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Ok folks – at long last here is my account of my gall bladder operation experience – enjoy!
Thursday 9 December = Gall Bladder Operation Day
I had received a phone call from the hospital the previous afternoon asking to go in at 7.30am rather than 7am and to go to Day Surgery instead of Admissions. Duly arrived there to find about 20 other people there too. Eventually some nurses came out and told us it was very busy – they wouldn’t know until 9am if there were any beds available and we could be in for a long wait, or even sent home again. Didn’t help the norivirus (sickness and diahorrhea) bug was in the hospital so some wards were closed. As it turned out I was called about 7.50am and taken for pre-assessment where they did blood pressure, bloods, temperature and paperwork. The anaesthetist and registrar also came to see me. Had support stockings out on and was told I would be taken down about 10.30am but at 8.40am was told another lady took precedence so was asked to go and sit back in Day Surgery. At 11.30am we were told there would be delays – possibly mid-afternoon before my op – an emergency had pushed my name further down the list. I went and had a wander ( I was cold) and rang Matt to say not to worry about coming in to see me after work cos I had no idea how long I would be in theatre and recovery etc. Got back to Day Surgery and they were ready for me. Was told I was in a private ward (with en-suite facilities) and got taken there to wait. It was very warm in there and I felt very sleepy – at this rate I wouldn’t need the anaesthetic! Checked the booklet advertising the private room – costs £398 a day and the surgery £400 – I was getting in to ‘free’ on NHS!
Eventually got taken down to theatre just after 3pm. Was wheeled down in my bed – unlike my bypass when I had to walk to theatre. Had a laugh and joke with the anaesthetist and the surgeon and the last thing I remember is the anaesthetic going in and feeling very warm and fuzzy! Woke up in recovery just after 8pm. Seems the operation took longer cos my gall bladder was ‘stuck’ to my liver! They also had to abandon the keyhole method and make it ‘open surgery’. I had a drain in my side collecting blood and a drain in my stomach which is collecting bile from my bile duct. The blood drain would be removed on the Saturday but the bile drain is with me for 6 weeks. Luckily they didn’t need to put a catheter in. My first experience of using a commode was interesting. The urge was there but nothing came out. Obviously my insides had been jumbled around with the operation and I had to wait till they sorted themselves out. Feel very tired too – and the damned dry retching has come back when I get up and after my first cup of tea (and painkillers).
Friday 10 Dec
Got up at 5am cos I couldn’t get comfortable in bed – and my bum goes numb quickly! For some reason I didn’t get any food until this evening (hadn’t eaten since 7.30pm Weds evening – it was now Friday) but managed some soup and ice cream. Was told I would be here for the weekend at least. Had phone calls from Matt and his mum, also a visit from Tracy my friend. Matt came to visit about 5.30pm but only stayed an hour cos I wasn’t really up to talking. Spent the evening watching television and dozing off. Was helped into bed by the night staff at 11pm after they had removed my drip so I could at least move freely (and go to the toilet on my own!).
Saturday 11 Dec.
Got up at 5.30am and had some painkillers. Consultant came round and said I could have my blood drain taken out and my bile drain cut back (It was dangling) and strapped to my leg – can’t see it being the latest fashion accessory! It wasn’t too bad having the drain taken out – deep breath and exhale as it comes out. Had weetabix for breakfast and jacket potato with cheese for lunch. Still having the gagging reflex after the first mouthful of food or drink. Both Matt and Tracy came to visit and I was given permission to go off the ward, so we went to the coffee shop in the foyer (me in a wheelchair). After they took me back I spent the rest of the day sitting in a chair watching TV or reading. Not up to doing much else!
