When we last left off, I was well on my way to recovery from my bladder surgery. I returned to work on Monday, Oct. 4th and was feeling great. On Tuesday evening, I started getting some sharp abdominal pains. This isn’t really unusual for me, since I’ve had two surgeries for bowel obstructions. Usually, when I get these pains, I wait it out for a while and they pass. On Wednesday morning, I was still hurting when I got up, but was feeling a little better. I ventured forth to teach my classes, but the pain got worse as the morning wore on. That afternoon, I had an appointment with the surgeon who operated on my bladder. He took one look at me and sent me down to the ER since his office is attached to the hospital.
They ran some tests and told me that I had gallstones. I was in the hospital overnight and they released me on Thursday afternoon. The reason they did not want to operate right away was that, due to all the previous abdominal surgeries, it would not be a straightforward gallbladder removal and would come with a high risk of complications. We decided it was best to just wait and see if the problem returned.
Well…it did. The next day. Friday evening I went back to the ER. More tests indicated that I now had a stone lodged in my common bile duct and was developing pancreatitis. I was admitted again, of course, and they told me to prepare for a major surgery on Monday or Tuesday. I ended up having two operations; a small one and a big one. On Monday morning, they went in and removed the stones lodged in my bile duct. Tuesday, they took out my gallbladder.
Before they took me into surgery, they said that there was a 90% chance that they would not be able to complete the surgery laparoscopically and would have to open me up…a big deal when you’ve been cut open as much as I have…and I’d be looking at a 4-6 week recovery and at least a week in the hospital post-op. I told them to do whatever they had to do. When I woke up, I was surprised and happy to find that they had been able to stick with the scopes! They had to make a few more ports than they do for a normal gallbladder removal, but they didn’t have to convert to an open procedure.
I even got to go home the next day! I’m not in a lot of pain, it’s more just surgical soreness now. My energy is practically zero having gone under general anesthesia twice in under twenty-four hours (not to mention the bladder surgery three weeks earlier), but it is slowly coming back to me. I’m taking next week off to continue to recover, of course, but barring any complications, I hope to be back to work the next week. I hate to say that though, because I feel like I’m probably jinxing myself by doing so. It seems like medical complications are just a fact of life for me. Added to this is the worry that I got exposed to COVID while in the hospital. I mean, I don’t know that I did, and I wore a double mask at all times, even when in my room alone, and even while sleeping, but you never know. They tested me three times while I was there and all came back negative, so if I do get sick in the next couple of days, I’ll know it came from the hospital. Honestly, right now that is my biggest fear.
Until next time, friends, take care of yourselves. And each other.