I'm finally giving in to the many requests for more details. Just remember when I've bored you silly that ya'll asked for it. :P
On Wednesday, June 7th my dad & stepmom came to Houston from Louisiana. The plan was I would go in the next day for gall bladder surgery, stay overnight, and they would help me for the next few days until I could take care of myself. So before daylight the next morning they drove me to the hospital and I was prepped and wheeled into surgery. This is where the plans went out the window.
I would end up being in the hospital for six days and I wouldn't be conscious enough to know what was going on around me until sometime Friday afternoon. And then it would be several more days before I could stay awake for more than a couple of hours at a time. It would also be several weeks before I could talk without pausing every few sentences because I couldn't think of the word I needed. A frightening, but harmless side effect of the large amount of anesthesia used.
Things began to go wrong during the surgery. Within moments of attempting to do the surgery laproscopically, the doc knew my recovery was suddenly going to be much harder and longer. He set aside the tiny cameras and picked up a scalpel. Through a 24cm incision he removed my gall bladder that was so full of stones that it had dropped down behind my liver. While removing it, he noticed that I also had liver damage. Even though I've never been much of a drinker (except for about four months while at college) and tested negative to all types of hepatitis, I had cirrhosis. I'll have to see a specialist before we'll know the severity or the extent of it. Best case scenario is I will just have to "baby" it for the rest of my life. Worst case scenario is I will eventually need a transplant. Only time and a specialist will tell.
My surgeon is a pro so although he was worried about me he did an excellent job. Despite me making it harder on him. More than once during the surgery I began to wake up. He told me that he had never had a patient need as much anesthesia as me. His assistant said she lost count of how many times I tried to wake up but she figures it was about 6 or 7 times.
Although I know that I was awake several times on Thursday, I have no memories other than a vague moment in my hospital room with my stepmom holding my hand and seeing my dad at the end of my bed. I have another blurry memory of early Friday morning. My surgeon was standing just inside the door almost as if he was afraid to come in. I'm told I pouted at him and told him I didn't like him because he gave me a big owie. I don't doubt that I did because big owie doesn't even begin to cover it.
My first clearer memory was Friday afternoon. At which time I became aware of several things. I acquired a few attachments. An IV (expected), a catheter (expected), a nasal oxygen tube (sort of expected), a feeding tube (completely not expected), and a medieval torture device cleverly disguised as a very large and VERY tight binder or girdle (not only not expected but freaking painful).
The IV was in until the day I was released. The catheter was in until Monday. I stopped using the oxygen on Monday because it bothered me. The feeding tube came out Saturday afternoon, but it would be Sunday morning before my stepmom could convince me to eat anything. And then it was only a bite. It would be a day or two before I could manage more than that and it would be a couple of weeks before the smell of food cooking would stop making me nauseous every time. Sometimes the smell of something will still creep up on me and make my stomach roll.
As bad as it was for me, my stepmom had a rougher time. She got almost no sleep and had to answer questions and phone calls from my friends, family, and work. My cell phone rang nearly non-stop during that first weekend and didn't slow down much after that. But she did it all with a smile and only one night off when I was stronger. She's an amazing woman. In fact I've got four pretty great parents. My stepmom & dad haven't left my side since the surgery despite having a fairly busy life of their own. My dad is on disability due to a bad 18-wheeler accident, but my stepmom is not working while they are here. Thankfully her wonderful employers have someone filling in so her job will be there when she gets back.
Well I think that's enough for now. I'll fill in a few more details at a later date, I promise. Trust me, I've just skimmed the surface with this entry.
Thanks to everyone again for all the thoughts, prayers, and love. Some days the only thing that made the pain bearable was knowing that you all were out there sending me so much love that I could feel it like a warm, safe hug. Just know I'm sending you much love in return.