A Bump in the Road: Personal Update

So I had all the best intentions of posting all about my China trip immediately after I returned…but sometimes we tend to hit a bump in the road…resulting in a change of plans. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to blog about my so called “bump in the road” but then I remembered this blog is my form of a journal, a place I can record life events, a place I come back to and re-read quite frequently. This is not necessarily a life event I would like to remember, but it is definitely a big life event for me.

It all started right after I returned from China. I was feeling under the weather and tired all the time. I blamed it on the smog and the cold I had gotten towards the end of the trip, and just continued on with everyday business. Then about three weeks ago I woke up around 1 am and was violently sick. It continued all the next day and through the night. I tried taking medicine to help me sleep, but nothing would stay down. (My poor roommate was so nice to me and she was suffering with a kidney stone!)

I had honestly never felt so terrible in my entire life. I couldn’t move my stomach was in so much pain. I knew it wasn’t my appendix because it wasn’t that spot. My mom came over with ginger ale, crackers and some chicken broth and thought maybe my stomach muscles were just sore from being sick so much. Come Thursday I am still feeling absolutely terrible. I was too afraid to try food and I am only drinking some watered down gatorade. I couldn’t stand up straight, I couldn’t sleep, I was not happy at all. My mom came back the next day and brought my to my parents. We tried a few more remedies thinking they would help, but come Friday I hadn’t eaten, I was barely drinking and my mom knew I was dehydrated. My dad being a doctor came home and we all drove down to the hospital he works at (just happens to be a children’s hospital). I was given some IV fluid there, and I thought that would be it. I would get some fluids and go home…boy was I wrong.

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first snapshot from the hospital

Turns out I had Pancreatitis (meaning my pancreas was super infected) this was all caused by a stupid gallstone from my gallbladder. I probably should have started the story by explaining how I had been having these “Attacks” where my chest would get really tight and I would suffer through horrible pain for anywhere from 10 min – hour. I could never figure out what caused this and just assumed it was really bad heartburn…well the mystery was finally solved in the hospital after an Ultrasound. Turns out my gallbladder was JAM packed with Gallstones (fun fun fun). So not only did I have pancreatitis, I would also need to get my gallbladder out. This was all discovered with some drawn blood, an ultrasound, and an MRI (which are not fun for someone semi claustrophobic). I was still at the children’s hospital and they couldn’t keep me overnight so I took a short ambulance ride over to the adult hospital.

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my night in the burn unit (those things around my calves are like massaging things to make sure you don’t get blood clots, they were super cool the first few days…)

Most of that night is a little blurry for me. I remember not being allowed to eat or drink…and being insanely thirsty. The first night I spent was in the Burn Unit ICU (turns out I was a little bit sicker than I thought). At this point I still thought I might get to go home the next day…but then the surgeon came and explained that he couldn’t take my gallbladder out until the infection cleared…meaning I would be sticking around for a while.

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these little pink sponges were my best friend when I wasn’t allowed to drink water! Used them to wet my lips 

I was moved to the “Step Down Unit” the next day and spent Saturday night-Monday morning here. The nurses in this unit were the ABSOLUTE best people ever. They made me feel so comfortable when I was feeling so crappy. I was still hooked up to everything which made going to the bathroom very difficult. I would have to buzz a nurse to come unhook me from everything just so I could get out of bed!

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One of the nurses gave me this when I left the Burn unit!  

I spent the next few days pretty miserable. I was incredibly lucky that my mom stayed EVERY single night with me…she helped me move around the room and she let me cry and complain and she slept on a crappy little cot bed. I am so thankful that I did not have to stay there alone. I wouldn’t let anyone visit me because when you are feeling terrible, and you are looking terrible, the last thing you want to do is visit. I feel like I spent most of my time sleeping or watching bad tv. Around Sunday night I started to feel a little bit better, I knew this because I was STARVING. I hadn’t eaten since Tuesday, and they weren’t going to let me eat until after surgery (on Tuesday) I do have to admit I got a little “hangry” towards the end there.

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The worst part about being in the hospital was probably this thing (well after having surgery of course)…this was a Main Line (or a PICC I can’t remember) all I know was I had to get it put in at midnight…after being poked about 6 times trying to find a vein for my IV… (the old one was bruising my arm pretty badly). I am NOT a fan of needles, and I am NOT a fan of blood…so this was absolutely NO fun. My poor mother probably has broken fingers after how hard I was squeezing her hand. My sugar levels were also super low so now I got to have my finger pricked and squeezed every few hours…WOO! Oh yeah I also got to be on oxygen…and have a some little breathing apparatus I had to use every hour (I was terrible at it)

image_4my souvenir 

I can’t remember exactly, but I think Sunday they finally caved and let me have water after incessantly begging every time they stopped by. (they being the surgeon and his team). I was only allowed to have 8 ounces every four hours. That first four hours was rough…I felt like I was rationing my water on an island…but it was the most glorious thing ever. (well it wasn’t the blue gatorade I had been craving since night one).

image_7My last two nights were spent in this room. I was so sad to leave the nurses on my old floor behind, but this new room meant I was one step closer to going home. Monday night was rough, my potassium levels had dropped so they had been giving me it through my IV, and for some reason it HURTS…a LOT.

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one of the sweet bouquets of flowers I received 

Tuesday I was up early for surgery. All I remember about getting ready for surgery was that I had to pee so badly that I was afraid I would pee my pants while under anthesia, so I made the nurse stop what she was doing and unhook me from everything so I could go to the bathroom before hand! I remember having to say goodbye to my mom, and I remember them wheeling me into the room and climbing onto the operating table. After that I just remember waking up and seeing a nurse. I felt super nauseated (tends to happen to me with pain meds, they had been giving me something to help with it my whole stay) so the nurse said she would give me something. I don’t really remember getting back to my room or the next few hours. The first thing I really remember is that someone brought me a tray of clear liquids (aka NOT WATER) I had some jello, some broth, and an italian ice! I wasn’t able to eat very much, but I did get my blue gatorade (well powerade). I had to stay until Weds to make sure everything was okay.

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my sweet get well soon card from my little friend Avery! 

So to sum up this entirely too long and too detailed post, I had my gallbladder removed two weeks ago today. I was still able to go on my family vacation to Eleuthera (one of my biggest concerns during the first few days, tears were definitely shed thinking I wouldn’t make this trip). The surgery was done laproscopically so I don’t have any massive scars, but I do have four incisions on my stomach. They are all healing nicely. I still get sore and tired easily and my body has had to relearn how to digest foods without my gallbladder…I am not allowed to lift more than ten pounds (which makes setting up my classroom difficult) but I am just very thankful that we went to the hospital when we did, that I had AMAZING surgeons and nurses looking after me, that I had so many people thinking of me and praying for me!

Here’s to hoping there are no more hospital trips in my near future…

Stay tuned for posts on….

the rest of my China trip

family vacation to Eleuthera

I promise they will be more fun than my hospital trip!

 

 

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