Sunday 12 Dec
Got up at 6.10am. Had a shower which felt great and put my own nightie on instead of the hospital gown which never fits properly and everyone can see your backside when you turn round! Heard someone say there was a C-Diff virus in the hospital so things like the newspaper and sweet trolley weren’t allowed in. The registrar came round and seemed very happy with my progress. Said they would inject a dye into my bile tube to check its all flowing ok, usually about 10 days after the operation, but it would be up to the consultant whether I stayed in hospital for those 10 days or be allowed to go home and return as an out patient. Matt came this afternoon and we went to the coffee shop again then went back to my room and he beat me at Scrabble. He said that, given the option, I should stay in hospital as long as possible (bearing in mind we live in a house with no heating, no proper bathing facilities and he couldn’t get time off work so I would be fending for myself). The thought did appeal to me – warm room, 3 meals a day, bathing facilities, someone on hand to care for me – I was cocooned in my own heaven. Felt nauseous this evening. Must be the after effects of the anaesthetic still.
Monday 13 Dec
Woke at 6am but dozed till 7am. Felt really ‘down’ when I woke up – tearful, depressed etc. I do get days like these sometimes – I just have to work my way through them as best as Ican. I am also aware that I had quite an easy time of recovery after my gastric bypass and this time round its a lot worse. Having keyhole first time round and open surgery this time probably accounts for it!
At 9.45am I had some blood taken to check for liver and inflammation purposes. I then had a visit from the consultant who told me I could go home and he would see me in Outpatients sometime in January 2011! Now bearing in mind how I was feeling I was not prepared for this news and after he had gone had a long cry. In fact I spent most of the day crying on and off. I had to keep asking the nurses for medication to take home with me and a sick note for work. I had to wait for Matt to finish work so he could pick me up so it was gone 5.30pm before we eventually got the sick note. The one thing they didn’t give me was fresh dressings for my wounds – more of that later! We got home and I felt (and still do feel to some extent) useless. I couldn’t do anything for myself. I felt angry with the hospital for not checking I had proper aftercare in place. I felt like I had been dumped – “Not our problem anymore”.
On a bonus side (of sorts) – whilst I was in hospital I got a call from the people who organised the Slimmer of the Year awards run by Streamline Surgical. Seems I had been shortlisted! Only problem is they wanted me to go to London that week for a make over and photo shoot and I only came out of hospital today! I really am not in a state to travel. They have asked if I can go next week – will have to see how I am. Shame really – could have done with the pampering!
Tuesday 14 Dec
Had a ‘blockage’ this morning which took a while to clear. In pain from the operation (obviously!) I described it to Matt as like “when you are sunburnt and your skin feels like its cracking when you move”. If I’m sitting down I’m ok but getting up and standing is a nono.
Thursday 16 Dec
Emailed Christina at Streamline withdrawing my application for Slimmer of the Year. There is no way I am fit to travel anywhere (and with the weather as it is….). As it turns out, they have postponed the competition until next year. Seems I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t get to London the week before Christmas!
Friday 17 Dec
I have seepage from one of my wounds (the bile drain) so made appt to see practice nurse. Then that afternoon we had a freak snow storm and I couldn’t get put so had to cancel appt.
Saturday 18 Dec
Ended up at A&E to have my wounds looked at. Wasn’t too long a wait – got there at 10.45 – out just after 1pm. The blood is seeping from my drain wound but they didn’t seem too worried about it. Were surprised to hear I wasn’t given any dressings when I was discharged so gave me some.
So there we are –up to date. I am frustrated cos I can’t go out cos of the weather. We tried a little walk yesterday – I managed once round the block and then gave up – I was worried I would slip over. I feel housebound – I certainly have no interest in Christmas so we are ignoring it again this year. I think I just want this year to be over with so I can start afresh next year. The other problem I have is that with being housebound and not being able to move around, any food I am eating is not being burned off and I know I shall put weight on. I also know that when I am fit enough to go back to the gym I will lose it again, so I need to give myself a break and stop beating myself up over it. I certainly don’t want tog o back to the old eating habits I used to have – though the temptation is there.
Here’s to 2011!