Thursday, September 03, 2009

A Little Piece o' My Guts

I was out of the loop for a few days.

On Monday evening I woke up just around midnight. Initially I thought my son had made some noise that got me up, but I soon noticed an ache in my right side just under my ribs and realized that was what had nudged me awake. At any rate, Carole was up so we began to talk about this and that.

As we talked, the pain increased. What was first just a nagging bit of discomfort soon turned into real pain. Carole's a surgical tech and knows more than most about such stuff so we talked about what it could be. "Gas, most likely," was her initial thought.

Minutes went by. The pain became more and more intense. I realized that it wasn't something as simple as "gas". This was something a lot more serious. There was so much pain radiating through my torso that I could literally not hold still. I tried lying down but that made it worse. I tried standing up, and that made it worse. I tried walking, but that made it worse.

Carole gave me a couple of pain-killers. By this time it was about two in the morning. Our plan was to wait until 8:30 and get my regular physician to see me and see if he could make a diagnosis. However, by three I knew that I could not wait that long.

"Take me to the emergency room," I said.

We got up, got dressed, and drove to University Hospital where Carole works in the maternity ward assisting deliveries and C-sections. At the emergency room they saw me right away. Yet again I am so glad that I work for the Federal government and have excellent health care. If not for that, I'd have been screwed. In short order they had me in a bed with an IV hooked up to my left arm and had taken blood samples and then they administered some kickass pain killers to me via that IV. I was floating and the pain soon receded to a memory. I can see how people can get addicted to opiates.

Later they did an ultra-sound and the physician on call saw that, as he had suspected, I had gall stones and that those stones and gall bladder would have to go. They took me up to a private room and gave me Demarol and powerful antibiotics all through the night. They scheduled me for surgery for ten a.m.. At around nine Carole helped me take a shower and they rolled me down to pre-op. I was happy to see that my big sister Nancy was there to see how I was doing. Later, I was briefed by various nurses and physicians about what they were going to do. It was all pretty simple, it seemed. A nurse shaved my stomach and I had never thought about how hairy I was. Looking at the mound of fur piling up on my gut, I felt like Robin Williams.

In a while the anaesthesiologist hit me with something called Versed and suddenly I didn't care about anything. I vaguely recall being wheeled to the Operating Room. The next thing I remember is waking up in recovery talking to a very nice and very busy nurse. After about half an hour they took me back to my room where we stayed for a few hours until I felt ready to come home. By three pm they were wheeling me down to the entrance where Carole picked me up. And here I am, back at home.

I'm pretty sore from the four incisions, but it could be worse. And nothing's as bad as the pain from the gall stone. It was a whopper. So large that the physician (Dr. McElwee) took a photo of it for University records. And here it is:

Damn, that's gross!


Tracy said...

Haven't dealt with it myself, but have experienced through a couple other people, they say it is EXTREMELY painful. Glad it is done for you! Take it easy recovering!

HemlockMan said...

It hurt. The pain was hideous. I'll be okay, now. Thanks!