Those of you hungry for the remains of the Wall Street Poker den will have to wait a little while longer.
I entered the hospital Wed. morning with very high spirits. Thinking about the particulars of the surgery was only going to make me uber nervous, so I tried to concentrate on the other-worldliness of my surroundings. My parents and I arrived at the hospital at 9AM on the button. We wandered through the lobby to find the surgical waiting area, and my first bit of fantasy hit me. The waiting area is set up as a combination airport/Cheesecake Factory. There are two large screen TV's set up exactly like an airport, but instead of tracking incoming and outgoing flights, they track surgerys in real time! The last name and first initial of each patient is posted with the time of admittance and the status of the surgery! In/Out/OR/Reco, etc... Pretty impressive. I walked up to the front desk and registered myself and they gave me a buzzing beeper. You know the buzzing beeper. The same ones they give you at The Cheesequake Factory to let you know when your seat is ready but you can still wander the mall. Like I said, other-worldly. I waited patiently with my parents for an hour or so and I was called by the familiar beep/buzz of my beeper/buzzer. Directed to a cubicle where a hospital beureaucrat was waiting, I signed my name on a whole bunch of forms before being given an armband and a trip up to the first level of Dante's Hell. This first level is where you wait, yet again, for multiple nurse's to take your blood/temperature/vitals, etc... Each time a separate person came to see me, the first question was, "Can I see your armband". I think SOMEONE's been sued before. Turns out I have O+ blood type, in case anyone is keeping track. It took about 90 minutes to fully get me prepared and then my parents were allowed to join me again while we waited for the OR to open up. I was stripped down, my clothes were placed in bags and stored and I was dress in the usual gown with the open ass. On to a guerney I went and I was rolled into the pre-operating area, with about a dozen people waiting with me. A host of doctors, anesthesiologists and interns came to take information for me. Needles were inserted, fluids were started and then finally my surgeon came to say hello. "Things are a little backed up," he said. Turns out my 11AM operational appointment was going to be closer to 1:30 or so. I didn't mind. I kept my mind on taking in the surroundings and keeping myself from going nuts. Finally, the anesthesiologist came in and said we were going to go in. She started me on the "good" drugs and I caught the other woman wheeling me in say that "Dr. Jacob is so meticulous". It was a wonderful thing to hear just as my world turned hazy and I passed out. I wasn't even in the OR yet.
I came to, barely, and my parents were standing over me. I had no idea what time it was but I'd say in hidsight that it must have been about 4:00PM. The surgeon came over to me and I was too weak and hazy to even shake my head in acknolwedgement. Some words came to me, but I had trouble making them out. "Surgery" "Good" "Excellent" "Necrotic" "Worse than anticipated" I didn't know what it all meant and I had no strength to care. The anesthesia was still in heavy effect and I passed out for about another 2 hours. When I came to, the surgeon reappeared and I was able to finally take my status into account. I looked down and there were bandages I could feel underneath my robe. There was also a small grenade shaped bladder, attached to a tube which was pinned to my clothing. I followed the tube with my eyes and found it attached to ME, underneath a particularly large bandage. I had done a lot of research into this surgery and I didn't remember a single time where I heard about this bladder. What the hell happened?
The surgeon explained that my gall bladder had been in much worse shape than anticipated. It was, and I quote, "Chock Full" of stones and had been chronically inflamed for what appeared to be years. The inflammation had caused my cystic duct, the tube joining my gall bladder to my liver's bile duct, to be shorter than expected. What that meant was that clipping off the duct tube once the gall bladder was removed, would be riskier than hoped for. And that's why I had a bladder attached to me. The bladder gather up liquids from the general area of the where the gall bladder user to be and if it shows up with bile, I'll know the clips fell off and the tube is now leaking bile into my body. So far, so good, by the way.
Surgery was a little busy that night, so it took a while to get me into a room. By 10PM, I had a room with a roomate and the full attention of a staff of nurses. Mt. Sinai, I must say, is fantastic for post operative care. The nurses were on the spot at all hours and were excellent and sensitive. I will spare you the more disgusting details of my stay, but suffice it to say that each nurse I came in contact with was profession, excellent and discreet. I felt very taken care of. Each doctor I came in contact with, my surgeon, my GI, my cardiologist, etc.. all stopped by personally for visits. Some more than once. I had anticipated going home the night after the surgery, but I tried wrapping my mind around one more night. But I felt weak, very weak.
My body was growing stronger, but it wasn't fully back up to par. Still isn't. I spent a very long day sitting in my bed trying to move body parts. My stomach muscles are very sore and it's really incredible how many things you do that use those muscles. Standing up, sitting down, moving your legs, rolling over. Everything! My parents did their best to drive me nuts but I tried to work past it by sleeping as often as possible. It was hard, but I managed. Between the poking and prodding, my mother's rambling, and the pain in my belly. It was a long day. I wasn't ready to go home and my surgeon agreed with me. One more day would do me.
I woke up Friday morning and I had gotten significantly better. My walking is still stilted and painful and slow, but that's better than the 90 year old shuffle I was doing the day before. And let's be serious. It was barely 36 hours after major surgery.
I was released at about 4:30 and have been home since, under the watchful eyes of my parents. The bladder grenade thing is still attached to me, but it'll be removed on Tuesday or Wed. I have a followup with my GI on Monday and I look forward to feeling better every day.
THANKS to everyone who helped with my recovery just by showing they cared. You know who you are and I love you for it. Best get well gift? Custom Wall Street Poker Dunkin Donuts gift card. Awesome.