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Sunday, February 18, 2007

i'm short but i'm healthy yeah-ah

**Many have inquired as to my health lately, so if you're interested in what's going on, please continue reading this post.**

Here's my history: I've had heartburn since approximately 1998; Tums have been a staple of my existence since my first pregnancy, taken daily and mostly at night. Last September I started taking lactase tablets because dairy did not agree with me. Little by little since then, certain foods had to be eliminated from my diet, pizza foremost among them. Then, in mid-January, I contracted that vomit virus that was going around. I never fully recovered from that, and began having serious abdominal pain every time I ate or drank anything (added intestinal/gas pain depending on the food). The pain would start about 30 minutes after I started eating and continually get worse and worse until that pain was replaced by the pain of being hungry -- and I didn't want to eat again because I knew what that meant - it just would start all over again.

A few Saturdays ago I went to the local ER because of the pain. After an hour's wait in the waiting room, I was put into the "fast track" area, where the doctor who assessed me determined, rather quickly, that I needed an actual room rather than the fast-track service . After a few blood draws and an ultrasound of my belly (where they discovered a pollyp on my gallbladder), and some GOOD pain medicine, I was told I had an ulcer, and released. I went home with the intentions of continuing my diet of toast, oatmeal, and for some fun flavor, bananas. The next day, however, after relaying all of this to my stepdad, who is a Physician's Assistant, he told me, "You don't have an ulcer."

"How do you know?"

"Did they do any tests? Have you drink anything chalky?"

"Uh...blood draw and an ultrasound."

"You can't find an ulcer from those tests."


"Plus, with an ulcer, you get pain and then eat to temporarily eat the pain. You get pain from eating. It's different."

"So...what should I do?"

"When you follow up with your doctor, ask for a hidascan to rule out gallbladder disease."

Thank goodness for Dave. Because of him, I knew what to say when the nurse suggested, over the phone, that I just keep trying the medication until Friday to see if it helps: "Uh, I don't mean to be presumptuous, but I need to get a hidascan to rule out gallbladder disease."

After asking the doctor, she phoned back with, again, the same suggestion that we just wait it out.

At this point, I started crying a bit, and explained, again: "I don't want to be an annoying patient here, but I REALLY need to be more proactive about this. I can't function. The pain interferes with my being able to change diapers and otherwise function." Nurse said, "Hold on a minute." She came back with, "Okay, we'll get a scan set up for you today."

The next day, Tuesday, I had the scan which, if you're at all claustrophobic, I don't recommend. After more phoning madness, we received the news on Wednesday that I do, in fact, have gallbladder disease, and do I have a preference for which surgeon to meet with. (Yes, thanks to my friend b., I sure do.) Thursday I met with a surgeon of choice for a consult, and it was determinded that I would have the surgery. One of my few questions for him was, "How soon can we do this?" He checked his calender, and, whuddya know, he had an available appointment the very next day.

I drove myself to the surgery center on Friday a little before 7:am, listening to my favorite morning radio show. It was during this drive that I realized, with a surprising shock, that I'd never had surgery before, and I really didn't know what I was in for. (I've had my wisdom teeth removed, but I wasn't put under for it.) I registered and was called back by a nurse, whose first question to me caught me off-guard: "Why are you here today?" I know that this was probably to confirm that I was indeed who I am, but I still thought it was a bit funny. I put on a gown and a cap and special socks, and took off my glasses and wedding ring. I scuffled over to my bed, where I got an IV (approximately my fifth stick that week). More people asking questions: the surgeon and his assistant. Finally it was time to begin. As I was wheeled into the operating room, I began to chant, in my mind, my kids' names repeatedly, to calm myself. The operating room was COLD. I scooted myself from the bed to the table, and I realized that a radio was on. I had the thought: If I die, I am going to be beyond pissed that the last voices I heard belong to Chunga and Mister.

The next thing I know, I am back in the bed, waking up and crying, like a two-year-old, "Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow OW OWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!!" It was very out-of-mind, and primitive. I cried myself back to sleep. I was woken up periodically to take sips of water, and was moved to a recliner (a la lazy boy). Also, I was taken on walks by the nurses, who had to remind me to do things like, "Use your leg muscles," and, "Open your eyes." A few hours later, Darin and the munchkins arrived to take me home (when they walked in, one nurse took a look at the kids and said, " I know why you're so tired."). I was given instructions: Follow up with the surgeon in a week. In the meantime, no baths (showers are okay), and no lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk. HELLO?! Why didn't anyone tell me that one before? I have a sixteen-pound baby!

When I got home, I realized that I needed help. My mom coming to visit was out of the question because she was in Illinois helping her brother who had just had surgery. So my seester, Beans, came from Florida. She was here for a week. I am SO GRATEFUL that she was here. She was with me when I had to go back to the ER the day after surgery because of my chest pains. She changed countless diapers, gave baths, brushed hair, tied shoes, cooked food, made bottles, got up with the baby in the middle of the night, bought groceries, took us out to dinner, and so very much more. I loved having her here. We had some good laughs and she even helped me begin to compose a song called "My Nips Don't Lie" ("Oh, Bubby, when you bite like that...You make a mommy real sad..."). She only left to go home last night, and we miss her so much already. Also, and I hope she doesn't mind me saying this: while she was here, she went for 6 days+ without a cigarette. That is huge for her. I know she can quit now if she really wants to. I'm so proud that she did that.

