Things are looking DOWN…

Hello, friends.  Last week when I told you things were looking up after my recent gallbladder surgery, I apparently evaluated my condition prematurely.  Today, I am EXTREMELY ANNOYED to say the least.  The VERY least.

In fact, please pardon the “French,” but I’m fucking pissed!  If you have a weak stomach, you’ll probably want to skip the rest of this paragraph and the next one.*  I was feeling a lot better after my surgery.  They gave me two to three weeks off work instead of just one because of all the pus that was in my gallbladder and the fact that I’m allergic to antibiotics.  So I was working half days, and still getting pretty worn out from just four hours of office work, but still, I was hopeful that things were definitely improving.

Then on Tuesday, just two weeks post surgery, I woke up with a “tummy ache,” and my belly was more swollen than it had been at my post surgery check-up the Friday before.  I went to work for the morning, and while I was there, I just felt “off.”  People started telling me I looked grey and not good at all.  When I came home for the day at lunchtime, I ate some broth and crackers soaked in broth (which was my only meal of the day).  About an hour later, I puked broth and crackers.  Then I had three more rounds of puke, which can only be described as black sludge!  And in that black sludge, there were four “hard things” that looked like cat turd and were the size and shape of a tube of Chapstick!  (Keep in mind, I ate nothing solid.)  I won’t even disgust you further by describing the foul stench.  HOW NASTY!

*The weak at heart can continue reading here –>  So I immediately called the surgeon’s office and spoke to his nurse, and said, “I think I just vomited feces.”  She told me the doc was in surgery for the rest of the day, but if I felt it was an emergency, I should go to the hospital.  Otherwise, she’d talk to the doc and call me the next morning.

The next morning, I was even more swollen, and I hadn’t heard from anyone by 9:30 (they open at 8:00), so I called them back.  The nurse told me to go to the lab and get bloodwork and an x-ray.  So I got the bloodwork, then the x-ray.  The x-ray tech had me take off my bra because it had metal wires, but she said I could wear my pants because they were elastic (because I was so swollen) and had no metal.  She ran two x-rays, then called in her supervisor.  There was “something metal” showing up near my left ovary.

They checked my pants, my panties, my gown, and the table, and found no metal.  They asked me repeatedly if I was “sure” I never had any other surgeries on the left side.  (Did I forget being sliced open before?   NO!  Of course I haven’t had more surgeries that I forgot about.)  So they assumed it was on the film, and ran a second set of x-rays.  When the metal showed up again, they ran a third set.  It showed up in all three sets.  It’s about the size of a pinky fingernail.  I asked to see, and they showed me.  It’s definitely something that was NOT there in the x-rays I had three weeks ago before surgery.

So I got home before noon and waited for the doctor to call me with the results.  (I have to wonder if the titanium clip they put on during my gallbladder removal didn’t slip off…  I did NOT see the gallbladder clip on the x-rays, but then again, I only looked briefly, and I was looking at the foreign metal.)  When the doctor hadn’t called by 3:45, I called, and his nurse said they didn’t have the results in yet (even though it’s from the same facility), and she’d call me as soon as they did.  I told her about the metal, and she made a note of it.

Today, I woke up even more swollen, and I went to work.  I expected to get a call telling me they need to schedule surgery to remove this thing (and possibly put it back where it belongs).  When I didn’t get a call by 9:45, I called them and was told that the doctor and nurse were both in surgery until the afternoon.  The nurse called me close to 1:00, and said the doctor says my x-ray results are “fine.”  I asked about the metal thing, and she put me on hold then said he again said I’m fine.  I reminded her how swollen I am, and she put me on hold yet again, then said the doctor said he doesn’t believe it’s related to surgery and I should make an appointment with my primary care doctor.  I then got a little postal.  Just a little.  I told her I was rather perturbed, to say the least, that two days ago I called to tell her I’m puking poop, I’m swollen several inches, and the doctor hasn’t even wanted to see me, and two days later he tells me to see someone else!

