Saturday, April 12, 2014

Surgery Update

A week ago yesterday, I had my gallbladder removed laparoscopically.  Once the surgery was done, and I had spent some time in recovery, I was sent home.  That is how this surgery is done these days.  I expected to be up and going by the fourth day or so.  In fact, on the fourth day, which Tuesday, April 8, I felt quite well.  Since I had been cooped up for a few days, and since the day promised to be a beautiful warm one, and since it also marked the anniversary date of what would have been my daughter's 38th birthday, I suggested to my husband that we drive down to Pueblo, where we used to live, to take a walk in the sunshine.  The weather was perfect.  The flowers and trees were in bloom.  I actually took some photos, which might be quite nice ones, but I don't seem to have the energy to download the images off of my camera.  The day was actually a wonderful day.  I walked quite a bit, and then Jim and I had dinner and came home.

The next day, I didn't feel well.  I thought perhaps I had overdone.  I had pain where my gallbladder once was, and I was chilled.  A neighbor stopped by to visit and to bring a homemade treat.  While she was there, my husband said, "Sally, you don't look well.  You need to go to bed."  My neighbor agreed, and I went to bed and slept for the rest of the afternoon.

On Thursday, I thought I really should be better.  Others told me that they had returned to work on the third or fourth day, and yet here it was the sixth day after surgery and I felt worse than ever.  I called my doctor.  He said complications are extremely rare, and said he wasn't worried about the chills if I had no fever.  He also said if I was real concerned,  I could either go to the emergency room or give it one more day.  I gave it one more day.  Jim had a sleep study at the hospital that night.  I just thought I could rest and be better.  I didn't think I needed to disrupt everything and go to the ER.  Besides, I hate the ER and am quite tired of making trips there.

The next day, Friday, which was the seventh day after surgery, the pain was worse than it had been.  I could move around better, so the surgical pain did not seem to be the problem, but deep down inside I had a deep, sharp pain.  I also was chilling.  I called the doctor.  His nurse seemed to think that the problem was not the surgery.  I wondered if I was having pancreatitis.  I was told to call my GI doctor.  I did.

That is when things began to shift.  I can't say enough good things about the doctors at National Jewish and my doctor in particular.  When she was told what was going on with me, her nurse called me right back and said that pain on the seventh day after laparoscopic surgery is not the norm.  Dr. M. said that her nurse would call the surgeon's office and tell them that this was an acute situation and I needed to be assessed STAT.  I then got a call from the surgeon's office telling me to go to the lab at Rose Medical in Denver for blood work.  "How quickly could I be there?"

Since, our original plan had been to drive north of Denver on Friday to babysit my grandchildren that day, we were actually already packed and ready to go.  I said we would be there in an hour and a half if traffic cooperated.  Thankfully, I then suggested to my husband that we board the dog rather than taking the chance of me being tied up at the hospital while Jim had to deal with the dog.  Jim's daughter came over and got Boston and took him to doggie daycare.  After daycare, he would then be boarded.  With the dog taken care of, we were off to Denver.

About half way there, my cell phone rang.  It was Dr. M. from National Jewish.  She wanted to know where I was and what my plan was.  I said I was going to have labs at Rose Medical as that was what my surgeon's nurse had said to do.  I told her I was in Castle Rock and expected to be at the lab in about 45 minutes.  That is when Dr. M., my GI doctor at National Jewish,  told me that she did not want me to go to the lab.  She said, "You are to go directly to the emergency room at Rose Medical."  I followed her directive.

Rose Medical was first class all the way.  They quickly admitted me, took my history, drew lab work, and sent me down for a CT scan with contrast.  My pain was getting worse and worse.  I was becoming nauseated.

Soon the labs were back with good news.  I did not have any indication of infection.  My liver and pancreatic enzymes were normal.  In fact, my labs looked perfect.  Thank God.  The CT scan told us what was going on.  I have an intra-abdominal abscess.  It appears to be a "collection of fluids" about an inch or so across in size.

The nurses were just getting ready to send me up to a room when my surgeon came in.  He was very kind.  He also was reassuring.  He said that since I didn't have indications of infection, he wanted to give me a big dose of antibiotics in the hospital.  He then wanted me to go home because he didn't think that my condition was serious enough to require hospitalization.  I was given instructions to call immediately if things changed once I got home.  I was sent home with two antibiotics, pain meds, and four pages of instructions on what I was to do and watch for.

Today, has been mostly good.  I am taking the antibiotics and hoping they do the trick.  I have some pain this evening.  I am still chilling some.  I have spoken with the doctor.  It seems that we are doing all that can be done.  We just have to give the drugs time to work.

I hope this takes care of it.   I am confident that I am in good hands.  I just had a fluke happen to me that is quite rare.  I am grateful for caring doctors.  I am most grateful that Dr. M. told me to go to the ER because if I'd only had labs done, the abscess would not have been found and who knows what could have happened.  So far, I don't have any regrets on having the surgery.  This could not have been foreseen.  Hopefully by next week I am as good as new and all of this is behind me.  I won't be one of those that says that my gallbladder surgery was the easiest surgery I ever had.  Well, I guess the surgery was fine.  It was what happened afterwards, and who knows why that happened, that wasn't so great.

