This past week, I joined millions of others in the world who walk around without a gallbladder. Do I feel better without it? Probably. I wasn’t miserable before it came out, but when 4 doctors in 2 years tell you it needs to come out, it probably needs to come out. So I had it done.
The surgery went well, thank goodness because I was really nervous about it. It was a good thing I had it done. Apparently, my gallbladder loved my intestines so much that it was stuck to them, which caused my surgery to be a bit longer than planned. So removing it was a good plan, as this could have caused bigger problems later on had I delayed the procedure.
I was sent home the same afternoon. In by 10 am, out by 4 (I take a long time to recover from anesthesia, apparently). I was home and resting comfortably by 5, able to eat soup by 7 that night with minimal nausea. I’ve done pretty well since, but I’ve also kept my food pretty bland and low-fat. No major issues, just a bit of soreness at the largest incisions (not unexpected). I stopped taking my pain meds Thursday night as I haven’t needed them since. Besides, narcotic pain medication has some pretty undesirable side effects–itching and constipation to name a couple–so when I am placed on them, I take them for as short a time period as I can bear. I’ve been fine without them since. I’m on restricted lifting (nothing heavier than a jug of milk), and working out is off until next month so I won’t be back in the gym until September. I want to make sure my abdominal muscles have healed sufficiently so that I don’t cause myself to have a hernia (Lord knows I can’t afford another frickin’ surgery–this “pray you don’t get sick health plan” is bullshit, but that’s a post for another time and place).
I did have a few revelations the day of my surgery, though.
The epiphany I had was this: When you don’t weigh 400 pounds,
- Getting onto a gurney is much easier
- Scooting over onto an operating table is much easier
- A hospital gown wraps around you a bunch of times
- Nurses can find your veins with little issue
- They can also turn you with much less effort
- You fit into regular sized wheelchairs with no problem
- Your medicine doesn’t have to be dosed as high
- You don’t require as much anesthetic
- Recovery from surgery is a hell of a lot easier
Here’s a bit of perspective: when I had my WLS 2 years ago, I was sent home with an abdominal binder to wrap around my freshly cut midsection. This thing was a godsend, as you don’t realize just how important your core muscles are until you can’t use them. That was certainly true this week, as I had my gallbladder removed on Tuesday, putting 4 more holes in my abdomen. Awesome.
In the photo on the left, I’m holding the binder they sent me home with that day in my right hand. Notice how long and wide it is. Tuesday, after I had my gallbladder surgery, the nurses in recovery wrapped me up in yet another abdominal binder. When I realized what they were doing, I cheered (yes I was still coked to the gills) and immediately thought, ‘holy shit, it’s going to be huge.’ The binder they sent me home with is in my left hand in the picture. Notice how much shorter and more narrow it is than the one in my right hand. When I wear it, it actually overlaps me by about 18 inches.
The other day, I compared the measurements of each one and was stunned at the difference between the two binders in length and in width. If these things were that much different, it meant that I was that much different as well. It’s still so hard to fathom. It’s like Dr. Ashmore once said, “Your head takes about 2 years to catch up with your body.” He was absolutely right.
It’s a nice reminder that I have come a very long way since July 2013, and even though I haven’t reached my original weight goal (and probably never will, with which I am okay), I am far better off now than I was 2 years ago.