How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ah, the holidays. Filled with family, fun, food... And for me, pharmaceuticals!!!!

Yes, Christmas Day for mom and I was spent in the emergency room of one of the local hospitals. Christmas Eve day was wonderful (and busy!). Got up, made some cranberry sauce, met mom for breakfast, bought groceries, cut up veggies/cheese/meat for appies and dinner, cleaned house, took the niece and nephew to see The Wizard of Oz at the Jubilee, made dinner, exchanged some prezzies and then went to bed by 7pm. Whew. Told you it was busy.

I woke up around 9 for no reason, then fell back asleep. At 12:16 according to my clock, I woke up again, this time with the feeling of an enormous gas bubble in my tummy. Oh no, thought I. Not today, why today? What was it the fabulous Dr. H said to do the next time this happens? Oh yes, pop a bunch of antacids to see if it helps. So, I too 2. Extra strength. Nothing. Waited 20 minutes, took another one. Nothing. Waited another 15-20 minutes and took another. Still nothing. Hot bath. Mild relief. Got out of tub - pain comes back. It tapered off a bit more around 4am, long enough for me to make some pie crust cinammon rolls. By the time they came out of the oven 15 minutes later...the pressure had gone but turned into a sharp intense pain across my entire abdomen. Took 2 more antacids and a couple of disgusting swigs of milk of magnesia. Nothing. Another bath. The pain in my abdomen would go away while I laid down in the tub but was replaced by strong pain in my back which went back to the abdomen when I got up again. By 730ish, I had had enough. Dr. H had said that intense pain is always a valid reason to go to the hospital. Well, I was in intense pain and it was time to go.

Mom and I cabbed it to the nearest hospital. There were no waits, no crowds. I practically crawled through the front door and up to the front counter. Checked in, hit the bathroom to throw up (yep, pain was that bad), sat down and they called my name. WOW. Last time I went there to be with mom when she had food poisoning, we waited 4 hours (it was a few years ago). They brought me a wheel chair and took me away (I made mom come with). I got changed into a gown that refused to stay shut and crawled onto the most uncomfortable bed I've ever encountered - worse than any futon I've ever had the displeasure to use. Within 1/2 hour, I had peed in a cup, given a bunch of blood and been hooked up to an IV (my first!). A shot of liquid gravol and a pain killer that was supposed to help with inflammation as well. No help whatsoever although the gravol did take away the feeling like I needed to throw up every few minutes.

Two hours in and they moved me to the ultrasound unit to take a look at my gallbladder. Sadly, because the drugs weren't working, everytime they ran the probe thingy across my right side, the pain was so intense I started to cry. The whole procedure took about an hour because the tech had to have the ultrasound doctor come and confirm her findings. They both came to the same conclusion - gallstones. Back to the ER where they gave me morphine for the pain. Instant success. The abdominal and back pain disappeared. We waited patiently for the results to be sent to the ER doctor and hooked up a second bag of saline. Meanwhile I let the nurse (with the fabulous reindeer antlers!) know that the morphine worked for the pain but now I was having the gas-like pressure again in the centre of my abdomen, righ under my ribs. Off she went and quickly returned with a third painkiller (began with a T...tryp...something) which was...AMAZING. All the pain went away. And lasted. Within an hour I was back to my old self. Well, relatively speaking.

The ER doctor (the fabulous female Dr. H) popped in to check on me and give me the diagnosis. Gallstones. Yep. Massive gallbladder attack. She wants to wait about 1/2 hour to see if I continue to feel better. If it does, I'll get sent home but can expect to have surgery in the new year. If the pain returns, then she'll call down the surgeon and set something up as soon as possible. Thankfully, the relief lasted and, according to the Doc, my gallbladder "relaxed" enough for the stone which was trying to escape to fall back inside. Weird but there you go. After about 8 hours hooked up to an IV and wheeling myself back and forth to the bathroom, I was discharged. Big Brother thankfully left his turkey cooking at home and picked us up. Unfortunately, Mom and I were so tired by this point that we opted out of Christmas dinner. We went home, opened our presents, fed the kittehs, ate some dinner, and then went to sleep. In bed by 6PM. Today, I'm feeling well but have a tightness on both sides of my chest. Not sure if that's a side effect of the medication or the IV, or the pain I was in all day and hunching over. Regardless it's managable. I've been given percocet (a 4th medication!) in case the pain returns (which I'm hoping it doesn't).

Now, I'm relaxing Watching Survivor Samoa (I love Russell), knitting and trying to eat little bits of food that (fingers crossed) won't cause my gallbladder to spasm. I'm also waiting for Big Brother or Superduper Sister in Law to hopefully drop off some leftovers for us to enjoy :) hint hint hint.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

It's a horrible way to spend Christmas, but lucking out on an empty Emerg was an upside, I guess. I really hope you don't experience any more attacks before you have your surgery!

27thstreet said...

Yikes. At least you're comfortable for now and you got the problem quickly diagnosed. Did they give you any special diet until you have surgery?

Wandering Coyote said...

OMG! This sounds like a nightmare. I'm grateful you are not allergic to narcotics like I am (they make me throw up to beat the band) and am glad they helped. Hope you're doing better today.

Heather said...

Sorry to hear that you've been ill. I suppose there's always Ukranian Christmas for you to celebrate...! :)

Feel better soon, okay?

tweetey30 said...

i am sorry to hear that.. good wishes for the new year..

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