If you think of me, lift up a prayer.  I am encouraged by the good labs.  I am hoping I can tolerate the antibiotics without side effects.  I'll keep you posted.


25 comments:

Terra said...

Wow, this was an ordeal, and it sounds like you are now recovering with home rest, antibiotics, etc. I pray for a complete recovery for you.

Betsy Adams said...

Oh My Goodness... I am so sorry to hear this.. BUT--things do happen. I'm so glad that you have such good doctors... Hopefully, next week will be much much better.

Hugs and Prayers,
Betsy

#1Nana said...

Wow, I hope you continue to improve. You have been on a medical roller coaster.

George said...

I'm sorry you're going through this, but I am glad you are in the hands of good doctors. You are in our prayers.

Linda Reeder said...

Well, Sally, when it comes to health issues, you apparently don't do anything simply, do you?
I'm sure would be willing to forego the drama and the pain and the worry. Sending positive thoughts for your recovery.

Linda Myers said...

Excellent medical care.What a gift it is!

Lynilu said...

_/|\_ Praying that your recovery continues quickly and smoothly. So sorry to hear you have had this hiccup following surgery. Take it easy, my friend!

Dartford Warbler said...

You poor soul! The pain must have been almost unbearable.
Thank goodness we live in a world of antibiotics and that your medical team were quick thinking and so caring.

Wishing you a quick and full recovery.

Olga Hebert said...

Oh, dear, Sally. You have been having such a hard time with this health thing. I am glad to hear you have responsive doctors and I do pray that you are on the mend.

Marty said...

I'm so glad your mystery appears to be heading to a solution, but what a scary sequence of events. And I appreciate your detailed account. It reminds us to pay attention to our bodies, and not to get too cocky. This sort of thing can happen to any one of us.

DJan said...

And here I was thinking that all was well. I'm so glad to know that you will be good soon, and I'm so sorry you had to go through this additional trauma. Fingers crossed for you, Sally! :-)

Jeanie said...

"Hopefully by next week I am as good as new and all of this is behind me." This is just what I am hoping for you, Sally. With the good care from your doctors and your positive frame of mind it seems that you are on a positive healing track.

rosaria williams said...

Glad you got the help right away! Let those meds do their work, and rest, rest, rest...
Though we feel better after a surgery, probably because pain meds mask everything else, we need time to heal. Period.

I have a funny story re my husband's condition after his first vascular surgery. He felt so good on the third day, he wanted a Johnny Rocket burger! I could not talk him out of it; so, I drove him ten miles to Johnny Rocket, only we never stayed to eat; had to have the burger wrapped to go because he got too tired and chilled with fever. I ate my burger and his as well.


p.s. lots of stuff can happen at/post surgery. Going home early is probably a good thing since more infections occur in a hospital.

Friko said...

Like you said, a gallbladder op is a very simple procedure.
But complications can arise with any op.
Hope that the good doctors have found the culprit and can manage to magick it away with the help of their clever meds.

Good luck.

Arkansas Patti said...

Just said a prayer for this to all soon be behind you. Will keep you in my prayers till your give us the all clear. Be totally well soon.

Jeanie said...

Consider the prayers coming. I am grateful that the problem was diagnosed and that your docs have things under control -- that you are coming around.

Sending lots of love, hugs, prayers and all measure of good vibrations to you!

dkzody said...

Sure hope you are doing better by now. The whole thing sounds very scary. Praying for a calm spirit and good health.

LC said...

Keeping you in my prayers for your recuperation from the unexpected absess and thanking God for Dr. M's care and for the actual surgery's success.

KathyA said...

I wish we had spoken. I, too, had the same thing and was re-admitted to the hospital, but 4 days after being sent home. This wasn't for the gall-bladder surgery (I had that 3 months before), but for surgery removing about 8 inches of my colon. It's very, very painful and I knew I should have been feeling better each day, but actually felt worse. Once the serous fluid was drained, however, I felt better immediately. It was scary. I'm glad you're better. Oh, and you need to rest a bit each day. Blessings, Kathy

KathyA said...

Sounds like a seroma. Had this after I had part of my colon removed -- but it's very common after gall bladder surgery. I was re-admitted after being home for only 2 days. The pain was so great I couldn't straighten up. Once they drained the serous fluid, I felt immediate relief. It WAS scary, though. Wish we lived closer, Sally!

Penny O'Neill said...

Oh my, what an ordeal. Best wishes, and prayers, are coming your way and hope for a now speedy recovery.

Cape Cod Kitty said...

Oh, Sally, you have been through so much, and after that successful surgery (which is stressful even if successful, it is so hard to go through another ordeal. Hoping now that you are going forward and healing is happening rapidly. So grateful for your incredible doctors.
With all I've been through recently, I know how disheartening it is to have one more thing to deal with....rest is the best advice, too.

Maggie May said...

That was most unfortunate but glad you got to the root of the problem & that you'll soon feel heaps better.
Love & prayers.
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Perpetua said...

Poor Sally. I do hope the drugs have now worked and that you are feeling much better.

Kay said...

Good grief! Thank goodness you have medical professionals who are on top of things and caring.