So I called the GI doctor (from the same facility) who referred me to the surgeon, and his nurse was with patients, so I told my story to the lady who answered.  Only this time, I was a bit more forceful.  I asked if I needed to make an appointment with him, or perhaps if I needed to make an appointment with a different facility altogether to get a second opinion.  She said the doctor was booked, but she referred me to their after hours annex where I am supposed to be in about an hour.

What’s really frustrating is that with tomorrow being Friday, if this annex doctor also tells me things are fine, I don’t foresee being able to get an appointment anywhere else until next week at earliest, not to mention being able to obtain copies of all my films and records to take.  So I’ll keep swelling over the weekend and hopefully not die before I talk to you all again, not that these turkeys seem to care.  (And people wonder why I have such mistrust for most doctors.)

I’M SOOOOO ANGRY!

Anyway, that’s the update, friends.  And thank you for allowing me to vent.  I hope you all have a much better weekend than I’ll probably have.  I miss you guys!

-R.

Things are looking up…

Hello, friends.  (Or is it now strangers?)  As you know, I’ve been M.I.A. for a few months now, but it seems we’re finally getting to the bottom of why.  As many of you know, 2015 was not my year.  I was sick most of the year, and in fact, there were only three times throughout the entire year that I lasted as many as five days without throwing up!

The odd thing was, I didn’t have pain, per se, but as soon as I ate something (other than waffles and grilled cheese sandwiches – literally ANYTHING other than that), I felt a weird fullness in my belly, and I HAD to get that food out of there ASAP.  The only thing that felt better was vomiting.

I was so exhausted, I could hardly stand to stay awake through a full day of work, much less anything extra such as blogging, writing, editing, etc.  Actually, around October, I started coming home from work and immediately taking a nap until 9 or 10 at night, then got up, ate dinner, and went back to sleep.  Even the thought of planning something fun such as going to the fair or taking a road trip seemed daunting, because I already knew how much it would wipe me out, and I was afraid I’d be too tired to even enjoy it a little.

Last summer, my hair started falling out.  Luckily, I have really thick hair, so other people didn’t really notice.  But I did.  There were always clumps of hair on my pillow each morning, and on the bathroom floor each time I combed it.  It was gross.  And scary.

Around the beginning of December, my eyes started hurting all the time, especially behind and underneath them, and everything was getting more and more blurry.

So in November, when my vomiting went from four or five times a week to twice or more a day, I finally started seeing a doctor.  The first doctor diagnosed me with low iron anemia, and she sent me to a specialist.  The specialist diagnosed me with low iron and low B12 anemia.  He said my levels were as low as if I were bleeding internally, though I am not.  (Of course, when the only foods you can keep down are waffles and grilled cheese sandwiches, my guess is you probably lose a lot of nutrients in the process.)

During December and January, I had numerous blood tests, upper, lower and female ultrasounds, an upper GI barrium swallow study and a small intestine barrium swallow study, an endoscopy, a colonoscopy (boy, were those fun — NOT!), and several biopsies.

After all the cameras, needles, scopes, and probes, I actually received twelve different diagnoses!  (The doctor was frustrated because his computer program only allowed him room to write ten.)  Most of them were nothing major, but he did say I had some gallstones and an inflamed and “thick” gallbladder.  Besides sounding gross, I wasn’t sure what that meant.  He said it was diseased and needed to come out ASAP.

I wasn’t so sure I wanted that kind of surgery, but I was so relieved that I didn’t have esophageal or stomach cancer as I feared, that I was at least willing to listen.  (I was so sure that I had something fatal, that I even went as far as making out a list of “what to do in the case of my untimely death.”  Thankfully, no one needed to use it.)

