*CONTENT WARNING: THOSE WHO HATE TMI DONT READ ANY FARTHER. If you ~really~ want to know how Ive been keep reading by all means....just know you've been warned...this is a bit more graphic than my MySpace blog*
Well, what an interesting few weeks this has been. All this time I had been thinking I could fix my belly problems and it turns out I really couldnt. It also turns out that Ive been ill for years and never realized it. Let me back up a bit. All my life I've suffered from IBS and everytime I get overly stressed on stuff, I'd get ...well bound up. Since I've had it all my life, I generally know how to deal with the problem. Grape juice, extra fiber or even some really strong tea usually fix my problem and Im right as rain. Anyhow, these two weeks or so that I was saying that my stomach was off...this is what I thought my problem was and had been dealing with it as I always did. I couldnt figure out what the HELL was stressing me out though. All I knew is that the usual remedies were NOT working at all. I got to the point where I was having extreme stomach pains and at times losing most of what I ate during the day. In an effort to keep the food DOWN, I reduced my intake of food to about a 1/3 of what I was accustomed to. I figured that if it didnt clear up by the Friday after Thanksgiving, I'd go to the doctor's. Well, it got to be the Tuesday before the holiday and I felt better that morning so I ate before heading to bed. Ok so it was a little more than what I had been consuming (1 cup of chicken broth and 12 bowtie pastas)...but not enough to make a person ill. I got up that afternoon and felt uncomfortable again. That same spot ached and wanted to stretch its pain clear across my stomach again, but didnt. It just made me uncomfortable. Around 8pm or so I grabbed a half a bowl of bran flakes to see if I could get things moving so I'd feel better. I figured with the half bowl and the ExLax (yep...I got desparate enough to take ExLax and for more than one day in a row too) I had taken I should feel right as rain and soon. *shakes head* By 9-930pm I was in severe pain again....and none of it moving in the direction it should be. With 2 days ExLax, bran cereal, grape juice and everything else I took to get things moving I should have been whizzin out my ass but that wasnt the case. Next thing I know, Im face down at the toilet losing what little I had just eaten...or at least the lactose free milk part of it. I called hubby and told him when he got home he was to call the dr and make an appointment for that day for me and proceeded to tell him how I'd felt all night. Something told him that I needed to go to the hospital pronto and so he told me to get ready he was on his way. No sooner I hung up than I was face down again in the toilet with the rest of supper coming up. *sigh* I dont know HOW I managed to get ready as I was bent in half and couldnt straighten up by the time he got home. Nevermind that...Im not sure HOW I got in the truck for goodness sakes! We got to the hospital and he had to get a wheelchair so he could get me in the Emergency admittance area. By the time they got me into the exam room I was losing the rest of what was in my stomach and then some I swear. Then began the endless lines of needles and exams to find out what was wrong. I had bloodwork done, an IV put in, a CAT scan, XRays and a probe up the whoopsie-daisy *ugh*. All the time I was swearing that it was my IBS and I didnt KNOW why I couldnt pass anything. After 6 hours of being probed and prodded and stuck with needles n stuff, they came to the conclusion that it WASNT my IBS.....it was pancreatitis due to gall stones.
By 6am on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I was ensconced in a private room on floor 3 of the hospital. That day saw a parade of doctors and lab technitians and a trip to get a sonogram to see what all was in there. From what I was told, the gall bladder and the pancreas share a connection that heads to the stomach for digestion. Every so often, a gall stone or some sludge from the gall bladder likes to break loose and will sometimes get stuck at the opening of the pancreas which makes the bile back up and not move to the stomach to do its job. This pisses the pancreas off and it gets inflamed badly which causes huge amounts of pain.
