Okay...I'm not looking for pity or sympathy. It happened, and it is what it is. I'm glad I can talk about it and maybe, for those who have not experienced this type of medical situation, may glean some insight for possible future experience and will recognize it for what it's worth. I'm sure every personal incident is different in many ways, though.
So here we go...try to keep up.
Last Saturday morning, 1230 AM, I am awakened by an intense SUDDEN pain that gave no indication it was going to pick me up, slam me down...turn me over and then do it again...all in a matter of hours, and then continue to do so. As dawn arrived on this Saturday morning, I dragged myself out of bed, feeling a bit better, but still having a severe pain in my right side/ mid abdomen. There was no machoism, egomaniac mindset going on...I worked through that period of my life long ago. However, I readily admit, I should have told my better half to get dressed, we're taking a road trip about 10 minutes from here called Princess Ann Hospital Emergency Room. But NOPE, I didn't do it. I was going to 'cowboy up' and figure this out...so I lied to myself about the ego part and not being macho. It was now 7 AM, and I’m doing some stuff around the house, albeit, uncomfortably and realizing the pain is getting even worse and radiating more lower right. So, I’m thinking…silly me, I’ve got another kidney stone and it’s ripping my urethra apart. But then, I thought…no, that can’t be, because a kidney stone pain ‘begins’ on the backside and eventually radiates around to the front. My pain did not do that…it just ‘started’, hard, fast & continuously without warning. I Kidney stone will give preemptive warnings…usually. I ruled out appendicitis because the pain was not in my lower abdomen.
Moving forward to 3 PM Saturday…I’ve become a broken man, nearly on my knees in such extreme pain where I could barely walk without crying out to the world my wussy-ness of intolerance to pain. I was ready to submit, to give in and tap-out to my macho ego and forego the shame. I handed my man-card over to my wife, at her request, and she drove my to the E-room.
An hour and a half later, I’m admitted to the hospital. They’re taking my extreme pain serious (as they should). A young RN “rides me down” to the CT Scan room. Okay…let’s stop right here for a very important understanding of what it means to “ride me down” in medical/hospital lingo. What that means is…I’m in the bed, but someone has to come and get me to “push” the bed to the CT Scan room. And that’s exactly what the girl said when she shows up…”Hi, I’m your ride to radiology”. She was my Uber bed driver. Their terms, not mine.
After getting back to my assigned E-room and waiting for them to assign me a permanent room, the on call doctor has read my scan report after an hour or so and has come in to brief me on what he is pretty sure of what’s going on with me. During this waiting period, they slipped me some good pain meds and I’m feeling pretty darn good by now. The pain is manageable, but still there and would spike when I coughed or over-exerted in anyway. Some of you have probably figured out exactly what I was dealing with by now. Not appendix, not kidney stones…only one other thing that could cause this event. If you were thinking…Gall Bladder Infection / Gall Stones…you would be CORRECT! Me…I didn’t have a clue until he told me. Didn’t even realize a gall bladder could act-out like this. Mine…was in really, really bad shape. I was a mess, AND…a very sick person. I just didn’t know at this point how bad…and neither did the docs.
So, the doctor told me that my gall bladder was inflamed, infected and they were going to administer a broad-spectrum antibiotic to “cool” my bladder down a bit and stabilize it before they go in a jerk that bad boy out. The only problem with all that was; there wasn’t enough antibiotics anywhere strong enough to stabilize this bladder…but they didn’t know that. And, at the same time, there was no open schedules for an OR room or the surgeons to perform the operation. It became a juggling of rooms, surgeons, protocols and who needs to go before this other person. So, for the remainder of Saturday, into Sunday, Monday & Tuesday, I lay in wait for a slotted timeline for surgery. The entire time, 24/7, being taken care of by one of the most professional hospital staffs I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of.
I was told there may be an opening for 3:30 / 4:00 PM on Monday for surgery, but that fell through. Tuesday looked promising, but to no avail. It was discussed that possibly, if I didn’t have surgery by Thursday, I may be discharged and sent home to await a surgery date. That’s when I stood my ground. I said, get me someone to take to, because THAT’S not going to work for me. I’m here, I’m stable, this is where I need to stay. There is no way your ethics can place me into “out-patient” status…that would just be wrong.
So that Tuesday evening, the night shift RN’s were coming in…girls who have already been taking care of me and assigned to my room, several of them stated to me that I must be excited about tomorrow morning. I told them I don’t know what you’re talking about and you must know something I don’t. They said…you’re scheduled for surgery at 7:30 in the morning. Now boys…I have no idea who did what or who made the call (I found out later it was my surgeon…the same one who had read my CT report Saturday evening in the E-room) but this schedule came out of nowhere.
So, to wrap this story up, in todays medical world, surgeons use laparoscopy to remove the gall bladder. Four small incisions, two for the camera’s, two for the insertion tools to exorcise the sickly beast. BUT…as mentioned above…mine was in really bad shape. So after about an hour, the docs couldn’t ‘see’ where to trim, cut, excise, etc., due to the mess on the exterior of the bladder and other surrounding organs, the decision was made to conduct the old fashion “open” view…hence, my brand new 8 inch surgical cut, of which I’m pretty darn proud of. A normal 1-1.5 hour surgery took about 2.5 - 3 hours. So they kept me Thursday for monitoring and discharged me this morning about 1030. My surgeon said my bladder was completely full of pus and they would have never gotten it to a ‘correct’ stable state to operate on. I believe at that point they suspected this and knew it had to come out right then and could not wait any longer. This thing could have ruptured on my, leaked out and then had a life-threatening sepsis mess…at my expense.
So if any of you wake up at some point with extreme pain in your rightsize mid-section of your abdomen and the pain is so intense you can’t stand it…DON’T be like me and wait. Get it checked out right away. For those of you who wear this badge of honor and have experienced the loss of your gall bladder…I’m just coming into the know and from what I’ve been told, will have to adjust my diet to some extent due to not having a bile factory any longer.
Hope you enjoyed the show…and as always, comments, suggestions, retorts and lessons learned are welcome…good, bad or ugly.