Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Cholecystectomy

Everything you never wanted to know about my Lab Chole.  This story actually starts maybe 9 months to a year ago when I started getting stabbing pains in my back.  I just figures I was having a backache from carrying the kids, groceries or what have you.  The pain would come and go but over time it started to get worse, last longer and included sever abdominal pain.   Last Thursday November 17th I had fallen asleep on our couch around 10:00 and @ 11:00 I woke up with a really bad backache, I figured I had slept weird on the couch but when I went upstairs to bed, I soon realized that something else was amiss.  My entire back and abdomen hurt so severely I couldn’t sleep, walk, or sit.  Every position I tried was horrible, @ around 3 a.m I decided to try a hot bath.  That help a very little and I spent the entire night trying to get my sleepy husband to rub my back as that was the only thing that would alleviate some of the pain. Friday morning I’m still in a lot of pain and I start to throw up bile,  it was horrid.  So Cameron stayed home from work and we called the doctor.  I tried to explain my problems to a nurse, but I think she only was hearing what she wanted to hear.   By this time I think I’m having a kidney stone because all my pain started  in my back.  So when I tell her I’m throwing up and I’m very dehydrated, she I guess totally disregards that main problem that I’m telling her about i.e. the extreme pain all over my back and abdomen and goes for.  Oh you’re throwing up and that is making you dehydrated and causing you to have pain.  So she talks to a doctor and they send me in to have I.V. fluids at some infusion place.  LUCKILY there is a nurse there who does the infusion, and I explain to her that I’m not throwing up because I’m sick and it’s dehydrating me, but because I’m in so much pain, I explain to her what’s been going on and she agrees with me and calls my doctor and talks to them about what’s going on.  So after my infusion, which doesn’t help AT ALL.  I go and do some labs. By this time it’s Friday evening, the nurse suggests that if I’m not feeling better, to go to the ER.  Well I don’t feel better, but I also don’t go to the ER because I’m hoping things will just magically get better.  After another night of very little sleep, I call the doctor and this time I actually get to talk to him, he says my white blood cell count is high, but that could be because I was throwing up.  AT THIS POINT I WANTED TO SCREAM!!!  That I wasn’t throwing up before the backache but because of it.  Luckily he listened to me and as I was describing the pain to him and where it was he finally says.  Jaime I think you have a gallbladder problem.  But it’s Saturday and the Saturday before Thanksgiving.   So he says he could call me in some pain bills and antibiotics and I could see if I could make it until Monday and make some appointments with another doctor before everyone goes on vacation, or I could go to the ER.  He then says he wants to do some checking and he’ll call me back.  So about 30 minutes later he calls me back and suggests I go to the ER that they will be expecting me.   So we decide to take the kids with us, not knowing how long all of this will take.  After feeding them lunch and getting everyone ready, we get to the ER at about 1:00.  It’s a typical ER visit very SLOW.  First you check in with the front desk and then wait for about 45 minutes for someone to check your ID and insurance cards, then you wait another 45 minutes for a nurse to check your blood pressure, weight, medical history, then you wait another 45 min for someone to take you to an exam room, then you wait 45 more minutes for a nurse to come in and get your labs started.  Then you wait about 2 hours to see a doctor.   Finally my labs come back and they decide to start  IV fluids again because, I’m still very dehydrated, and my urine is a really rusty color.  Luckily for me Smile I get a student nurse who attempts an IV and fails and gives me quite possibly the best bruise I’ve ever had.  (Paytyn keeps telling me that it freaks her out.)  Then the real nurse takes over and gets and IV started.  They also order and ultrasound to check out my gallbladder.  So to help with the pain they give me some Dilaudid which does help lessen the pain pretty quickly.  Then the ultrasound guy comes and gets me and wheels me down to start the ultrasound.  He takes lots of pictures and as he is typing his report and talking to the radiologist I start having episodes of shaking.  My head, torso and legs would uncontrollably shake, then they would stop for about 45 seconds then I would shake for about 5-10 seconds and this would repeat itself.   Well they had never seen anyone do this before as a reaction to Dilaudid so of course everyone and their CNA had to stop by and see the crazy shaking lady.  