Sunday, May 11, 2008

Back...without my gallbladder

Well, my laparoscopic cholecystectomy was Friday night at 5:00. That evening went pretty well. My family was there, and they were all so great and supportive. I am truly lucky to have each and every one of them.

Due to my cranio-cervical fusion, I cannot be intubated the regular way, because my neck cannot be hyper-extended. But during this surgery, you have to be on a ventilator, because they fill your abdominal cavity up with air, so there isn't room for your diaphragm to extend. So, they performed a fiber-optic intubation. But I have a small airway, so they had some trouble getting it in. They chipped my front tooth a bit. I have some scrapes in my throat. And my vocal cords are very sore, so it is hard to talk.

Friday night was pretty hellish. I couldn't sleep from the pain. I was itchy and nauseated from the pain meds. And worst of all, I couldn't urinate, so I had to be catheterized. Unfortunately, the catheter was two sizes too big, so it took many tries to get it in, and I was screaming in pain. My bladder and urethra were on fire until they took it out on Saturday afternoon. Luckily, I was able to pee on my own after that, so they set me free at 7:00 Saturday night!

The best news is that my gallbladder was apparently FULL of gallstones--hundreds of gallstones. It was also very inflamed. They had to enlarge the incision to make room to remove it. So, it is expected that I will experience a great amount of improvement in my digestion. For now, I'm eating tiny meals of soft foods, because it hurts to digest. But eventually, I may not need to be on such a restrictive diet.

So, I'm on the road to recovery. Most of my current pain is from the fact that they stuck a needle through my navel and blew me up like a balloon. So, I'm very "full". But, once this problem gradually relieves itself, I expect the recovery to be pretty easy. It's just pretty painful to move right now. And it's sad that they cut through my super strong abdominal muscles that I've been working so hard on. I can't even sit up unassisted right now.

But things are getting better, slowly but surely. And I should be well enough to fly to New York on Wednesday!