The real kicker in all of this was that between her check-out from the hospital and her scheduled surgery, Nikki was in very little pain. During all of the crazy food at holiday parties, not to mention the stress of driving the family to and fro, her stomach and gallbladder behaved. She said to me, while we were waiting for her to be admitted once again, that the surgery had scared it into submission. I’ve yet to find evidence to the contrary.
The prep was quick and easy, for a hospital. They had her changed and on the table as doctor after doctor grilled her about what was going on, what surgery she was planning to have, and what medications she was allergic to. The nurse, as usual, collapsed a vein as she tried to fit Nikki with an IV. They all blow her off when she says that her veins are nearly impossible to get on the first try, and then scratch their heads when they blow the thing out. Luckily, the nurse stepped aside for a doctor that had been putting in IVs for about fifty years, and he nailed it on the first try. If only you could make requests when it came to geting an IV.
When they carted her away to the operating room, I headed to the now-familiar surgery waiting room. I checked in, and once again distracted myself with keeping everyone in the loop. There may have also been some Facebook perusing. MAY have been. It took me a while to get worried. The time that they’d given me was an estimate, and sometiems things took longer than anticipated. When it was an hour past the time she was supposed to be done, I got antsy. I couldn’t even focus on the most twitchy social network ever devised. Family after family had gone back to greet their loved onces, and I was still waiting.
Right as I decided to stand up and ask, the nurse looked at me like she’d never seen me before.
“Who are you waiting for?”
I reminded her.
“Oh dear. I just sent that other family back to her. That’s not good. Follow me.”
I clenched my jaw and stayed polite. She caught the other confused family and directed them to the proper place, and I ducked behind Nikki’s curtain. She was pale. Even for her, she was really, really pale. She’d been out of surgery for quite some time, and had been asking for me over and over. They’d kept her in recovery, because she hadn’t come out of the anasthesia very well. They weren’t wrong – it was taking her a long time to come out of it, and she kept dozing off.
She was in more pain, she said, than after any of the C-Sections. Only, every painkiller that they gave her slowed her recovery from the anasthetic. Every shot or pill made her more nauseated. She made me go and get food for myself (shrimp and rice gumbo) despite her limited menu of cranberry juice and peanut butter crackers. Looking back over the last few posts, I’m seeing a pattern…
Eventually, one of the nurses pushed Nikki into getting up and walking to the bathroom. Since that went ok, she had her walk down the hall and back. She pronounced Nikki ok to go home, despite her complaints of nausea. She made it out to the front of the hospital, just starting to get into my car, before the nausea got the better of her. I’m pretty sure that they either gave her too many pain meds, or the ones they gave her had nausea as a primary side-effect. Nikki thinks that she just wasn’t ready to be up and walking around yet. We’re both probably right.
Her recovery since has been stellar. She’s had nearly none of the nasty side-effects to the surgery that she’d found people complaining about online. (Quick, knock on some wood!) Her stomach issues have nearly disappeared, and she can eat a ton of foods that gave her hell for years. (Knock on some more wood!) If you have any gallbladder removal experiences, drop her a line over at her blog.
With all of these trips to the hospital, we really lucked out. (Knock on some different wood!) For both of us, things could have been a hell of a lot worse. In the end, we are thankful for that.