They called it something but I can’t remember what it was, and told me it wasn’t a common reaction to drugs anymore, but it was something that they use to see with other drugs that they used to use.  Finally I guess everyone who wanted to see it did, and they decided to have mercy on me and give me some Benadryl.  Which helped and within 5 or so minutes I stopped shaking.  So after all the doctors have seen my labs, and ultrasounds they decide to admit me overnight.  They start some really strong antibiotics which I’m on until I leave on Tuesday morning.   Cameron and the kids have been waiting in the waiting room for hours, Cam said the kids did pretty good. So they left to do some grocery shopping and to get dinner while I was wheeled up to AAA which stands for Acute something, something.   Where they get you admitted and try to find you a room.  This is a place you share with other people so that was kind of weird, and you have no privacy for instance the guy next to me was in because he had ear surgery and it had gotten infected and the old guy across the room from me had fallen and he was scared to go back home.  I learned all of that without even trying.  Luckily they found me a private room in 2nd surgical and I  only had to stay in AAA for about 45 min.   When I got to my room they set me up with a pic of morphine, which helped the pain but never took it all the way away. BUT at least I could finally sleep by this time I haven’t slept or eaten in 48 hours.   Cameron and the kids came to say goodnight and left me there while they all went home.  The first night wasn’t too bad, there were some great college football games on I happily watched the Ducks lose and Baylor win plus I got some sleep!   By now the morphine is starting to give me a migraine.   First they try Tylenol but that doesn’t do anything to alleviate my headache.  So the doctor orders some stronger headache stuff, but before I can get it my nurse changes and the new nurse gives me plain Tylenol again, I thought she would have known to give me the stronger stuff so I just assumed that’s what I was taking.   Luckily, after another 4 hours she gives me the right medicine and my headache goes away.  Around 6 a.m. Sunday morning they come to take my labs, very soon after that I get a visit from my surgeon who tells me that my labs have gotten worse, and my bilirubin has gone up.  Then he tells me that 1. It could be because my gallbladder is just really, really sick or 2. I have a gallstone that has lodge itself in my common bile duct.  And if that is the case then I need to have surgery a.s.a.p as that condition can be life threatening, it’s also a more invasive of a procedure to rectify.  So he orders an MRI, meanwhile my doctor comes to visit and encourages me to have surgery and just doesn’t see things getting better for me.  He also says he can prescribe me a anxiety medicine for the MRI if I need it, but we both think I’m a pretty calm person and won’t need it.  I already feel like I’m being stuffed full of a million meds, so I was happy to forgo something.  Cameron dropped our kids off at a friends house and was there before I went down for the MRI, thank goodness!! So I was a little freaked out when I saw how closed in I would be in the MRI,  and I wasn’t sure if I could do it,  but the tech let me put an arm up  and out under my head and I could tilt my head back enough to look out and then I was fine.  luckily the MRI was really fast and in 30 minutes I was done, and it resulted in good news, I didn’t have a common bile duct obstruction!! I was really glad to hear that.  Because there wasn’t an immediate crisis, I decided to continue with the current treatment all day Sunday, to see if I could avoid surgery.  So Sunday afternoon I mostly just laid around hoping that everything would get better, Cameron stayed for awhile and then went and got the kids in the afternoon and brought them in for a visit.  They didn’t stay very long and left for the night.  I’m now going on 3 days without any food and a couple of stints where they wouldn’t let me have anything by mouth, for about 8 – 12 hours. Around 11 I decide to stop using my morphine to see how much pain I was still in, and to see if I really could go home.  While I was in bed my pain wasn’t too bad, if I didn’t move or breath too deep I felt okay.  So I decided I need to find out if I was getting better in the pain department or not.  At 2:30 a.m. someone comes to take more labs, and I basically crumble.  Not taking the morphine was a horrible idea, I’m in tons of pain, I was all alone, and someone came and woke me up at 2:30 for labs that I know could have waited, my nurse is horrible and never comes to help me when I need it, I’m not suppose to get up by myself because my blood pressure has been really low this whole time like 80 over 50.  