Who Needs That Organ, Anyway?

I am sitting at my dining room table (since I really can’t handle the office just yet) recovering from a cholecystectomy on Friday. You may be wondering what exactly a cholecystectomy is… I was. It is fancy surgeon-speak for having your gallbladder removed. You will be happy to note that there are no photos with this post.

You may be wondering if I had gall stones, as most people did. Nope, no stones. So what was the problem? Apparently in some really special people, their gall bladders just stop working, causing gallbladder attacks with some frequency. Well, my first attack was over four years ago and I have been feeling like crap ever since. Nobody could figure out what was wrong: I had the nuclear medicine gallbladder test (truly horrible – I do not recommend it), a colonoscopy (easy-peasy, even the pre-test laxative isn’t that bad… plus you lose a couple pounds!), and ultrasounds (really easy). Oh, and I can’t forget the scan that makes you feel like you pee on yourself (but actually don’t). Now that is a good time.

All came back negative yet I still had the pain with some frequency. When I went to see my doctor for my annual visits, he would ask if I still had the pain. We had this conversation many times:

Doc: Well, what are you doing about it?

Me: Ignoring it.

Doc: I really don’t like that.

Finally, a couple of months ago, after eating one and a half bites of ice cream, I was in excruciating pain and turned completely white. My friend with me made me promise I would go see my doctor the next day. I told her not to hold her breath. Alas, three days later I still had the pain, so I made the appointment. After some further discussion, he decided it was my gallbladder and sent me to see a surgeon. Three weeks later, when I finally got in to see the surgeon, he agreed but wanted me to go back and get that hideous nuclear medicine test done again. Boo! I complied and it proved that my gallbladder was not functioning properly, so it needed to come out.

Surgery was on Friday and today is the first day I have attempted to put in contact lenses or even take a peek at the computer. I have four relatively small incisions on my stomach that are currently a lovely shade of black and blue. My incisions are covered with glue, so I have no bandages (which means I can see exactly how black and blue I really am). I have no restrictions on eating, although the first two and a half days I couldn’t eat anything, first from the anesthesia then from the percocet that kept me up all night vomiting. (I know, it’s gross, but at least you don’t have to live it…)

Every single person I have talked to about this surgery (and there have been many) talk about how easy it is and how it is no big deal. I’m here to tell you this: maybe in two weeks it will be no big deal, but right now, IT SUCKS. I’m also going to tell you this: in order to make sure they get the right organ (that they then, essentially, suck out through your belly button), they have to fill your entire midsection up with gas. Yeah, that is a lot of fun. It has to come out somehow, and right now my stomach is so bloated I look like I could give birth to a big, round gas-baby. I’m told that will subside as well, only I have no idea when. I’ll let you know. Better yet, if you have had the surgery, could you please let me know???

I will leave you with this final thought: as I was lying in the outpatient facility, compression boots on (“they’ll feel like your husband is massaging your legs!” “hmmm… I wonder that feels like…“), hairnet on, glasses on, IV stuck in my hand and generally looking fabulous, my surgeon came around and asked if I was ready. My reply? “Are you ready? I don’t have to do anything today. It is all you.

Apparently he was prepared.

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