Thursday, January 6, 2011
Christmas and Gallbladder Surgery!
So, we had a wonderful Christmas. Sweetie Pie and her dad (our oldest son) got to spend two weeks with us. Our other son and Awesome Daughter live close by, so we got to spend a lot of family time together. (Some may say too much time! Anyhoo...) Christmas is so much more fun with little ones around. When anyone asked Sweetie Pie what she got for Christmas, she said, "Everything!" This was basically true, since almost everything under the tree had her name on it!
In the wee hours of Sunday night/Monday morning, Hubby started stirring. Sometimes, if he can't sleep, he'll read a book. In my half-awake/half-asleep mode, I thought that was what he was doing. In reality, he was getting dressed. Then, I heard him say, "I'm going to the hospital." PARDON?
(He's been having gallbladder trouble since April, when he first landed in the E.R. They wanted to take it out then, but he wanted to see if he could control it by diet first. It seemed that the only thing to set off an attack was hot, spicy food. Fats did not affect him. He would do OK for a while, then another attack would come. He has a very high tolerance for pain, and none of these attacks landed him in the hospital until this one.)
So, I said, "Do you want me to come with you?" He said "yes", as he doubled over in pain. I quickly dressed, and scribbled a note to let everyone know where we were.
As I made my way to the car, I noticed Sweetie Pie's booster car seat in the back seat. I pulled it out and set it on the freezer. I was impressed with myself that I had the presence of mind to do that, considering the time (3:30 AM) and circumstance.
Hubby got in on the passenger side. I didn't have to force him to let me drive.
I started backing out of the garage, zig-zagging around the extra vehicles that were parked in the driveway. The driveway is quite long, and I was able to get turned around and go forward.
Snow was falling, the driveway and roads were completely covered with snow. I cautiously made my way out to the road. In spite of inscruciating pain, Hubby says, "What's that noise?"
"That weird sounding noise?"
"Uh, I don't know" (Honestly, how can you be thinking about a noise???)
Then I looked into the back---and there was the back door, coincidentally the same back door that I had opened, swinging wide open as we rounded a curve on the snow-covered road.
He noticed it the same time I did. "How did that door get open?"
(Beats me.) I remained quiet and reached back to close the door.
The normally short drive to the hospital was made longer due to the snowy conditions, and my overly cautious driving. And, the fact that at 3:30 AM someone pulled out of their driveway right in front of us and drove slower than me. Never fails.
I dropped Hubby off at the E.R. door, then parked the car.
After several hours, the E.R. people did some tests, and ultrasounds. Not only did he have gallstones, but one or several (they couldn't tell) were blocking the bile duct by the pancreas, giving him a lipase count of 34,200! We didn't really know what that meant, but when the doctor said it was the highest count he had seen IN HIS LIFE, we figured it must not be good. (We learned that normal is 50.)
What we eventually discovered was that the blockage was causing the pancreas to leak out digestive juices, and the pancreas was basically digesting itself. (Pancreantitus...not a good thing!)
Then they had to figure out who, how, and where they could do the surgeries...one to remove the gallbladder, and one to take care of the stone/s that were causing the blockage. If the stones were too far up into the bile duct, the gallbladder surgeon couldn't do it; he'd need a gastrointologist..and both of those doctors were on vacation. Great. So, they were calling around to other hospitals to see if someone could do the surgery. No stress there.
However, in the end, the gallbladder surgeon felt that he could do the surgery, and Hubby was admitted into the hospital at noon on Monday.
The surgery was Tuesday morning, after the lipase count was down. Everything went fine. They were able to do the non-invasive surgery. That lasted one hour. Then they had to take care of the stones causing the pancreantitus. We were told that could take one to four hours. His only took one and a half hours. Then my beeper went off (just like the restaurants use), signaling that the surgery was over and I could talk to the surgeon. My son went with me in the likely event that I would not remember everything.
After waiting for 20 minutes in the little private room (my family was starting to worry, and I was getting a little nervous), the surgeon finally walked in. No greeting, no handshake, nothing infinitesimally personal.
"He did fine in the surgery. We got the stones out. I'm two hours behind in my office calls because of this. If I get back in to see him it will be late tonight." And, out the door he walked. Well, OK, then. So sorry to inconvenience you.
I guess doctors are too busy and too important to waste time on common courtesy. But, he's an excellent surgeion, and we're thankful for that. But, would it kill him to treat us like human beings?
I'm way past the point of saying, "to make a long story short" , but Hubby is home now and recovering nicely. His best medicine was to see little Sweetie Pie after the surgery.
He's not supposed to lift anything over 20 pounds for two weeks, which means he's not working. And that means he's home during my regular blogging time. And, that means I probably won't be doing any regular blogging for a week or two. (But, I'll do my best.)
He can't wait to have a nice, spicy Mexican meal. And, today is his birthday. Happy Birthday, HoneyBun! I love you!
P.S. I don't have any pictures, because when I suggested that it would make great blogging material, he just gave me "The Look".
So, here's a picture of our Christmas tree instead!