A Gallbladder Update

It’s been a while now since my surgery, so I guess it’s time for an update. Be warned, though; this is going to be both detailed and messy.

The keyhole surgery (laparoscopic cholecystectomy) went just fine. I laid down, was told to take a deep breath, and then I woke up again without my gallbladder, but with four surprisingly tiny bandages on my stomach. The gallstones they’d pulled out of the gallbladder was sitting neatly in a container on a table besides the bed. They ranged from pea to marble in shape and size, so there was no doubt about the cause of my stomach pains. The round shape of the gallstones has probably saved me from some pain. The same amount of gallstones in a more gravel like substance – which is common – would potentially have caused a lot more agony. Then again, less pain had allowed a chronic inflammation of the gallbladder to get a foothold.

Anyway.

This was not something that would go away by popping pills. Even though having had an internal organ removed feels pretty damn weird, I’m glad it’s out.

So the surgery went fine, but the recover phase has been a bit more interesting.

Home Sweet Home.

The trip home was a nightmare, in which I came down from the morphine hit like a recovering drug addict. I sweated like a pig, my hearth was racing, I was short of breath, and at some point I barfed my guts out. Vomiting can be a rather bad idea right after having abdominal keyhole surgery. The surgeon removed the gallbladder through the the navel, which means there is a fresh hole you can literal hurl your own guts out of if you’re really unlucky. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, and all most of my entrails are where they should be.

Safely at home1, my wife gave me water, two pain killers, got my clothes off, and put me to bed. Then followed a couple of days where I mostly slept, and survived on a diet of pain killers and water. I had absolutely no appetite and lost weight quickly. If you’re looking for a very effective diet, pain killers and water come highly recommended. For me, however, a diet is the last thing I need. I’m mostly skin and bones already, and the fat reserves are limited.

I got off the pain killers on Sunday, three days after the surgery. But I didn’t get any appetite again until around Wednesday, when I finally started to eat a little again.

That’s when I found out my stomach didn’t hold food very well.

The Future.

The average sick leave after have the gallbladder removed is one week. Since I don’t hold much food, however, my sick leave has been extended by a week. So now we’ll just have to see how it turns out.

In the next two months, I’ll have to stay clear of fatty food, coffee, alcohol, chocolate, candy, and pretty much every else you’d associate with the Christmas season in terms of food. The timing for having my gallbladder isn’t ideal, but I guess there is no such thing as a good time for surgery.

Eventually, I should be able to eat the same things I once ate, but some people have to be careful about their diet for the rest of their lives. Fingers crossed I fall into the former category.

Footnotes

  1. Thanks goes out to my good friend Hans Olav for getting me home in one piece.

By Vegard Vines Skjefstad

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