The Adventures of Gallbladder Boy
A Wonderful Hellhole
My gallbladder was removed on January 11, 2018. Below are some of the things that I remember. I'll update it if anything else comes back to me or my sister reminds me of something.
After checking in and paying a lady, It didn't take too long in the waiting room before my name was called and I was taken to a small room with a curtain on the front. A lady told me to take off my clothing and stuff it into a little plastic bag. The thing they wanted me to wear was kind of hard to get on by myself. After I was on the little rolling bed, they called my sister in and we had a couple short visits from people involved with the surgery. Two nurses came in at the end and whatever they gave me killed my memory not long after they entered the room. My sister said that I was talking with her as they rolled the bed to the elevator, but I can't remember any of it.
I opened my eyes and saw a lady standing behind a little lectern near the bottom left side of the bed I was on. It felt like 2 seconds had gone by since I was in the little room. She asked me various questions about how I was feeling and I answered like I usually would. I didn't feel like I was on some kind of crazy drugs. I just felt a little sleepy and the breathing tube they used during the surgery caused my voice to be a little scratchy.
I seemed to be in some kind of big hallway with a curtain separating me and another patient who was to my left. He was muttering things about how Jesus loved her and how much he loved her. A little later, he said that he talked to Jesus and that Jesus told him to tell her that Jesus loved her. I wondered what kind of drugs they gave that guy because I was just answering questions when asked.
I was eventually rolled to a new room where I would stay overnight. They carefully helped me onto the adjustable hospital bed and everything was great for a while. The daytime crew was marvelous. They brought me Canada Dry Ginger Ale whenever I was thirsty and Honey Maid Graham Crackers when I was hungry, and most of the time I didn't even have to ask. The helper girl who came in all of the time would put ice in a Styrofoam cup and pour the ginger ale in, then cut the straw so it would fit into the cup and not be so long. They pampered me like I was a rich person who had money falling out of his pockets. My sister and I never had to use the call button during that time.
I slept off and on during the day and felt normal while in the bed, but was dizzy whenever I had to get up to pee, so they'd help me to the restroom to make sure I wouldn't fall. I had intermittent pneumatic compression devices on my legs, so they had to turn them off and unhook them from the bottom of the bed before I could get up. They also had to unplug the smart pump that was connected to the rolling IV pole so it could be rolled with me into the restroom. (The IV line was connected to my left hand and the IV pole was on the left side of the bed. The restroom was to my right, about 10 feet away.) I'm glad they had a bar on the wall in the restroom for me to grab or I would have had a hard time standing up. When finished, they'd help me to the bed and hook everything back up.
Later in the day (probably between 4 P.M. and 5 P.M.), my sister asked if she should stay or go home. Since I was getting such great care, I told her to go home. After my sister left, the visits from various helpers and nurses started to diminish. The main girl who was helping me all of the time said she was leaving (probably somewhere between 6 P.M. and 7 P.M.). The main nurse came in at a little before 8 P.M. and said that she was leaving. She said I was supposed to have pain pills at 6 P.M., but the next nurse would have to give them to me. I found out later that I had 4 holes in my belly. One at the top of my belly button, one in the middle of my belly (closer to my chest), and two on the right side of my belly. As you might imagine, I was starting to feel some pain by 8 P.M.
Before the day shift left, I was asked if I wanted a ham or turkey sandwich for supper. I was surprised that I was allowed to eat actual food so soon. I chose turkey just in case ham was too much for me. When it was time for supper (I'm guessing around 5 P.M.), they brought a cardboard box that contained a turkey sandwich, a small bag of Ruffles original potato chips and a large chocolate cookie that seemed to have a ton of greasy chocolate chips in it. Some of the chips in the cookie were white and it seemed to contain nuts too. I hesitantly ate the sandwich and the potato chips, hoping that I wouldn't fill the bed with diarrhea. There was nothing to worry about. I didn't have diarrhea that day or any day after that. Since the help I was getting was dwindling, I held onto that cookie in case I had to eat it later. It's nothing I'd ever eat at home. I don't like cookies with a bunch of chips in them, especially chocolate cookies.
I was tired of not knowing exactly what time it was, so I turned on the TV and found a cable news channel that constantly displayed the time, then muted it. The night nurse came in a little after 8 P.M. I'm not sure, but she might have been Russian. I could barely understand her. She looked like a cross between Connie Cunaman from Brickleberry and Boris Badenov from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.
I told nurse Connie/Boris that I was supposed to have pain pills a couple of hours ago and that I had to pee. She went into a little speech about how walking around would get rid of the pain. I went from the daytime crew not letting me get up without help to somehow being able to hop out of bed by myself to magically eliminate the pain in the holes in my belly by jogging around the room, even though my legs were attached to some kind of wheezing pneumatic contraption. The off switch was at the end of the bed and I couldn't reach the hoses to unplug them even if I could figure out how to bounce a ginger ale can off the wall just right so it would hit the off switch. Although I was about ready to piss all over the bed, she said she'd be back in 15 minutes and left the room.
A little over 20 minutes later, I pressed the call button because I couldn't hold it any longer. Nurse Connie/Boris rushed in and flailed her arms at the wall above my head to disable the call. She seemed to be upset that I pressed the button. I told her that I needed to use the restroom and she said that I could unplug the IV pump from the wall and go to the restroom myself. I told her that it was kind of hard to do with the things attached to my legs. I told her if she turned off the machine and took the things off my legs, I could go to the restroom without bothering her. After I was all unhooked, she rolled the IV pole over to the right side of the bed where I was and I rolled it into the restroom as she left the room. It was a good thing that most of my dizziness was gone. After I was done peeing, I rolled the IV pole to its place on the left side of the bed, plugged in the pump, held out my left hand and leaned over the bed, carefully inched my way around the bottom of the bed to the right side so I could get back in bed without ripping the line out of my hand.
