What’s Going Down and Coming Out

I’d been so careful about everything I ingested. Anal even. I checked the nutrition facts carefully so that no meal I consumed went over 6 grams of fat. My staples for months have been rice, beans, and boiled carrots. In a moment of madness I had the audacity to add lean ground turkey to my diet. Around 10pm Tuesday, my abdomen tightened, and every deep breath made me wince.

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Gallbladder attack.

The first ones I had postpartum were like contractions, waves of pain that had me literally writhing on the floor. This one wasn’t so bad, just enough to keep me awake. I can wait this out.

Two hours later, I started to wonder if I should be worried. Seven hours later, I dialed 911 for the first time. Shortly thereafter, I took my first ever ambulance ride!

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So many firsts.

The ER doctor told me he’d contacted the surgeon on call and they were going to start preoperative testing. Emergency surgery. Obviously not what I wanted, but more disconcerting than this was the name of the surgeon on call. A name that I’d gotten from a nurse who worked in his circles.

She’d called him a butcher.

Now, there are many words you can use to describe a surgeon whose work you’re not particularly fond of, but BUTCHER makes him sound like he rifles through his mildewed garage and chucks a few rusty pipe saw blades into his trunk before trundling off to surgery. As soon as I felt my attack subsiding, I hesitantly told a nurse that “someone I knew” had had a “bad experience” with him. I was stabilized, discharged, and told to follow up with my surgeon.

By the time we reached my in-laws house my attack had started up again. I called my surgeon. An hour later Timothy and I were back in the car headed to a different Emergency Room.

The new plan was to have me admitted through the ER and put onto the surgical add-on list. Sometime today I will be put into a medically induced coma while a team of strangers poke, probe, cut and sew me.

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Can you tell I’m nervous?

Gallbladder surgery is one of the most commonly performed medical procedures in the United States. My labs are showing no inflammation, and other than my thyroid issue, I have no medical history. I’m not at risk for complications. Still, I hugged my daughter a little tighter than usual, and want to stop the clock every time my husband kisses me.

Why am I so…

Some weird things I’ve learned through this process:

  1. My guilt complex is so tremendous that I spent much of yesterday apologizing. I even apologized for not being in active pain, as though nothing but agony could justify my presence at the hospital, or the concessions being made for me with the staff and facilities.
  2. I say, “this is the worst” a lot. My husband reminded me a few TITW’s in that this wasn’t ACTUALLY the worst. It’s true! It’s not the worst that I’m in an ambulance. It’s not the worst that I’m in the hospital or will be having unplanned surgery. The worst would more likely be, I dunno, finding my husband in the arms of his lover just as I was delivering the news of the imminent impact of forty-two nuclear warheads at various locations across the continent of North America…
    …or a head cold. Those are THE worst.
  3. Lastly, and most importantly, people look at you funny when you’re being transported on a hospital bed. They avert their eyes with shame for staring at you and your flimsy backless gown, presumably because they are glad they’re currently ambulatory. I could see the scrolling text behind their eyes, I wonder what’s wrong with her. They shuffle to the side with a little shrug that looks like they’re trying to tuck themselves into their own pockets. I hope it’s not contagious. Or cancer. Half glance in your direction. I wonder if she’ll ever leave this place…alive.

On a non-sarcastic note, can I just end this post with a reminder that my husband is the kindest, gentlest, and most selfless man who ever lived. He slept on the floor beside me in the hospital, despite my insistence that he go home and get some proper sleep. He is endlessly encouraging and seemingly excited at the prospect of waiting on me hand and foot for my week or two of recovery.

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I love him.

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