This is what I'd been going through for 2 weeks. I was informed that if I had let it go any farther, one of my next attacks would have surely proven to be fatal (this will be important to remember later in this entry so make a mental note). In order for them to operate and remove the gall bladder, we'd need to wait for the pancreas to be not so pissed off. This meant an order of NO FOOD AND NO DRINK...just IV for nearly 2 days (yeah...no turkey, no stuffing and no pumpkin pie....that sucked!). Friday night I was placed on a clear diet.... broth, juice, jello, tea or coffee and a popcicle (this too is important for something I'll say later so file this on another post-it note in your brain). By Saturday, I was on a "soft" diet. I took one look at the plate put infront of me and immediately called my nurse. I pointed out all I couldnt eat on it because of a lactose problem and she had it sent back (I'd only been talkin about a lactose problem since day friggin 1 there...sheesh). Finally I get a plate of food I can eat and not be afraid of getting overly sick on. Sunday, one of the techs came in and helped me bandage up my IV arm so I could get a good warm shower. OHHHHHHH MAN that felt good.....more so than usual as I had been headed for the shower that Tuesday before I started vomitting (ok a collective EWWWWWWWWWWWW is in order now). What a mistake that shower was though. Think about it...they got an IV in my dominant arm and expect me to shower by myself. *shakes head*. Well I got cleaned as best as I could...man I wish I had had some conditioner...what a pain in the ass getting the snarls out of my hair afterwards. The nurses finally figured out that my skin was sensitive to certain adhesives this day as when I pulled the wrapping off it left a huge pink stripe on my arm (which lasted for 4 days before it faded so it was still there when I was discharged). Knowing I had surgery coming up on Monday morning, I attempted to get some sleep...this is next to impossible considering the bed I was given. The food quality may have improved in the hospital, but I think the mattress quality has plummited. Maybe it's just me and the fact my pillowtop mattress has me spoiled rotten. Anyhow, I attempted to sleep and of course couldnt. By 230 am, I was on yet another bathroom waddle (no food or drink past midnight but I was on an IV so fluids still were going in and had to come out)...when I got back to bed I realized my arm was wet so I wiped it off figuring I splashed a bit while washing my hands. A moment later I noticed it was wet again. Hmmmmm damn I got a leak. Seems that the skin around the hole got to be too large for the needle and the IV was of no use any longer. *grrr* As such, they had to place a new IV in me. They found a nice vein in the left hand, but needed to use the smallest possible needle for it. *sigh* IVs arent too awefully bad when done in the arm, but in the hand they are extremely painful. So I spent the remainder of my time before surgery in total discomfort. Breakfasttime came, no surgeon....lunchtime, no surgeon....by this time I was getting pissy. I do have diabetes on both sides of the family and when I dont eat regularily, my temper aint the best. By the time 1pm showed up, my surgeon *finally* showed up and explained that the operating room has been backed up today and apologized for the wait. I promptly ripped him as close to a new asshole as I could....reminding him there was diabetes on both sides of my family, I hadnt had caffeine in days, I was uncomfy, exhausted AND I was PMSing too so I wasnt exactly in the most pleasant of moods. He assured me that within an hour and an half to two hours I'd be going in (which meant I was gonna miss supper too that night *sigh*).
They wheeled me down to pre-op to get me ready. It was decided that the needle with the IV in my left hand was simply not large enough for what was needed for the surgery so a new IV would need to be installed. What location did they choose? My right hand, of course. The night before I had signed the paperwork necessary for the surgery so I wasnt going to need that hand right away anyhow. In goes the IV in the right hand and the one in the left? Well it was disconnected but left in just incase it was needed. Once they got the IV in someone discovered that the nurses failed to get me to initial a couple pages *grrr* so I ended up initialling them rather sloppily with my left hand (thank goodness for that proclivity towards being ambidexterous). Hubby left shortly before I went in so he could take care of the animals. I dont remember much after he left. I think they started the medicines to put me out just before he left. From what I've been told, they attempted to inject my gall bladder with a dye to see how many stones were in there. Not to say that there were alot, but the surgeon said that the dye wouldnt even go in because the stones were packed together so tightly. Im guessin someone actually counted them after the gall bladder was removed and found over 100 stones in there. Yeah, you read that right. I'll wait a second while you re-read that sentence. I was also told that repeated attacks from the pancreas could eventually become fatal. If I hadnt had that surgery and let it go another week or more.....well I allow you to draw your own conclusions.
I remember maybe a 30 second period in the recovery area and next thing I know I was in my own room again. I dont remember too much of that night other than the fact my throat felt like it had been ripped clean out of my body. They had me on oxygen with one of those things up my nose. Near as I can figure, on a subconscious level, my brain probably thought that I had a stuffed nose because of that oxygen thing in my nose and as such allowed my mouth the drop open so I could breathe in the night. Unfortunately, since I'd had a breathing tube in my throat for the operation and with me breathing through my mouth that night...it dried the hell out of my mouth and throat. I dont mean a little dry....I mean bone dry to the point of absolutely no moisture. I was crying for ice all night long. The nurses ended up giving me this lemon flavored swab stuff to help moisten the mouth. I cant remember if I was allowed much in the line of meals that day. All I remember is being in pain and the morphine drip I was on....oh and that damn breathing exerciser I had to do to make sure pneumonia didnt settle into my lungs. Tuesday night (around 8pm) I noticed that the IV in my right hand was leaking a bit and the hand was swelling and a touch red so I called the nurse in. Sure enough the needle was no longer in my vein and was pumping the fluids into the tissue instead. *UGH*! So it was decided to move the IV over to the hook-up in my left hand. You probably guessed it by now...that one had popped out too and the skin around the needle was turning red as well. Both IV hook-ups had to be removed from my hand. The nurse attempted to find another vein and after poking into me 3 times called for a lab tech. The lab tech tried 3-4 times and couldnt get one to work. They even sent in a nurse that works in the emergency rooms and she couldnt! What would happen is they'd find a nice vein and attempt to put the IV in and the vein would go *poofies* on them. I finally bitched that if they were so all fire about seeing if I could be released Wednesday why bother putting a new IV in? Just give me some oral pain killers and leave it alone. They were supposedly going to check with my dr about this. I spent all night with no pain killers....Top things all off, all day long and into the night they were testing my blood sugar. I had a tech say "I thought you werent diabetic?" To which I replied, "Im not but Lord knows what they did to me during surgery or possibly they're checking because of the medicines Im on." We also figure it's because my body had such a shock to it...I mean it happens sometimes when women get pregnant so you never know.
