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Old 05-15-2006, 01:10 PM   #1
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Unhappy Gallbladder Surgery - what to expect??

Hello everyone...

I found this board while searching the net and found it VERY helpful. I am going in for gallbladder surgery Monday, May 22. I am VERY VERY nervous about it all! I was wondering if people who have been through this would let me know what their experience. Maybe it'll calm my nerves a bit!

Alitte about me, I am 24 years old and I've had stomach problems for the past 6 years! I finally found a doctor a few months ago that ran some tests including a HIDA scan which showed an ejection fraction of 15% and sent me to the surgeon. I've had surgery in the past - I broke my hand and had to have pins drilled in, so I've been put to sleep before but its still makes me nervous!

I was basically wondering what they did to you before you went into the operating room, how long the surgery was, did you have to have a catheter and when was it put in (while you were asleep or awake?) (I've heard conflicting answers about this), and pain level afterwards. I hear alot of people experience pain with the gas they put in your abdominal cavity more than anything and that its more of an uncomfortable feeling rather than pain. I am spending one night in the hospital because I live about an hour away from the hospital and because the surgery is late in the afternoon, 2pm.

Any information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!

Teresa

 
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Old 05-15-2006, 02:22 PM   #2
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Re: Gallbladder Surgery - what to expect??

Hi
I just had mine removed wed i did not have a catheter i had surgery at 7 and went home at 11:30 i think the whole surgery start to finish took less then 50 minutes. while i was getting ready for surgery they put my iv in and gave me medicine so i would not get nausea then they gave me valium in my iv that was the last thing i remember before waking up in recovery they were saying its 8:30 how is your pain it was a 10 it was all in my upper shoulders they said it was from the gas the doctor used to inflate my tummy and the anesthesia right away they keep giving me pain med at 11am i finally woke up enough walked to the bathroom then straight to the wheelchair and home i slept most of wed the next day i was up and around went out and ate coconut shrimp and walked around walmart. i still have pain but its not that bad i feel a little tired today but not tired enough to sleep i am eating good drinking lots of water and only took 1/2 a pain pill the last 3 days and thats to help me sleep i am use to sleeping on my stomach now i have to sleep on my back.
best of luck to you and keep us posted we are here to support each other

 
Old 05-15-2006, 02:25 PM   #3
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Re: Gallbladder Surgery - what to expect??

Well, keep in mind that everyone is different. It may be harder on some than others.
But generally speaking, it is a fairly easy surgery. They poke three to four holes in you - one at belly button and the others around from your breastbone down. The procedure itself only lasts about 15- 20 minutes max. I know of no one who has been catheterized for this procedure. I was totally awake 40 minutes after going under. All they do beforehand is the standard stuff...change into gown, put in the IV, talk with you about what they are doing, get you to pre-op holding, etc. Some people experience pain from the gas they blow you up with, some don't. I didn't. I am petite (5'2" and 108 pounds) and am very active (regular jogger and weight workouts). The first day I just slept. The second I was up and down. The third day I went to work for 1/2 day then full time after that. I jogged 2 miles one week after the surgery. I was mostly sore from internal bruising though the first two days the incisions were sort of bad but it was completely handled by the Lortab they gave me. Be sure to keep on that no fat diet for a few weeks after and slowly introduce fat back into your diet. I was surprised that I could tell it was out as I had absolutely no pain where I had had it before (I had stones in mine). That was really sort of interesting to me.
keep in touch and we'll all be glad to answer your questions.

 
Old 05-15-2006, 02:37 PM   #4
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Smile Re: Gallbladder Surgery - what to expect??

Thanks for responding so quickly! A friend of mine had surgery in March and they put a catheter in after she was asleep - she didn't remember it of course but they told her she had one. Another friend said he had no catheter ever during his surgery.

As long as I know they'll relieve my pain with medication if I say I'm in pain then that makes me feel better. I don't want to be sitting there in pain! I am so scared! I was terrified with my first surgery also but I got myself all worked up for NOTHING. I wasn't in ANY pain at all! Of course I have a nerve block which lasted for about 48 hours but never any pain - alittle sore but thats it! I HATE pain!!! I think I could handle pain but not pain that brings me to tears.

Thanks again for you help and sharing your experience.

 
Old 05-15-2006, 04:05 PM   #5
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Re: Gallbladder Surgery - what to expect??

Hi Quenterry, You showed up at the right time because you will see a few threads on this page. A few of us had it done within the past 4 days. Read each thread and you
will see how we're coming along. I did not have a catheter (that was one of my fears). My hida scan was 14% so not really different than yours. They found no stones...I just spoke to the dr. Just a gallbladder that was not in good shape, all inflamed. So I am glad I did this. I was just as nervous as you but when they put the needle in my hand, that was all I remember. I did vomit afterwards, some bile back in my room but it was quick and then I felt better. I had morphine in the IV and they gave me 2 Percosets at a time. The pain has been on and off since Friday's surgery but today is better. There are moments where it is sharp and knifelike but it passes. It also feels tight around the belly from the pumped gas, I look distended. I have not taken Vicodin since yesterday by choice. I slept like a baby because we do get tired after this and because it can be constipating. Did you ask your dr. what they will prescribe when you leave? Please don't worry about the pain...I found that what they gave me is sufficient. The worst part is getting in and out of bed but that is getting better and I am only 3 days post-op. I will be hanging around here for the next week and more so please write when you have questions, try to not google too much because you see the down side rather than the success stories. I am sitting on the sofa typing and in virtually no pain at the moment...with no painkillers in my system. So hang in there and keep checking our threads here and I will be thinking of you next week!