Anyway I’m an emotional wreck and I finally make the decision to have surgery.  So at midnight I went on Nothing by mouth again so I could have surgery on Monday afternoon.   Monday morning Cameron get the three older kids off to school and drops off our little two at our friends house, and heads in to the hospital.  We have a few hours before surgery, at around 12:00 they come to take me down to admitting in the OR.   They get all my info, I sign a consent form and they put this plastic puffy blanket over me that blows hot air all over my body.   Then you just have to lie there until it’s time for your surgery.  The anesthesiologist came and talked to me about what he would be doing and truthfully the anesthesia worried me way more that the surgery itself.  I just don’t respond well to it, even when I had epidurals, it just does something weird to me every time. But you can’t have surgery without it so I ignored my worries.  Then they tell me that my surgery should only be about an hour to an hour and a half and that after the surgery I will wake up in a recovery room and I’ll be there for about an hour then I’ll be moved back to my room.  Finally it was time to go, so I had to take out my contacts which really stunk, because I couldn’t see anything or anyone.   When they wheeled me into the OR it was really weird, it felt like I had gone back in time or something, it was really bright and all white, which I knew that it would be but it had a totally different feel than I expected.  I can’t describe it any better than that.  My current IV had crusted over or something since it hasn’t been running the hour that I’ve been sitting waiting for surgery, so while someone works on getting it open, the anesthesia guy tries to start on in my hand, unsuccessfully so he moves to the other hand, and gets it start and the exact same time as the other person gets my original IV cleared.   So they use the old on but leave the new one in too.  The move me over to the operating table and put these inflating compression things on my legs to help prevent blood clots, then they start me on oxygen, then he gives me a shot and tells me it will pinch a little, then I’m gone.   Then what feels like 1 second later I hear people yelling my name, and I’m in more pain than I was before I went into surgery, my mouth is bone dry and I’m having a really hard time breathing.  And people keep yelling at me and telling me what time it was, which I thought was strange, because I didn’t really care what time it was (it was 4:00 BTW) I keep asking for ice chips and at some point I think the nurse tells me to go easy on the ice chips, and something about taking it easy at Thanksgiving dinner.  I also couldn’t figure out what ice chips and Thanksgiving dinner had to do with each other, later Cameron pointed out the fact that she could have been talking to someone else.  After I have laid there in crazy pain,  struggling to breath for what felt like not very long they took me back up to my room.  Little did I know that poor Cameron has been waiting for hours for me to come back, my surgery went really quickly and I was done in about an hour and they told him I would be back in my room within the hour, BUT I wasn’t.  Apparently they had a hard time waking me up, because the muscle relaxer they gave me so they could put in the breathing tube during surgery wasn’t wearing off like it should and they were worried that the medicine that they gave me to counteract the muscle relaxer would actually wear off before the muscle relaxer did.  Luckily for me that didn’t happen.  When I got to my room they used this really cool “hover craft” thing to get me from one bed to the other not that I knew that but that’s the report from Cameron.  So here comes the part of the story that’s kind of embarrassing and that was me being a total jerk, I seriously woke up in the worst mood of my entire life.  I was like the spawn of Satan, I’m not kidding.  I was horrible and mostly to Cameron.  I couldn’t open my eyes at all, and every time I started to go to sleep it felt like I was turning off, and it would jerk me back awake (that lasted for days), the anesthesiologist came in to talk to me about what happened, and told me if I ever had to have surgery again to mention it to them, I had no idea what he was talking about, or what he said.  No one could do anything fast or good enough.  Every noise, voice or action grated on me, it was a horrible feeling.    I was still in more pain than I was in before and all the doctor had prescribed for me in the hospital was Tylenol (because he expected me to go home after) Seriously when I found that out, I almost killed someone.  My blood pressure was still really low, and my pulse was really low, I still had to have my compression things on my legs and they were totally annoying plus I felt like CRAP! It wasn’t long before the nurse and everyone else taking care of me decided I probably shouldn’t be going home.  