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Thread: Getting old sucks

  1. #1
    Tiny Dancer Drewbie's Avatar
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    Getting old sucks

    So, as some of you are aware, I had a couple of gallbladder flare ups in mid-May that put me into the ER for 3 hours one night and made me make the decision to have my gallbladder removed. That was performed last Friday in what was considered an uneventful surgery. I went in at 7:45 and was back home before noon.

    Saturday was painful, but expected to be, but not too bad. We had some friends over to play board games and the only thing that really hurt was if they made me laugh. I played Sunday night on the computer, but things were starting to feel worse instead of better. I had a bit of an issue Sunday that hurt badly for a couple hours, but it passed.

    Monday I called the nurse line to see if they had concerns about what was going on with me, but they kept insisting it must just be constipation. That it would be made worse by taking my pain meds had me not taking my pain meds in hopes I could finally poop. The whole terrible Monday culminated with me in the fetal position on the floor of my bathroom giving myself an enema. That worked, but it really didn't do much to make me feel any better. Monday night, I did sleep a bit. During this whole ordeal I've maybe gotten 2-3 consecutive hours of sleep. I fall asleep from exhaustion while sitting up or whenever, but very rarely am I actually in my bed for long. I hadn't gotten out of the chair I was trying to sleep in until maybe 5:30 Tuesday morning, but when I did, things were far worse.

    I couldn't stand upright. I could barely breathe. Everything hurt. I couldn't pee. I had no thirst. My wife was in the shower when I finally went in and told her we had to go to the hospital. My neighbor came over to take care of our girls, and we were off. We got to the ER and the put me on some stronger pain meds, but they did virtually nothing. Finally they put me in a CT scan. The hardest part was the deep breath they want you to hold through that. The blood tests they did showed elevated liver and pancreas numbers, but the CT scan wasn't definitive either. I got my first ever ambulance ride over to the hospital my surgeon works at. They set me up in my room and scheduled me for another surgery at 4. The plan was to do an endoscopy where they'd knock me out, go down my throat, then up the bile duct from the bottom to see if a stone had escaped when they removed the gall bladder. They'd pull it out and that'd be it.

    Surgery finally came and my doctor had also discovered that the complications had caused a leak in my bile duct and some fluid was pooling in my abdomen. He was going to reopen a couple of my laparoscopic incisions and try to flush it out, if it seemed like there was a lot in there. It was about 4:15. The guessed it'd take 40-90 minutes. Then I was out.

    I came to in recovery close to 8 pm. I was shivering so bad they had 2 huge heating pads on me and heated blankets wrapping my face. There were 4 nurses trying to get me warm as I shook so bad the oxygen mask couldn't stay on. I finally got warm and they brought me back up to my room. None of the nurses in recovery knew anything about what had happened in surgery, so I had to wait to talk with my family who had met with the doctor.

    Turns out I had something called a Duct of Luschka, which is an extra bile duct that in my case connected to the kidney, kinda. What it was really doing was causing the leak that filled my abdomen with 700 mL of bile. That was the cause of my apparently near orange colored eyes that Tuesday morning. They took care of the duct, put a stint in my bile duct so there's no way there can be additional build of of bile, and flushed out the 700 mL of bile. Oh yea, at 2 hours into the surgery, someone decided I needed a catheter. I hate that person.

    I stayed overnight in the hospital and was released a bit after 3 yesterday afternoon. I'm still dealing with some weird things, like being freezing cold when I lay on either side and sweating like a pig on a spit when I lay on my back. My pillow has gotta be holding 2-3 gallons of sweat. Otherwise, things are improving. I still get winded trying to talk too much, but my pain is greatly reduced. Where I was getting down to a 6 on a good day a few days ago, I'm now riding a 2 or 3 all the time while still going light on the pain meds.

    So there you go. Getting old sucks and having rare complications sucks worse. Apparently if I'd have just tried to ride it out and kept believing the nurses that it was just constipation, after 7 days about 44% of people with what I had going on die. So there's that.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drewbie View Post
    Oh yea, at 2 hours into the surgery, someone decided I needed a catheter. I hate that person.
    Ha ha, somebody touched your wiener while you were sedated. Oh, right, the rest of that sucks too. Glad you're feeling better, hopefully you don't have any other useless mutant powers waiting to kill you.

  3. #3
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    I had similar bad luck with my gallbladder, with the bonus that I had to go back to the hospital on Christmas Day (and two catheters one of which I was awake for). I always hear other people dealing with it as an in and out surgery I don't know how you and I got so unlucky.

