After being told it would be a mere 4-6 weeks back in February, and then a long 4-6 months just a few weeks ago, I got the call a few days ago. I’m having surgery on Monday. Not sure if I should jump for joy or hurl my guts out.
As I’ve talked about here over the past 6 months or so, I’ve been having gallbladder attacks for a number of years now. For the longest time, I assumed it was just gas (the initial onset felt like a gas bubble in my chest) and rode it out. Painful? You betcha. Glasses filled with baking soda and water, antacids by the handfuls, self-induced vomiting, and, at times, pushing myself up against the corner of a counter to put pressure on the area (think “do-it-yourself” Heimlich). Nothing worked but it would eventually pass after 12 hours of so. Last year, I had to see my doctor shortly after an episode and brought it up. We figured it was one of two things: extreme acid reflux or gallbladder attacks. He also gave me the OK to go to the hospital if the pain became too much to handle the next time it happened….which I did. I spent Christmas Day 2010 in the emergency room hooked up to an IV and a lot of wonderfully fantastic, albeit non-hallucinogenic drugs, including morphine which did very little for me. The verdict? I have gallstones. It has to come out.
So, now I sit and wait for the hospital to call tonight with all the pertinent details: when, where, how long, what to wear, can I take my meds before hand, what to expect afterwards. With the exception of childhood stitches, a broken nose, and this past Christmas, I’ve never been in a hospital. Certainly for nothing so serious. I’ve never been knocked out for a procedure – even when I had my wisdom teeth removed, I was only given gas. Awake the entire time. I was stoned though so I really didn’t care. This makes me nervous; butterflies in stomach, sweaty, raised blood pressure kind of nervous. Intellectually, I know this is a common procedure and it will be over before I know it. Heck, the guy doing the procedure is the head of surgery at the hospital I’m going to!
Emotionally, I’m a little bit of a mess. My childhood was peppered with visiting my mother in the hospital after various surgeries. People go to hospitals when they’re deathly ill. People go there and don’t come back. Hospitals smell … wrong. You hear stories about people waking up during procedures. Superbugs develop in such antiseptic environments. My butt will be hanging out of one of those gowns that don’t close!
I hate visiting people who are in the hospital, but I hate seeing sick strangers more. Why are they there, what’s wrong with them, are they contagious, will they try to corner me and force me to have a conversation with them because their own families can’t be bothered to spend a few minutes visiting? Yes, I obsess a bit…sue me.
Thankfully, my procedure is only a day surgery so I’ll be able to recuperate at home. Mom will be taking care of me, fetching me magazines, glasses of water, cats to cuddle with, and making me giant bowls of tomato soup and crackers (yes, crackers…IN my soup…don’t judge me). I have DVDs to keep me entertained and books that are begging me to find the time to read them. Blogging? Not sure – it’ll depend on how I’m feeling. If I start posting bizarre messages on Facebook, you’ll know I made it home and the medication is kicking in.