Finally at exactly 9:10 p.m 8 hours after I started my surgery, I got up to use the bathroom and when I came back to bed I was totally normal again.  I could open my eyes, and I felt like the fog had finally lifted, I was still in a lot of pain, but a least I was back to normal.  And thankfully Cameron had found sitters for our kids overnight so he could stay the night with me, and thankfully he didn’t leave  me after how horrible I was to him.  The doctor finally said I could have some other pain stuff, which help but it made me really dizzy.  Tuesday morning I still felt like crap, but I was ready to get out of there.  They brought me breakfast the first food I had since Thursday night at 5:30, and after 4 and 1/2 days without food the stuff they brought me was horrid (not that I expected much I have given birth 3 times in this hospital) plus I just didn’t feel like eating yet, so I gagged down the 1/2 of an apricot and the 1 blueberry that was sitting on top of it.  Cameron had left really early to go get the kids and get them ready for school, then he picked up the younger two, then he picked up my mom from the airport, then he came and we didn’t have to wait long to be discharged.  At one point Cameron asked me if it hurt as much as natural childbirth ( I have done that 3 ish times) The answer NO! not even in the same ball park, if I had to endure the pain that comes with the last 5-10 minutes of labor for a week I would have driven off a cliff by day 2.   But with that said I would rather do natural childbirth then endure a week like that again, as it has never taken me a week to deliver a baby.  Mostly the next few days involved me sitting on the coach, taking pain medicine every 4 hours and waiting to have some relief, I couldn’t shower until Thursday, so that was a pretty big deal, I have never, ever in my life gone that long without showering, I did have shower Sunday morning in the hospital, but still that’s a lot of days without a shower.   On Friday my mom left really early in the morning, I wish she could have stayed longer!  After she left I felt so stir crazy I just wanted to get out of the house, so we went shopping for the kids Christmas presents, I felt pretty horrible the whole time, really light headed, hot, and weak, so that didn’t last very long, but I was glad to be out of the house.  Saturday I was feeling much improved, until the evening when I started getting a cold and my eye started hurting, by Sunday morning I had pink eye and wanted to gouge my eye out of my head.  Luckily we had some pink eye drops from the last time the kids had pink eye.  I used those all day Sunday and by Monday morning, my eye was still pink but a least it didn’t hurt anymore.  Then on Monday I got a sever sore throat and body aches.  When it rains, it pours I guess.  But today I’m feeling much better!  My bellybutton still gives me some pain, and I’m really tired.  Every time I do anything like clean, or cook, I have to take a nap afterword.  Luckily I haven’t had to do much of that, I’ve tried to put my o.c.d about having everything clean away for a minute, and I must say my house is messier than it’s every been.  And we have had 3 friends bring us dinner, 2 totally by surprise, so that was really nice, I think Cameron was getting tired of doing it.  After a week and a half  I still only wear pj’s and I haven't put on a bra either but the hardest part has been not being able to do my job as mommy.  I still can’t pick up the kids and it’s hard for them to even sit on my lap because it hurts, but I know eventually everything will get back to normal.   We’ll also be fighting it out with the insurance company.  We literally had just switched insurance the day before this happened, and it seems like it could cause us some problems, hopefully that will all get worked out. So thanks to everyone that helped either with the kids, or dinners or just moral support it really means a lot to us and to our kids.  THANKS!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


You know you’re really sick on Thanksgiving when the only picture you have is of the Turkey!!  We spent a quiet Thanksgiving at home with out little family and my mom.  They did a great job with the dinner even though I really couldn’t enjoy it. 021

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Flour Man

This is what happens when you bake bread a lot, and buy flour in 50 lbs. bags and then leave it out on the counter so your husband can fill up your flour bucket for you.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Soccer 2011

Come fall soccer starts to take over at the Southam house and we all love it!!!  The kids are all really good little soccer players and it’s fun to watch them.  Though the weather isn’t usually this nice.