At 12:37 am on January 1, 2021 I could no longer take the severe abdominal pain that came with the six hours of vomiting that started 2 hours after I ate dinner on New Year’s Eve. Now your first question is probably why did I wait so long. I hate the ER, I hate the ER more on holidays. I didn’t know what was happening and I thought maybe it was something I ate and it would stop.
How I determine if I go to the emergency room is whether or not I would consider calling an ambulance. Once that answer is yes instead of no then I decided to go. Your next question may be, why the hell did I drive myself. First, I didn’t want my husband to wake up our oldest to watch our youngest. It made no sense to me since I could still manage to drive, even if that meant a trash bag while driving for potential vomiting (after all my morning sickness with my pregnancies was so bad I often used grocery bags while driving for just the thing). Why didn’t I just call an ambulance? Same reason, my kids were sleeping.
At this point I I am supposed to be using my walker as my physical therapist recommended for two weeks because I injured my hip when I fell and walking has become extremely difficult. However, there was no way I was going to be able to get it out of my car with amount of abdominal pain I was having. So, I parked and used my cane to make the long walk from the parking lot. And yes, by this time I had wished I had just called an ambulance because this was insane. In addition, I drove to the ER that was attached to the system of all of my doctors so the portal had all my doctor info, medical history, scans, prescriptions and such (it was a bit further from my house but in the long run it was worth it.
At this point I am practicing my child birth breathing and grunting and moaning as I hold my abdomen and hobble into the ER with my cane. I stopped at security and pulled all the things out of my pockets and again hobble through. To their credit (another reason I go out of my way to this place) they took my vitals and got me to a room quickly. An ER doctor got there to check me while the lady doing admission stuff was still there.
After doing a physical exam he quickly noted it was my gallbladder and ordered an ultrasound. He informed me that after the initial ultrasound I may need to go to radiology for a more thorough one. However, when he came in during the ultrasound I informed him I had gall stones (the technician confirmed, mostly because I kept asking what organs were on her screen and I saw what looked like sand when she was at my gallbladder. I told the doctor it look like I was going to need the other ultrasound and he informed me that I did not because he managed to bring the to me. Woo hoo, I love efficiency in the ER.
Delightful, fucking gallbladder, I then informed them my mother was similar in age when she had hers removed. Apparently there is a genetic component when it comes to gallbladders. I found out later an aunt and grandmother also had theirs removed. After asking if the stones would pass they informed me they would not and a surgeon was coming to talk with me. Side note here, the hospital makes me very nervous and I get chatty and make jokes, A LOT, it makes me feel better. I’ve noticed that the lovely, helpful people that work at hospitals either appreciate it because I’m not yelling at them and most of them have already had very long days or they look at you like they are very uncomfortable with whatever joke I just made.
The worst during my stay probably was when they made me use these insane wipes to wipe down my body pre surgery, I cracked a joke about getting a whore bath. The first time fizzled out, but lucky for me they had to push my surgery to the next morning and that time the nurse helped me with my wipes, we got very close very quickly so I cracked a Joey from Friends “How You doin’?” and advised her we were friends now that she helped me with my whore bath. Turns out, the nurses that had to suffer my jokes hadn’t thought about this process as a whore bath prior to me.
By now, you know that I had surgery to remove my gallbladder, after testing negative for COVID-19 and a CT scan to make sure there was nothing besides my gallbladder causing issues because I have abdominal nerve pain so I am grateful they checked to make sure there was nothing else.
I was on 2 different IV antibiotics for the entire stay at the hospital, in addition to the 3rd antibiotic they gave me during surgery. I was there for about 39 hours, so plenty of antibiotics, on another note my white blood cell count is always higher than “normal” but it reached 19 in the hospital and after all the antibiotics it was 9!!!!! Obviously an infection had hold which makes sense because it was inflamed so much it was on the verge on bursting.
Sans gallbladder now, all my appointments scheduled for the following week were switched to virtual. First up, neurologist, where I wanted to discuss a cyst noted on my MRI for my brain, the doctor’s fellow informed me that this cyst was present on 2018 scan and all scans back to 2014 just never noted for some reason until 2019. That’s encouraging (sigh). On the 7th day of 2021 I had an rheumatologist appointment and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia to go with all other diagnosis. To top that day, the next day I was told the tingling in my lips indicated that I have a “slight allergy” to the oxycodone I was given at the hospital. Nifty.
I’ll end this post with a positive, not that the former portion was very negative. I am glad for the people I currently have in my life. Between my mom, my husband’s parents, my youngest son’s Cub Scout den and a dear friend we haven’t had to figure out meals for the family since my admission to the hospital. No cooking, no driving or stress for me during my recovery and I am very grateful for that.