Wednesday, the nurses wanted me up and moving a little. Well dammit it hurt. No pain medicine from 8pm the night before and none that morning (plus I was raggin now) and they expected me to be able to move AND be standing up straight? Yeah friggin right! I was on the clear diet for breakfast. The drs and nurses were still begging me for that one thing they want from everyone who's been in the hospital....or at least a passing of wind. I refreshed their memory...I have IBS, Im uncomfy, unrelaxed and raggin...it's un-bloody-likely that Im going to move a bowel much less fart while Im here. I was at least belching good and proper. During the first exam for the day my dr was checking my tummy and pressing on the abdomen to gauge the pain. I asked her how long it took to acquire so many stones. She just looked at me and I told her that I'd had a lactose problem ( or what I had been thinking was a lactose problem) for 10 yrs or so and proceeded to tell her what hurt when I had an attack and how I'd vomit afterwards. She told me it was likely that it wasnt a lactose problem but the gall bladder and pancreas all this time. In other words, with each one of these attacks...well it could have been my last. Anyhow, as I said I was on a clear diet for breakfast. Clear diet consists of broth, coffee or tea (coffee for breakfast, iced tea for the other meals), juice, jello and a popcicle. So I have my breakfast....Im starved so I eat everything but dont drink the coffee. Not 20 minutes later, Im not friggin kidding you, they come in to test my blood sugar. Ok now...re-read that menu again. They then wonder WHY MY SUGAR IS READING AT 157!!! As I was getting an insulin shot you can guarantee that I was telling them all about their stupid clear diet. If you are checking a patient's blood sugar and have them on a clear diet....MAKE SURE IT'S GEARED FOR DIABETICS!!!! Assholes. Oh, and for anyone's curiousity....my dr says 70-130 is normal and I run 93 on an average before meals and about 118 after if Im eating properly. After lunch the dr came back in to see if things were moving yet and if I held my lunch down. Well the belly was talking good and loud and I was belching enough to thank 50 chefs, but nothing moving. My dr decided we were just going to have to make due with what we could get.
About an hour before I was released, my drain was removed from my side. *UGH* Boy was that uncomfortable. Stupid tube created this friction on my skin as it was being removed. Dr said she was going to remove it fast but damn it took forever. I was told because Im a bit larger they had to put more tubing in me for the drainage. Finally...a dr that acknowledges I have a weight problem. Man I hate when they gloss over that shit. Around 30 minutes out from release I was given 2 pain killers (about damn time!). When I got home I thought to take over the sofa because it was a straighter shot to the bathroom incase I need it, but after 3 hours of sleeping there I realized I had a hell of a time getting back off it so Ive since taken over the bed. Hubby is being really good about sleeping on the sofa as he tends to cough alot at night and tends to rock the bed when he does so. Since any jiggling of the bed would hurt, he's decided that the sofa would be good enough for him. The drs have me on the generic for Norco 5.325mg ...1-2 tabs every 4-6 hours as needed for pain. Wednesday hubby went to fill that prescription but they couldnt because the nurse forgot to add something to the note so I had to wait until the next day for it to be filled. Thank goodness I still had that Vicodin left over (it's a 7.5-750 tab). The generic for both Norco and Vicodin is the same. So what I do is take the Vicodin one during the day to manage the pain. At night I take 2 of the other as it's a stronger dose and makes me sleep through the night. In 2 days I hope to start halfing my doses. I gotta call the surgeon tomorrow and make an appointment. I think the staples will be coming out this week. I have 4 holes in me (hubby and I have his n hers matching scars now). The hole for the drain has nothing there. The other 3 holes...2 have 5 staples and 1 has 3. I cant wait for them to come out....but to be honest Im scared to death that it's going to hurt.
Oh....and 6am Thursday morning...after a night's sleep in MY bed in MY house...I farted. Good and loud...something the dr would be proud of for sure. Not only that but I ripped one loose at 630 and 7am as well. Everything else seems to be moving ok too....not as well as usual, but moving.
Oh...and my injuries are starting to itch a little. Now if we can get the pain to come down some.
If you've read to here and are going "EWWWWWWWWW" I dont wanna hear it cuz I DID warn you up there!