Sunday, March 31, 2013

Gallbladder Be Gone!

I finally had that pesky organ removed! It was such a strange feeling being in the hospital bed with no pain. I sat back, read my book, and enjoyed peace and quiet. I was joking with the nurses that I came to the hospital to have surgery just so that I could have a day off! They would see on my chart that I had two small children and say, "Oh, you're busy!"
My first gallbladder attack was when Ada was only 2 months old. Evidently it's very common to have problems with your gallbladder after having babies. Since then, I have had 4 more attacks. Every time I went into the ER, the ultrasound would show that there were stones in my gallbladder, but that my organs were not in distress and my blood work was fine as well. Every time I would ask them to take it out, and they'd say no. You're young, healthy, and it will pass. Well after this last attack, I was up all night throwing up and Matt had to take the next day off work. I was fed up and knew that I couldn't go on living this way! It didn't matter what I ate, one attack was after a salad while everyone else ate pizza. I just needed it to be out. There was no way I could go on wondering what was going to trigger an attack. I was afraid to eat and scared to fall asleep. And there is no way you can be a good mother after you've spent the night hugging the toilet!
So, I scheduled my surgery and opted for robotic laparoscopic gallbladder removal. Because A: Technology is awesome and B: The robot let my surgeon have 3D vision and more mobility. It was really neat, he told the robot what to do from his little area then came bedside to finish up when he was done. (That's not my surgeon below.)
No make-up, headband, hospital gown. I sent this to Matt with the caption, "Bringing sexy back!" Yes, I'm fully aware that I'm working the angles in this pic. Hospital gowns are giant tents of unforgiving cloth.

Everything went according to plan and they even got me in ahead of schedule. Everyone was extremely nice, my first nurses Barbara and Kathy, and the Kevin dude who rolled me into the waiting area. My anesthesiologist was Dr. Plum, with the needle, in the operating room. He was great and talked to me about his Jawbone UP bracelet that I noticed and really want!
I really wanted to see the robot, and Dr. Lee said I would when they wheeled me into the operating room. Not the case! The last thing I remember is, "Okay, Kara. Now you're going to go to sleep." And I did :)
When I woke up, I was in a recovery room with a nurse who looked like Roger Sterling from Mad Men.
I asked him if anyone had ever told him that before, and he said yes. But that he doesn't see himself like that. He had the same white curly hair and I loved him. He called me sweetie and rubbed my arm. I was in a ton of pain coming out of the anesthesia, and he made sure to give me more morphine. Evidently I have a high tolerance for that stuff, because they kept pumping more into me and I was still in pain. Then they gave me fentanol and it finally took the edge off. I was so tired and just wanted to sleep, but every time I would drift off, my breathing would become shallow and my other nurse, a little Philippino lady named Grace, would yell, "BIG! DEEP! BREATHS, KARAAAAAA!" I didn't care for being yelled at, so I learned to start taking deep, exaggerated breaths the second my machine would beep, letting me know I wasn't breathing deep enough.
I stayed in recovery for longer than expected because of the pain. I didn't want to go to another room where they'd only be able to give me oral pain meds. Once I finally got some water (I hadn't had anything to drink for 36 hours) and food in me, I was feeling better and ready to go home. Matt picked me up and the girls were so happy to see me!

Ada picked these daisies for me to make me feel better :)
I went home and slept for a few hours, then came upstairs with Matt when the girls went to bed. He worked from home on Thursday and Friday and was super dad and husband! We had Marina & Stacy watch the girls too, thank you SO much! It was such a big help to us.
Friday I laid low and just tried to relax. I walked around the house to try and get the air out of my body, it really makes your back and shoulders sore! My mom got here on Friday evening and it's been so nice having her here. The hardest part for me is not being able to pick up my girls, so it's nice that they are getting some extra snuggles from someone else.
I went shopping with my mom yesterday, and was surprised at how good I felt. Shopping is a completely different game without kids and a stroller!
Today I went to church and did okay. Thank goodness for painkillers :) I was about to fall asleep a few times, but I was glad I went. Sorry to anyone I talked to if I didn't make sense!
Easter has been wonderful. Friday night we decorated these little guys:
We didn't use the dye at all and they were mess-free. Thanks Target! Notice how Humpty Dumpty has a battle wound...he's dangerous.
We had an unconventional Easter dinner of Baked Ziti, but it was perfectly delicious & easy. My sweet girls in their new church outfits from Nonnie :)
Ada's been worried about me...sleeping by my side and checking on me every morning. I woke up yesterday to her rubbing my arm :) 
Thank you to everyone for the well-wishes. I am hoping that this recovery will continue to go well and that I will be able to continue training for my half marathon as soon as possible! 

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