Thursday morning my stomach hurt. Usually this is caused by gas build-up and a combination of Gas-X and vomiting will eliminate the pain. By the time I was due to start work at 3 pm, I had vomited three times and was experiencing no relief. I’m stubborn though, and showed up to work anyway. My coworkers all told me I needed to go home, but I told them I could wait an hour until our supervisor was scheduled to go over some training material with me, and then maybe I’d go home after that. 20 minutes before that meeting I was in the bathroom, vomiting bile.
I’m pretty sure I looked as bad as I felt, and my coworker called the supervisor to let her know I was sick, but by the time the supervisor got the message it was time for our training. I lasted through another hour of sitting there and reviewing things like emergency procedures. After we finished, I decided to go home. Given that my supervisor is a nurse, I should not have been surprised that she asked if I needed fluids before leaving. I declined, and also told her I was okay to drive myself home. One of those was a lie. I really should have gone to the ER instead of going home, but I was still convinced that I just had an upset stomach.
I got home and vomited bile again, which of course I googled and got myself all worried about. I tried to focus on the nice harmless reasons like “vomiting on an empty stomach”. Mom was out at rehearsal and didn’t get home until around 9:30. I tried to go to bed and sleep away the pain, but it hurt more when I laid down. I talked to mom briefly and decided I’d better go to the ER. I got there around 10:30.
I got IV medication for nausea and pain. The phlebotomist came and drew several tubes of blood. They also collected a urine sample. I was surprised by how fast those results came back. My white blood cell count was obscenely high – 21.5 when the normal range is 4 to 11. The doctor had the same suspicions mom had, that my gallbladder was the problem, and he sent me for a CT scan. We just barely got results back in time for mom to leave me there and go to dialysis. Yes, it was my gallbladder. Yes, it was distended and full of gallstones. They transferred me to a room on surgical floor and went about trying to schedule surgery.
The surgeon came in to speak to me while mom was still gone at dialysis. I was so scared that she wouldn’t be back before my surgery. I mean, I was scared in general. I’d never had surgery before. I was extra scared because the surgeon said that if gallstones had gotten lodged in the common bile duct I would need a different procedure, which they don’t do at that hospital. I spent all my hope hoping that this would not be necessary.
My supervisor came in to see me before I went for surgery, and came back again afterward to bring me some paperwork regarding taking a medical leave from work. She told me not to fill it out then, because I was on narcotics, and I still haven’t really looked at it thoroughly. Mom made it back just before my surgery. I remember my bed being wheeled to the OR. I remember the anesthesiologist talking to someone on the phone. And that was it. Not even a vague recollection of being given the anesthesia. My next memory involved being back in my room.
I stayed in the hospital until Sunday afternoon. I was up and walking around okay, but they were waiting on a bowel movement before they’d let me try solid food, and then I had to keep that down before they’d release me. I’d gotten so used to Jell-O that I still ordered some when I got a menu to choose from.
It was very weird being a patient, especially since it was on surgical floor. Somehow that’s the one floor where I’ve really gotten to know a lot of employees, so I had nurses starting their shifts and exclaiming, “What are you doing here?!” Not working, obviously. And can I say how hard it was to not work? I kept passing the soiled utility room and thinking, “Gee, I could just run in there and clean those IV pumps.” When there weren’t enough Tegaderm on the cart, I almost volunteered to go get more. Yeah, it was my dressings they needed it for.
I’m not sure how I feel about being home. I can’t find a comfortable place to lay. Actually, I’ve only tried the couch, and maybe my bed would be better but I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to get up from my bed.
One thing I didn’t understand was that they had me review all the medications I take, but then I didn’t actually receive any of those medications while I was a patient. Apparently my mental health doesn’t matter? I missed two BuSpar and Latuda on Thursday, everything on Friday and Saturday, and Wellbutrin and two BuSpar on Sunday. I started back up with my evening pills after getting home on Sunday. So there’s another month in which I have to admit to Brent that I screwed up in some way, although it’s hardly my fault this time.