Complicating this gall bladder is the fact I was also changing doctors at this time. The doctor I did choose at a local clinic is on vacation, & she had no openings between the time she got back and the scheduled ERCP. Fortunately, I found another doctor in the same system who can perform a Pre-Op Physical. In yesterday's mail came instructions for getting ready for the ERCP at the far away hospital. I am hoping to speak with the doctor prior to the physical and ask her to refer me to a surgeon who is closer because I may not have transportation to the other place. *NEWEST UPDATE 7.27 *
A new wrinkle. Because I am with Badger Care Plus, and because of the county I live in, it was mandatory that I join an HMO. The one I picked is the largest HMO in my part of the state, & it plays well with the largest health care provider in the area. But not with that other hospital; so circumstances forced me to cancel the scheduled ERCP. I am hoping that the doctor I am seeing tomorrow can refer me to a surgeon in the same city.
Something really ironic happened this morning: my mom phoned a friend of hers and found out that this friend's daughter was having emergency surgery to remove her gall bladder. 2014 must be the year for gall stones, apparently. *EVEN NEWER UPDATE 7.28 *
Saw the doctor today, she was very nice and helped me get a plan of action going. I had to sign a record release form for the hospital. Once she gets an idea of my treatment history, she can refer me to someone in the Gastroenterology Department to get the procedures that need doing done. I also have to call my HMO and say "this is what I need done, who do you cover?" It feels nice to finally be moving forward - even if it's slowly.
You wouldn't like it when its angry.
The doctor called it gall stone pancreatitis.
I called it the worst godawful pain I'd ever felt in my LIFE. My entire midsection - abs, ribs, and back - were on fire with agony. Nothing made it go away, much less eased it. Not ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium. Not standing, sitting, walking around, or laying on my bed. Leaning on the kitchen counter only made it worse. I was sweating profusely and was sure it was appendicitis when I finally gave in and called 9-1-1.
We had a house full of company too, my niece and her family from Texas, so the timing couldn't have been worse. I spent the balance of Thursday and part of Friday at one hospital where I had an ultrasound and was diagnosed. Then I was transferred to another hospital because the first one didn't perform a sort of procedure called an ECRP (or is it ERCP?); where a tube was inserted down my throat and they looked to see how many gall stones were there.
One of them was blocking the bile duct, and the pancreatic duct, which is why my pancreas was acting like The Incredible Hulk, instead of mild-mannered Bruce Banner (Pancreas smash!). The GI team got that one stone, but another was too big, so they inserted a stent to keep the bile flowing. I was under sedation, so I thankfully don't remember any of it.
I'd spent most of my hospital stay up to then sleeping, waking, and occasionally throwing up; but I began to feel more alive by Saturday night and was able to catch some of the Adult Swim anime block. On Sunday, I was allowed clear liquids, which I tolerated rather well considering I hadn't eaten since Thursday morning. Lunch was a delectable beef broth; and for supper, I went all out on chicken broth, apple juice, and an Italian ice. My room had cable TV, so I watched some movies - "Ironman 3", "Monster University", & "Oblivion". But I was also getting sick of being in the hospital (yes, I know how ironic that sounds); I haven't spent time in a hospital in some 45 years when I had my tonsils out at the age of 9.
The staff couldn't make up their minds what they wanted to do. Their tentative plan was to go after that other gall stone, but they instead decided to give the pancreas more time to settle down. My diet was advanced to "surgical transition", which means soft food, breakfast was unseasoned scrambled eggs, a toasted plain bagel, and cranberry juice. I ate very slowly, chewed thoroughly, and waited several minutes between bites as my discharge would depend on how well my body tolerated the change in diet.
I finally got out of there about 3:30 pm on Monday when a cousin picked me up and took me home through a nasty thunderstorm. The next day, I went to the local pharmacy and picked up new meds: an antibiotic (there was an infection in my gall bladder, & I was on IV antibiotics throughout my stay), & a drug that is supposed to dissolve the gall stone. Because of possible drug interaction problems, I had to take them four hours apart from the usual high blood pressure meds that I take. It's like there aren't enough hours in the day to take all this stuff.
Worst of all is the continued non resolution. I have to see a surgeon for a consultation on the 14th, then I'll have another ECRP (or ERCP) under general anesthesia in early August. If all systems are go, then I must wait another 3 weeks to have my gall bladder removed in a laparoscopy procedure. I'm hoping, really hoping, at least one will be an outpatient gig.
Because I'm really sick of hospitals.
Deviants who are my friends:
Deviants I admire
will return. Eventually