The night before surgery I waited until the very last second to have one more drop of caffeine. I knew we would be up early, I knew my brain would not want to comply and hoping it would last.
At some ungodly hour (6:30 AM) Dave and I arrived at the hospital. It was so early that we dropped our showered-and-ready-for-school boys with their Frosted Mini Wheats, Rasin Bran and backpacks in hand at my most awesome friend’s house. She, unlike me, had already been up for about an hour, drinking her coffee and reading the newspaper. She welcomed the boys, we asked them to be very quiet because her boys were still asleep, they ran into the tv room while she gave me a hug and told me all would be well, and then we were on our way.
We checked in and were immediately ushered into a tiny hospital room. While Dave tapped away on his iPhone, the nurse, who seemed way too serious and very conservative, handed me my plastic-wrapped Bairpaws Hospital gown with accompanying directions (good thing), asked me a bunch of questions and left the room. Even before she left, Dave and I were already joking about all the ports on the hospital gown and realized that if needed, they could even attach a heater hose to one of the ports. “That’s pretty cool.” Dave laughed. Except for my ugly, new and utilitarian brown hospital socks, I took every last bit of clothing and forgotten jewelry off. As I disrobed, Dave opened the package, pulled out the gown and helped me put on my papery-plastic-porthole-covered lavender gown.
Seconds later he was sitting in a corner chair with his black light-weight Patagonia jacket covering his eye. I wished I were him. Instead I called and checked in with the boys. They were cracking jokes. And this is the text I sent them with the accompanying picture, “Hi Kyle and Eli. Notice Dad?”
To which my friend responded, “Eli says he is not surprised to see his dad in that position.”
And of course this text was followed moments later with a picture of Kyle and Eli, “Dear Mom, we want a dog.”
Somewhere in there as the clock ticked and Dave began to snore, our texts digressed. Somehow I found my friend indulging my pre-surgery mind set, “Park City doctor friend just came to say hello and I have no underwear on. Crazy!” To which she responded with a picture of my boys and her boys in the car, on their way to school and these words, “Everybody’s farting.” (I needed this distraction. I needed to know my boys were ok and I needed to make really inappropriate observations.)
Moments after I knew my boys were safely at school another person came and wheeled me into pre-op. They inserted the IV and I immediately had to pee. They unhooked the IV and I walked over to the bathroom. Dave sat there waiting when my doctor, this most-awesome older Czech woman, walked up. We joked. We got serious. We talked about surgery. We talked about my fears. She left. The anesthesiologist came in with a nurse. We talked some more. Thank God my anesthesiologist friend, who also works at this hospital, prepped everyone for me and my concerns.
As I kissed and said goodbye to Dave, they wheeled me about five feet (literally) into the sunny operating room. [foreshadowing] Just as I was about to go under I blurted, “You know, it is allergy season and sometimes I have a hard time breathing.” “Good to know. We’ll have a breathing treatment ready when you wake up.” The doctor responded.
I didn’t even need to count backwards or think of sheep or anything. I was out cold and out cold fast…
“Stridor! Stridor! She can’t breathe!” I heard the screams. I heard them faintly like they were coming from miles away. In and out I went.
“Stridor!” I opened my eyes for another second. There were so many people standing around me. I was afraid and I did not know I could not breathe.
The next time I heard the word “stridor,” I was holding tightly to the nurse’s hand; so tightly I thought I might squeeze her hand off. I looked at her and because she was watching me closely, when she saw me open my eyes, she said, “You sure gave us a scare! You had Stridor.”
My throat was throbbing and I was glad to be awake. I looked around at the sleeping patients in the Recovery Room. No one was standing around them. No one was holding their hand. I was freaked out and dazed as she explained what had happend. When they pulled the breathing tube out, I could not pass air through my throat. Luckily I had mentioned allergies because they were prepared. Luckily I would be ok. “People die from post-operative Stridor or we have to give them a Tracheotomy. You are lucky.” I felt lucky and was not ready to let go.
I did the recovering I needed in the recovery room. I thought it was super cool when my doctor showed me a picture on her iPhone of my diseased gallbladder (I had asked her to take one) and I was glad to be back with Dave and back in the room where we started. We waited and waited and were finally able to go. My surgery was the easy part. It only took twenty minutes.
It was warm. It was bright and we were ok. I wasn’t ready to go home. I was not ready to eat a hamburger either. (My doctor told me that she has had patients who leave the hospital after gallbladder removal and head straight for McDonalds.) “That is crazy crackers.” I told Dave. “Let’s just go to Jamba Juice. I am really craving a smoothy.” We went over, had our juice, took a walk and went home.
Another dear friend had taken Eli after school and when it was time to come home, she picked Kyle up at the bus stop on the way. I could see the relief as the boys saw me and saw that I would be ok. The pain was not bad the first day. I always forget how long the IV pain meds last.
9 thoughts on “And then my Gallbladder (Gladys) was removed.”
I’m SO glad this has a happy ending! I think people often worry about how serious it is to go under, but then you hear stories like this and realize it IS serious business. When my son was born via emergency c-section, I had an allergic reaction to one of the drugs (no longer on the market, btw) and stopped breathing. I cannot imagine my poor hubby–“you have a healthy boy but we are helping your wife breathe with a bag.” All’s well that ends well! And thank goodness for hospitals and great staff! Glad you are back! 🙂
You went home really? that day? wow. that’s amazing! good to hear all went well.
Hey Beth, Rosie got to use the heater hose on the port of her own purple Bair Paws gown when she had her foot surgery in April. I think she was extra cold from being nervous before they started the surgery, so they hooked it up and tucked her blankets around her, and it was really cozy but so funny and weird. Kinda broke the ice for her I think.
Andrea, Yes, a happy ending and truly a new digestive system. (I am still getting used to it.) It really is serious to go under and that day really scared me. As bad as it was, it was also incredibly amazing how quickly I came back. Crazy and lucky! Are kidding about your c-section? Not to do the whole “my dog is bigger than your dog,” but the same thing happened to me. How crazy is that? Glad you made it through too! Happy Move! 🙂
Erin, seriously, I went home that day. I know. Crazy, right? I felt really loopy and terrible for a couple of days, but it was nice to get out of there, especially after the freaky breathing experience. I wanted to get home and see my boys! Thank you for your kinds words.
Hi Emily! I can totally picture Rosie handling the heater hose. That is kind of awesome! Did you take pictures? I bet Rosie was totally into it. I bet it broke the ice. It is so weird. It had to break the ice, you know what I mean?
fuh-reaky! Do you feel 1 million times better without your effed up GB now?
Summer, How did I miss this? I think I must have been distracted by joy. And when I say JOY I am talking about the joy you must be feeling about your new Nikon!
As far as my gallbladder goes, yes, I do feel 1 million times better. Who cares if I have had to re-adjust my digestive system. No big deal. I do not feel so toxic anymore. Thanks for asking. Enjoy your new shutter sound!
I had surgery about a month ago. My Bair Paws gown didn’t have instructions and I had no idea what that baby could do. Do you think they make a home model for winter?
Also, nobody else goes into surgery looking that cute! 🙂
Glad to hear that you are feeling better!