Sunday, February 12, 2012

a tale of two surgeries

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

Actually, it was just the worst of times. The last 3 weeks have been medically eventful and a pretty big downer, to tell the truth. And while I am thankful that both situations were treatable and did not come with long term medical drama, it would have been nice to skip one, or both, of the procedures.

The cyst was sudden. It had been growing for awhile-- I don't know how long, but my suspicion is 6 or 7 months. I was fine, and then I had a small pain in my side. And then the pain was bigger, and then overwhelming, and then insurmountable. By then we were in the ER, and I was on mind altering medicines to try to deal with said pain. Being told I needed to switch hospitals was more frightening than being told I needed surgery. By the time she introduced herself and said she was going in, I had already figured it out. (They don't send you to a neighboring hospital for an ultrasound unless they are pretty sure you need serious interventions.) I had a grand total of 3 hours to think about it-- while still on said mind altering drugs. Was I nervous? In theory I knew I should be, but the morphine said otherwise. And so I flew down the Road to Surgery, no lines, no waiting, and no worry.

This time, however, I knew. From the day after the first surgery, I knew it was coming. I kind of wish the kind radiologist who reviewed my films (pixels?) hadn't called to tell me what was happening, because I quickly learned there was only one cure for an afflicted gallbladder, and it wasn't drugs.

At first I didn't think I'd had any symptoms, so I tried to forget about it. The more I felt like eating, though, the less good I felt. It came to a head when I almost threw up after eating lunch-- a sudden, holy crap, I-am-not-ok moment. A call to the doc confirmed what I was pretending not to know: my gallbladder was not long for this world.

Four days of waiting to meet the second surgeon; three days of waiting for the now scheduled surgery. Seven days of knowing it was coming. Thinking about what could go wrong. Worrying about being couch bound again. I still wasn't completely healed from the first surgery, and I was prepping for a second. To say my defenses were down is an understatement. And yet, the thought of waiting until I was in pain again... the potential emergency room trip... nope, I'll take the scheduled procedure and be grateful.

It also turns out that lower abdominal surgery on your reproductive system and upper abdominal surgery on your digestive system are very different procedures. Both were done laproscopically, which means significantly shorter healing times, but most of the similarities end there. I am healing very differently from the second go-round. I am less hungry, probably because my digestion is affected. I hurt more-- which could be from the position of the incisions... or because I just did this 18 days ago and I'm over it. Either way, I'm happy to say it's getting better. I would imagine I'll be solely on Advil by tomorrow, and I still hope to be back at work by the end of the week.

I can tell you one thing; I don't need to this again, any time soon. That foot of mine is just going to have to wait.

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