  4. #4
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drewbie View Post
    I came to in recovery close to 8 pm. I was shivering so bad they had 2 huge heating pads on me and heated blankets wrapping my face.
    Well that's surprisingly scary. Waking up hours after you were supposed to is already problematic, but then being in a situation that was not anticipated compounds it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drewbie View Post
    There were 4 nurses trying to get me warm
    :giggity:

    Quote Originally Posted by Drewbie View Post
    as I shook so bad the oxygen mask couldn't stay on.
    Oh.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drewbie View Post
    I stayed overnight in the hospital and was released a bit after 3 yesterday afternoon. I'm still dealing with some weird things, like being freezing cold when I lay on either side and sweating like a pig on a spit when I lay on my back.
    The coldness is what's creeping me out the most. What the hell is causing that? Did they surreptitiously drain you of all your blood while you were in surgery? Are you a wight now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drewbie View Post
    Apparently if I'd have just tried to ride it out and kept believing the nurses that it was just constipation, after 7 days about 44% of people with what I had going on die. So there's that.
    Well done! Being manly and staying away from the hospital when there's clearly a problem is the #1 leading cause of death. I've lost uncles that way.

    Your statistic seems to have come from Wikipedia, or else your doctor is a Wiki reader:

    If an accessory bile duct goes unrecognized at the time of the gallbladder removal, 5–7 days post-operative the patient will develop bile peritonitis,[citation needed] an easily treatable complication with a morbidity rate of 44% if left untreated.
    I was trying to figure out how they'd have missed this when they cut you open the first time, but whatever, they found it now. Now begin your convalescence, and don't forget to demand hot chocolate every hour or so.

  5. #5
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    I hope you get better man. Hopefully your doctors talked all about what kind of diet you need to have to maintain optimal health with the lack of that "unnecessary" gall bladder.

    For another example of complications with a side of "again????"...
    When my son had open chest surgery for his heart the first time (3 days old) the doctor accidentally sliced through a lymph duct (thoracic iirc), so he had to go on a low/no fat diet and stay in the hospital longer until it healed. I could understand. Newborns are tiny. When he had his second surgery (at 2 years) again his lymph duct got sliced- by the same surgeon! Come on dude! I know you keep records!

    Side note... seeing the chest drainage tank filling up with mostly what amounts to "bloody fat"- not cool!

  6. #6
    Tiny Dancer Drewbie's Avatar
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    Everybody (nurses) was surprised they didn't put in a drain given how much bile they took out, but they did stop the inflow. They did have to change the dressing every couple hours that first night though. So that was fun. Hey! Ya comfy? Cool, let's just rip tape off your chest again, then put it back on so we can go again as soon as you're almost asleep. The morning shift finally realized I didn't need a foot square of bandage anymore so then I went to a wad of gauze and some tape.

  7. #7
    Tiny Dancer Drewbie's Avatar
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    Had my follow-up appointment yesterday afternoon. I intentionally got there early and brought a couple dozen cookies to the nursing station outside the room I was in. Those nurses made that terrible situation a great deal better and $7 in cookies was the least I could do. Based on their reaction, that doesn't happen very often and that really bums me out.

    Anyway, so I met with my doctor and my first question was how many times he'd encountered my particular complication. I was his first. So that's swell. Nothing like your doctor telling you he's never seen what I had. I have some lingering pains that sprout up from time to time, but apparently that's just my abdominal lining recovering from being a bag full of bile for 4+ days. That's not exactly the best substance to soak your organs in apparently. I will have to go back in to get the stint they put in my bile duct removed, but it'll be a conscious sedation so a fair bit less invasive than my previous encounters.

    All told, I'm doing a great deal better. I'm sleeping way better than I have in weeks and sleep is amazing for making you feel better. I should be back to my old self following removal of the stint.

    Meanwhile, in the past few weeks, I've lost about 13 lbs and have continued to lose a bit even though I'm eating normal foods again. I'm at 207 as of this morning, which puts me 7 lbs away from 50 lbs total lost over the past year. Hoping I can hit that in the next month or so once I can reintroduce exercise. 200 lbs has been a magic number for me for quite awhile. I've got bad knees and been told that I shouldn't do any running til I'm under 200. I'm hoping that once I'm under that mark, I can add some running to my routine and really get going towards getting to a weight classified as "normal" rather than "overweight". It was a big deal when I got into "overweight" from "obese" and I feel like I'm on the right track to make that next leap.

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    Nice work on getting healthy! Those are some impressive numbers. If you do want to run maybe something like these could help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nynnja View Post
    Nice work on getting healthy! Those are some impressive numbers. If you do want to run maybe something like these could help.
    I also highly recommend the C25K App. It did a great job of keeping me from overexerting myself and getting hurt.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drewbie View Post
    Meanwhile, in the past few weeks, I've lost about 13 lbs and have continued to lose a bit even though I'm eating normal foods again. I'm at 207 as of this morning, which puts me 7 lbs away from 50 lbs total lost over the past year.
    holy shit, that's awesome, nice work!

    if you don't already do this, i would suggest taking a brisk walk for 45-60 minutes a few times a week if you can. It's not running, so hopefully you can manage without knee pain. the 45 minute mark is the magic spot where fat will just start burning away like crazy. if you can get your heart rate up just a tad and sustain it for at least 45 minutes, it may really help you melt away those remaining pounds

    EDIT: if you don't already do 45 minutes or more of sustained activity a few times a week - work yourself up to it starting at like 10-15 minutes (or whatever you can handle) then increase over a couple weeks until you are at or past 45 minutes

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