I went home and Googled “diseased gallbladder,” and once I saw what one looked like, I agreed that I didn’t want that nasty thing inside me any longer.  So I had the surgery, and as it turned out, my gallbladder was not only “quite diseased,” it had an “acute infection.”  It was actually “filled with pus and ready to rupture” according to the doctor, the nurse, the anesthetist, and a surgical assistant.  Apparently, I was quite lucky indeed, because being allergic to so many antibiotics, it could have easily killed me in only a few more days!

I’m definitely thankful to God for sparing my life, and I’m quite cognizant of how close I came to  meeting my Maker face to face.

Most people who get a laparoscopic cholecystectomy are encouraged to move about and go about their daily lives other than lifting anything, and they return to work in about a week.  Because of the level of my infection, I was told “bedroom, bathroom and kitchen only, and no work for two to three weeks.”

Tomorrow will be a week since my surgery.  I do feel SO much more energetic than I have in months, yet when I do anything for more than twenty or thirty minutes (such as sit on the computer or even just stand to wash dishes), it wipes me out.  For the first time in a long time, I feel invincible, then I attempt a minor project to alleviate my boredom, and learn just how weak I really still am!

I’ll still be treating for my anemia, and I actually threw up last night, so I at least lasted a full five days this time.  But I’m hopeful that the vomiting will stop once I’m fully healed, and then the iron and B12 will regenerate.

So I hope to get all this under control soon, and get back to my regularly scheduled blog… and to you, my friends and blogging family.  I miss you guys!

xoxo

~Rachel

[UPDATE:  I just reread this, and it seems I still have a bit of brain fog… The reason I wrote all the detail that I did above was to tell you how miraculous it is that less than one week post-surgery, my hair has not fallen out anymore, my eyes don’t hurt anymore, and the vision blurriness is completely gone!  Isn’t it incredible that an unnecessary organ can wreak such havoc on so many unrelated body parts?  The best part is, so far, I have not had one bit of refux or acid.  I can’t tell you the last time — more than 20 years — I’ve not been awakened in the middle of the night by barf juice gagging me.  This is amazing!  I’m used to drinking 2 TBSP. of baking soda with a bit of water SEVERAL times every day and night.  I keep a box of baking soda in my work desk, my car, and even my purse!  Since my surgery, I’ve had the tiniest bit of heartburn that lasted no more than 5 or 10 minutes just a couple of times.  It was so mild, I didn’t even do anything to make it go away.  Compared to what I’ve been living with for so long — imagine swallowing 8 ounces of battery acid 3 or 4 times a day — I now feel so liberated!]

Just Because…

Last week, I was watching a DVD episode of the old TV show “Little House on the Prairie.”  It was the episode entitled “Wave of the Future” where a company tries to turn the town restaurant into a franchise.  Needless to say, it doesn’t work, and after a bit of chaos, everything returns to normal.  The end shows Colonel Sanders riding up in his horse and buggy, and suggesting to Mrs. Olson that he would like to turn her restaurant into a one that exclusively sells chicken meals.

As the audience, we are probably supposed to chuckle, and then go on with our lives.  In my case, that didn’t happen.  I immediately thought back to when I was little and the real Colonel Sanders (not the bozo they use now since the real Colonel is dead) was in all his own commercials.  I particularly loved the one where he flew away in a hot air balloon that looked like a big bucket of chicken.  I just knew there was no way possible for Colonel Sanders to be alive, much less entering into the chicken business in the 1880s when that episode of “Little House” took place, and still be alive when I was a kid.  (I know it’s only fiction, but I’ve read before that Michael Landon usually insisted on being historically accurate when possible.)

So I’m finally getting around to the point of my post.  I looked up Colonel Sanders’ birth date, and in doing so, found that not only was I correct that he wasn’t that old, but I found THE COOLEST WEBSITE I’VE EVER SEEN!  (And keep in mind that I don’t even eat chicken!)  If you don’t believe me, just go to http://www.colonelsanders.com/ and let the fun begin.  Be sure to click on every Colonel, and turn your sound on!  Have fun!