Tuesday, 9 October 2007

So that was in me

I had my gall bladder out last Monday (1st). I'm only just starting to feel really human about it all. If you are squeamish, you might want to skip this post.

What can I say about getting your gall bladder removed? Well, the first part of the day made me feel a bit like a turkey voting for Christmas: on the one hand, you're really not looking forward to the pain afterwards; on the other hand, the earlier in the day they do it, the longer your recovery time before they kick you out. As it was, I was second on the list. That gave me enough time to roll some leftover sock yarn into a couple of balls, cast on and knit about 5 rows. I also read for about an hour (knitting gave me too much time to think). My book-shaped distraction: London 1945 by Maureen Waller.

I'm the typical ex-nurse: I know too much and ask all the strangest questions. I was asking the anaesthetist about the anaesthetic drugs they use these days when he knocked me out (pancuronium is off the menu, suxamethonium is saved for emergencies). I never did get to ask if he was going to use thiopentone first. [pout!] Oh, and Hamilton's anaesthetic machines appear to have disappeared (we used them at RMH and, 10 years later, they were one of my audit clients - how's that for a coincidence).

I have hazy memories about the immediate post-op period. Yes, I was in Recovery with lots of other patients. Yes, they did 15 minute obs like we used to. Although they use machines more (I had a pulse oxymeter on my toe and probably an electronic BP machine). My throat hurt like hell and I could only grunt when the anaesthetist told me he was giving me more pain killers and some Maxalon for any nausea. A specimen jar was tucked into my right hand with "you might want to hold onto those" and they took me back to the ward. I slept for the next 4 hours.

I woke up to find DH at the foot of my bed. He'd popped in on his way home from work because he hadn't received the call to come and collect me. My first response was to thrust the specimen jar in his direction and whisper "Here you are. You wanted them." (Whenever the topic had come up, DH had wanted to see my gallstones.)

We were both surprised there were so many and that they were so large.

They gave me pain-killers to take home as well as a couple of dressings. The pain-killers were a complete disappointment: Voltarol and paracetamol. Neither of them came close to touching the shoulder pain, which was excruciating (and is the main side effect of keyhole surgery - the CO2 they use to pump up your belly irritates your diaphram = pain). I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in agony. Thursday was better, but not brilliant, and on Friday I didn't need painkillers.

DH took my specimen jar full of gallstones into work and, being a typical engineer, dissected one:-

FWIW, a 5p piece is 18mm in diameter.

DH reports that the outside is hard, whilst the inside is crumbly.

- Pam (I married a science geek)


amy said...

Oh, yuck. But in a totally fascinating way. I'm glad you came through okay, and I bet you're going to feel a lot better without THOSE taking up space?

Myownigloo said...

Ok, obligatory: "Ew."

But still, fascinating.

I had a bit of difficulty reading the last bit because after the turkey at Christmas reference, I wasn't reading "they gave me a dressing" in quite the right meaning.

I'm glad you're out and your goose wasn't cooked.


MrSnarkyPants said...


Robin said...

I am just geeky enough to admit that I found this all to be fascinating. Gross, but fascinating.