not even my pancreatic levels like Dr. N had asked. No fluids either. I told him about my nausea and pain, he felt my stomach, and reviewed my ultrasound results from a few days prior. He told me that my liver enzymes were high (no shit I thought to myself) and that I definitely needed my gallbladder out, but it could wait because I was not CRYING, so it COULD NOT HURT THAT BAD.

 I instantly lost it. I yelled at him asking him how he could gauge someone’s pain by if they were crying or not… as a reference when I was in a horrible car crash and broke multiple bones, bruised my ribs and my face went through a windshield I did not shed a tear until I saw the look on my ex boyfriend’s face when he first saw me and it took them over 4 hours to bring me to surgery without as much as a Tylenol. 

 Anyways, I told the useless Doctor that he should walk his useless ass to the cafeteria and get me a cheeseburger and to see what happens, and if he wasn’t going to do anything to discharge me so I could go to a hospital that didn’t suck. Dave looked at me and I’m not sure if he wanted to tell me to shut up or cheer me on for  yelling at this sad excuse of a Dr.  At this point the  Dr. looked at me surprised and offered me a prescription of Zofran, an anti nausea med. I don’t know if he would have given me anything unless I had piped up the way I did. 

In his discharge papers, it said to call the surgeon, Dr. R. a few days later to set something up. 

 

Dave called Dr. N as soon as we got home from our visit. I was exhausted, had to be wheeled out of the hospital in a wheelchair and was in almost a vegetative state. I was unresponsive and shaking, just blankly staring at the wall. Dave demanded for Dr. N to put me back on the antibiotics, Dr. Dipshit, at the hospital, didn’t seem to disagree that it was going to hurt me more. And so she did only half dose, but it made me more “alive” again and much less “Lymie”. 

  The following Monday I went and saw Dr. R., a very kind surgeon. She agreed the gallbladder definitely had to come out, and asked if Thursday was ok. “Uhhhh.. I guess so”, I replied, it seemed so sudden, only 3 days, but I took the date. She explained everything thoroughly to me and said it was pretty much an outpatient procedure, as they do the surgery laproscopically, and that I could go home 2-3 hours after the surgery. On my way out of the hospital I called Dave and told him Thursday was the day, and he told his boss, and everything was set to go.

 Thursday came quickly. The night before felt like the last supper, no eating or drinking after midnight, well I wasn’t eating anything anyways, except for soup, but I was extremely thirsty so I had to deal. 

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My surgery took much longer than expected, they told Dave an hour and a half to 2 hours… 3 1/2 hours later I was done. I have no idea why it took that long. The waking up was an awful experience. I thought I’d woken up during the middle of surgery. During gallbladder surgery, they inflate your stomach with CO2, so they can see what they are doing more clearly. They warned about shoulder and chest pain but usually several hours later. Mine was immediate when I woke up. My favorite nurse, Helen was there and knew exactly what was going on and rolled me on my side and essentially tried to burp me. She said the gas needed to come out to get rid of the pain. A couple burps later, the pain subsided some. The surgeon came in and told me I was running a fever and my liver enzymes were really high so they needed to keep me overnight. Some going home 2-3 hours after surgery.

 Shortly after they brought me to my room, I requested some morphine. It helped me sleep. I was hungry, but I was on a clear food diet, and unfortunately the only thing they kept bringing me was the lukewarm broth (gag) and red Jell-O. Did they not read my paperwork? I am allergic to red dye. That’s just how things have to be. But I found a new love, Italian Ice. I kept asking them to bring me some. 

 Dave stuck around until around 8:30 at night, and he brought me some as well. I had one other visitor, my friend Justin, who surprised me with flowers and a nudie magazine for Dave. Yes, a nudie magazine….in case he got bored. 

 Dave brought me the goodies that I needed. I had to put in all my piercings, including my nipple rings, that I had to take out for surgery, but with the exclusion of my belly button ring as it was all taped and bandaged from surgery. My husband also brought me my ipad to play around with, which I was thankful for, as it kept me occupied and I could stalk people on Facebook. 

 The nurses were trying to get me to walk around and get to the bathroom without their help, but Dave had to explain to them that was simply how I walked. I have Lyme and I just had surgery. All high on morphine, the nurse told me I needed to change my Johnny, as more Italian ice had made it on my Johnny than in my mouth, and I attempted to go to the bathroom. Holding onto the rail she handed me my Johnny to change into and mine dropped. I was butt ass naked, with my nipple rings and kind of looking like death and 8 months pregnant from the CO2 that had not released from my body yet. I am sure I was a site for sore eyes!

 It was a sleepless night, as most hospital stays are. I requested some more morphine, or some Percocet’s, as that was the drug they were going to prescribe me for pain, but my blood pressure was too low so no pain meds for me for most of the night until my blood pressure improved.

  I also got stuck next to the crazies and hackers. To one side of me, a man was hacking up a lung and the other side of me, a woman was hysterically crying in the middle of the night. I wanted to yell at her, “hey, this is post op, you made it, quit crying and go to bed!” You also have to know, this hospital, a small town hospital, although they can do general surgeries like this one and offer quite a few other services, is somewhat of a Band-Aid hospital. (Not that I don’t think there are some amazing people on their staff though!)  If something is seriously wrong with you, they will send you to another hospital.  So it was frustrating this lady wouldn’t shut up. Clearly, you can’t be dying or they would send you somewhere else. Oy. 

 My father was suppose to pick me up at 9 in the morning and bring me to his house to hang out for the day until Dave got out of work in the morning. At 11 in the morning, Dave called me to see how I was doing at my Dads. When I told him I was still at the hospital, he was so angry he left work and literally hunted every nurse and the surgeon down to find out why it was taking so long. Paperwork. The doctor needed to sign off that I could eat solid food and she was in surgery. By 3 o’ clock, after a 30 hour hospital stay, I went home.

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