For the rest of the night and into the morning, every time I had to pee, I'd get up, hold my left hand out and lean over the bed, inch my way around the bottom of the bed to the IV pole, unplug the pump, hang the cord on the IV pole, roll the IV pole to the restroom, do my business, roll the IV pole back around the bed, plug in the pump, hold my left hand out and lean over the bed, inch my way around the bottom of the bed to the right side.
A little while after I was back in bed from my first visit to the restroom by myself, nurse Connie/Boris came in with pain pills and muttered an insincere apology about not getting them to me sooner. I asked her if I could have a can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale. She seemed to be kind of annoyed and eventually came back and plopped a can down and tossed a straw next to it. None of that day shift nonsense with cups of ice and silly straw cutting for the night shift. I should have asked her for some graham crackers, but I didn't feel like interacting with her again until I absolutely had to.
Since the drugs I had during the operation had worn off, I didn't have anything to knock me out anymore. The pump on the rolling IV pole made a constant annoying gurgling/ticking noise the whole time, but it wasn't loud enough to keep me from falling asleep. The thing that kept me awake was what happened every minute (I eventually timed it using the cable news channel clock just to be sure). There would be a buzz, a loud KERSNAP! noise, a sputter, another buzz, then it would go back to the gurgling/ticking noise. So I'd start to fall asleep and 60 seconds later I'd get shocked awake with buzz, KERSNAP!, sputter, buzz. It happened the whole night every 60 seconds. Letting someone start to fall asleep and waking them up a minute later really is a good torture technique. I'm sure the US government uses that on its enemies.
I got so tired at one point that the KERSNAP! noise stopped waking me up, but I didn't know that the TV would randomly reset and un-mute itself. So I ended up waking myself up with the TV because I used mute instead of turning the volume all the way down. Thanks to my poor choice in volume control, I was back to waking up or just being startled every 60 seconds.
Nurse Connie/Boris came back in the room hours later to check my blood sugar. She had the same talking glucose meter that the day crew used. She stabbed my finger, put the test strip in, there was no talking from the machine, then she jabbed the machine with test strip into my finger blood and became frustrated when nothing happened. I told her that the machine is supposed to talk the second the test strip is put in, but she ignored me and kept trying while getting even more frustrated. I think she ended up stabbing my finger 3 times before leaving the room in a huff.
I heard another nurse ask her if she figured it out yet (in an annoyed tone as if she thought Connie/Boris was an idiot who shouldn't be a nurse). She came back in to try it again a little while later, but the machine still wasn't talking. I asked her if I could see the machine and I noticed that the test strip was upside down. I put it in the correct way, but the machine still wasn't talking. She said that she has used glucose meters before, so she knows what she's doing. After trying a few more times, she left in a huff again.
About an hour later, another nurse came in with the same talking glucose meter and checked my blood with it in one try. I asked her why it didn't work for the other nurse and she said you have to turn it off for a while so it can cool down. Nurse Connie/Boris was leaving the machine on too long without giving it a rest.
I brought a couple of bottles of Le Bleu distilled water with me in my bag as backup (like I always do when I go somewhere). Turned out to be a great idea. At least I had something to drink during the night of torture since I couldn't count on nurse Connie/Boris. I slowly munched on that horrible greasy cookie throughout the night since it was the only thing I had to eat. By around 5 A.M., my butt and lower back were hurting from lying on that crappy bed with the top tilted so far forward. The holes in my belly were hurting again whenever I had to move. I also felt like I was on the edge of puking from gnawing on that nasty cookie all night. After getting up to pee again, I decided to sit on the side of the bed until my sister showed up. Checkout was at 7 A.M., so I hoped my sister would be at least an hour early. Since I was in pain and kind of sick to my stomach, I figured it would be stupid to try to get back in bed. Nurse Connie/Boris came in and said that she didn't want me sitting on the side of the bed because I could get dizzy and fall. Now she cares if I get dizzy? What happened to the "jogging around the room eliminates pain" speech and how I had to do a double half zombie dance around the bed every time I had to pee? Seems like the chances of falling while sitting were a lot lower than what I had to do just to use the restroom. I went ahead and scooted back on the bed to make nurse Connie/Boris happy.
My sister showed up around 6 A.M. with nurse Connie/Boris close behind and I told her some of what happened (after nurse Connie/Boris left the room). My sister talked to another nurse and that nurse gave me a little pill to stick under my tongue that was supposed to get rid of an upset stomach. Nurse Connie/Boris came back in the room in a huff and wanted to know why I didn't tell her that I felt sick. I told her to go f**k herself. No, not really. I gave her some bullshit excuse to get her off my back.
After my sister made sure she had all of my stuff, the other nurse had me get in a wheelchair, then rolled me out of that wonderful hellhole. Yay! The night of torture was over!
It's been about 3 weeks since the operation and I never had any shoulder pain from the gas (a common thing that might happen). I also never had diarrhea. I don't know if that's because I take an enzyme supplement every time I eat or not. Since there was no bed at the new place, I stayed by myself at the old house for about 5 days after the operation. I used two walking canes whenever I got out of bed for the first two or three days just to be safe. The doctor had me alternate between Oxycodone HCL 5 MG and Ibuprofen for the first couple of days (Friday and Saturday), then I switched to only Ibuprofen after that.
You can read a little more about what happened here: