I was expecting that my next blog would cover some of the cultural events I’ve experienced lately–the amazing sold out show at Mondavi of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Common House’s amazing production of The Foreigner, my recent trip to Wine Country, in which I got to see a little grey whale swimming along the coast, etc.
But the news of the week is my loss of a gallbladder.
Saturday, I woke up early and got a lot of work done. Shortly after I had lunch, I started feeling really ill–nausea and vomiting had me thinking it was food poisoning. Hours later, still vomiting and shaking, I headed to the ER. Tenderness in my upper right abdomen made the doctors think it might be my gallbladder. An ultrasound confirmed that the organ was “packed” with stones.
When gallbladder stones block the duct, the useful stuff the gallbladder makes can’t get out to help digest food, causing the symptoms I was experiencing. Once the doctors were finally able to get me to stop throwing up, I was allowed to go home, with instructions to the see the doctor to talk about scheduling a surgery.
Except the next day all the symptoms came back, so it was back to the ER for me, where it was decided that I would be transferred to Sacramento for Emergency Surgery. It was an exhausting night. No sleep. Many rooms. One hallway. Not enough pain medication.
At 6 a.m., the nurse finally turned out the light and told me to get an hour of sleep before my surgery, but that was when the elderly Chinese woman in the bed next to mine woke up and started yelling at all her relatives on the phone.
I gave the nurse Vanessa’s number and was herded down for them to get me ready. There was a moment when they realized that I still had my underwear on, and they seemed surprised. They needed the underwear off, apparently, so they could catheter me after putting me to sleep. Since I hadn’t know that, I thought they should have expected I would leave my panties on–who puts on a backless gown AND thinks it would be a great idea to go commando?
My panties are now in a little “bioharzard” bag. Eventually, I will stop seeing this bag as a funny souvenir.
The surgery was quick, but the nausea and pain were hard to control, so I was in recovery for about four hours, where my nurse was really great, before I was released back to my room. Vanessa was there almost instantly, and we sat for hours, her grading, me trying to block out the Chinese-restaurant ambient music coming from behind the curtain to my right.
As soon as I got the nausea under control, I announced my decision to go home. Melissa and Vanessa were able to keep me company for the several hours it took to make that happen. We left during a freak downpour. I slept for 12 hours.
It’s day two of my recovery. It basically hurts to move. To stretch to bend down, to sit up, to stand up. My arms are sore from the incredible bruising all the needles caused. My four incision sites burn.
I’ve been grinding my teeth like crazy at night, apparently–I have the headache that comes from doing that.
But I’m going to be okay.
And I’m very thankful.
Thankful for all my co-workers who have covered classes for me.
Thankful for my son, who, the second I first started vomiting, got me a throw up bowl and gingerale and offered me a cool washcloth for my head. Who, although he’s sort of shy of strangers, kept marching out to the doctors’ desk at the ER to ask about the timeline for transport, etc.
Thankful for my Ian, who relieved the boy that first night, rubbed my back, and watched Dexter with me last night so I could focus on fictional blood and wounds.
Thankful for my Vanessa, who took me to the ER with the boy the second night, rescued me from the hospital, and is doing a Target run for me today.
Thankful for Melissa, Ken, April, Marina, Mandy Dawn, Tiffany, Tessa, Poonam, and everyone else who’s called, emailed, texted, offered and/or has given support and best wishes.
I don’t know exactly when I’ll be completely myself again, but I know it’ll be faster because of all of you.