 
Old 05-15-2006, 04:28 PM   #6
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Re: Gallbladder Surgery - what to expect??

Paula,

I noticed that a few of you had your surgery just a few days ago. I hope you and everyone else is doing great!

I have horrible veins which is another reason I get nervous! I refuse them putting a needle in my hand - I have one vein in my left arm that everyone has been able to hit so I hope they listen to me! I never even thought about having a catheter with the surgery being so short but my like I said before my friend had one and that freaked me out a bit! I've been put to sleep before and didn't vomit so I hope it'll be the same this time around. But in case I do vomit, does it hurt?? I would imagine it would hurt like heck because you would be using your stomach muscles!

Do you think they kept your pain under control at the hosplital?

I know it sounds silly...but I don't care what they do to me but I just don't want to feel MAJOR pain and be in tears!

I read TOO much online and get myself all nervous reading people talking about how much pain they are in.

Thanks again!

Teresa

 
Old 05-15-2006, 05:55 PM   #7
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Re: Gallbladder Surgery - what to expect??

Most of the time, they are receptive to the patient telling them about veins. I think they usually go for the hand just because it's more convenient for the patient (with an IV at the elbow, you're generally reluctant to bend the arm). But if you tell them that the other veins are bad, they should go for the one you tell them to.

I've had two surgeries, and the pre-op procedure was pretty much identical for each. Register, talk to the nurse, they take the vital signs, then change into a gown, get an IV, and talk to the parade of people. For the gallbladder, I was nauseous that morning, so the anesthesiologist gave me some meds in the pre-op area and that's the last thing I remember.

When you wake up in recovery, you will probably be in pain, but they expect that and they'll have the needle over within seconds. I only needed two shots through the IV after surgery, then I switched to the pills and went home. Since you are staying in the hospital, you will probably stay on the IV meds, just because they are better. I was in the hospital with my ankle surgery, and they were pretty good with pain management. They generally got me something for the pain within 5-10 minutes of me ringing the nurses station. They also have medications for nausea, so if you do feel sick, you can get some of that and may not even throw up at all. I never felt sick after the surgery.

Really, as long as you keep up with the pain pills the first few days, you'll be fine.

 
Old 05-15-2006, 06:01 PM   #8
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Re: Gallbladder Surgery - what to expect??

They had me well medicated when I woke up so I didn't feel any pain then. When I was back in a room, they gave me some crackers and 7 Up and then some more meds - anti-nausea and pain. Then I peed for them, got dressed and went home.
I got there at 5 AM, was put under at 6:55, woke up at 7:35, called my friend at 9 to come get me and I was home in bed at 10(including a stop at the pharmacy for the Lortab). All in all, pretty nifty!

 
Old 05-15-2006, 07:13 PM   #9
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Re: Gallbladder Surgery - what to expect??

Teresa, it did not hurt when I vomited because I didn't have to force it. I said I felt nauseous and my boyfriend was sitting there and said "go ahead" and I threw up in the little basin, this green stuff which was bile. Charming, right? Argh..was I embarrassed? No...I was so stoned from the morphine and percoset that I didn't care. It seems pretty funny now. I also have veins that are not visible and hate the hand puncture but you know, at the moment you are in such shock that you don't care much (for me anyway)...it all happens so fast. I didn't tell them to not use my hand, I just didn't care...wanted them to just put me to sleep and get it over with but by all means if you are more comfortable in your arm, tell them. I also read too much on the internet and can drive myself crazy. Like many here have said, we see the people who are complaining on many of the message boards, not the ones like all of my friends who have had no problems. I am now 3 days post-op and sitting here talking to friends on the phone and laughing a bit. It hurts a bit when I laugh but it is tolerable. I get jolts now and then that scare me but I have to psyche myself to believe this is the normal healing process. It's the waiting that's anxiety provoking...I had to also wait 2 weeks for my surgery appointment and did as much as I could to distract myself, going to the theater, movies, shopping. Try to keep busy, it helps.

 
Old 05-16-2006, 10:14 AM   #10
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Re: Gallbladder Surgery - what to expect??

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH! Its really helpful hearing from everyone. I'm sure I'm working myself up for nothing!

Another fear has been vomiting and it hurting but thanks for letting me know it didn't hurt. Hearing people say pain pain pain I'm think this is going to be hell, but then I heard from a friend that its just really sore, like you did a million situps or something.

As soon as I get there I hope they knock me RIGHT OUT so I don't have to worry any more!

Thanks again for all your help.

Teresa

 
Old 05-16-2006, 10:31 AM   #11
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Re: Gallbladder Surgery - what to expect??

Hi there,

I'm brand new here.
I just had my gallbladder surgery on May 3rd, and my recovery has been less than fun. I went in for my surgery at 6am and was released at 3pm. Originally, I was told I would have 4 small holes, but it was necessary to cut me a little more. I ended up with 4 incisions and a total of 12 staples. (My staples were removed this past Friday, 10 days after surgery.)

As someone mentioned, everyone IS different, and I must say I am quite jealous when I read some of your recovery stories! I have had diarrhea many times a day, which began 4 days after surgery. My doctor told me to wait one more week and if things haven't changed, to contact him.

My incisions have basically healed (scabbed) and I get a strange random pain every so often... but, by far, my biggest complaint is that I can't seem to lie on either side when I sleep, especially my right side. After almost 2 weeks of sleeping flat on my back, I am exhausted and frustrated. I know that probably sounds like a ridiculous complaint, but I was wondering if anyone else experienced the same thing? My doctor indicated that I probably have one more week before I will feel "fully" recovered, so I'm hoping things get better.

 
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