An extra added bonus: remember my ward who doesn't really provide meals if you have a baby? Well, they'll bring food if you have surgery! Just get an operation, and you've got at LEAST a week of meals. Wah-la. SO helpful. It's my time to be the recipient of others' service. I feel so blessed.

I have to follow up with the surgeon on Wednesday. Still waiting on lab results to make sure the gallbladder didn't contain any, you know, cancer. I'm a little sore at the incision sites, but other than that I feel good. And, GET THIS: since my surgery, I have not had one lactase tablet, nor any TUMS. It's a valentine miracle.

Today's Yay: Happy Chinese New Year!
Today's Boo: Missing Beans.


sue-donym said...

Glad you are feeling better.

It was great to meet beans. So glad she could come and help you out. (and congrats to her on no cigs - keep it up!)

b. said...

I was worried.
Thank you for the update.
Continue doing only as much as you are allowed to know the routine.
So thankful things went well, and that your seester got to come and stay with you. I love seesters.
Consider yourself hugged.

Lyle said...

I hate it when they don't like to listen to the patient. A few weeks ago we had out 2 yr old son in because he had dislocated his wrist for like the third time in a short period of time and we were wanting to make sure there wasn't anything specific causing his woes. Stupid doctor, first suggested that he was probably just crying because he was mad at his older sister [who dragged him down the hall by his hand] and then she kept trying to insist that it was his elbow that was bothering him and not his wrist. the x-rays didn't show a thing [silly thing popped back into place while the x-ray technician was positioning the arm.]

Glad you're feeling better

Tiffany UnTwisted said...

I was so glad to see you out on Sat and glad thigns are getting better for you cuz basically, you're a miracle worker and so therefore you deserve your own miracles.

(BTW Lyle -- not sure if you go back and read comments again, but my 2-year pops her elbow & wrist out of the socket quite easily as well -- been doing it since she was 6-months old. They finally just showed us how to get it back in place. Apparently, it might be hereditary because i was like that as a child too. The doc called it something that i can't remember now, but we found out about it when she started trying to pull herself up onto things.)


Carina said...

That St. Valentine with his miracles!

beans is pretty awesome.

pflower10 said...

WHAT A STORY!!!!! I have such an image in my mind now. I guess we can all say that Beans are no longer just a magical fruit.....I applaud her 6 days of going without. My bro is going through the same thing, it's a hard thing to watch.

Glad you're feeling better. Do you still have to stay away from pizza now?? Are there any restriction's now that you are sans gallbladder?

You need to come to GNO again. It was fun to meet you.

dalene said...

Sorry I missed you the other day, but I was glad to meet Beans (although she was suprised when I said "You must be Beans!").

Hope you are feeling better. And that you all got the car trouble resolved.

p.s. if you ever have to have surgery again, please call me for a ride. No one should have to drive themselves to the OR.

QueenScarlett said...

Gong Xi Fa Tsai! (mandarin...)

So glad to hear that things lined up right for you. How are you feeling pain-wise now?

Hope your recovery is smooth...and what is it with freezing cold operating rooms? Always makes my frazzled nerves even more jittery.

Let us know how the results are when they come back. Praying for you.

kiki said...

A friend of mine recently went through the sharp pains after eating and the subsequent gallbladder removal.

I don't like the word gallbladder.

Anyway, I'm glad you got yours taken care of and that you are feeling better and that your negligent ward is helping you out.

wendysue said...

Gung Hay Fat Choy! (My kids have been yelling that to me all weekend. . .thank you disney channel.)

I'm glad everything went well, and even more glad that you are without Tums and Lactase! (There were times for me that I had a full bottle/package of each of those in my purse)

I know that question always is strange (in the dental office, our assistant always likes to ask the patients what they are there for that day? But I think she does it just to see who's on top of things. . .so you got an A+ that day!)

p.s. Lyle and Tiff-fay-fay. . .it's called nursemaids elbow (who came up with that one?) my 2nd had it, I felt like I always had to explain myself. . .no I swear we were just playing, she just fell off the chair. . .it stopped when she was about 3. . .their ligaments are finally strong enough to hold that sucker in place.

~j. said...

sue - thanks for coming over and meeting her. ps-have you written about your AWESOME anniversary gift yet?

b. - thank you for the recommendation! When they asked, "Do you have a preferred surgeon?" I pulled out my little scrap of a Carrabba's bag and said, "Well, actually...".

lyle - our oldest went through that, too. I understand your frustrations! My husband, too, was taught how to just 'pop' her arm back into place. It always amazed me to see the contrast in HOW MUCH PAIN she had while it was out, and then how FINE she was after he'd just put it back into place, like nothing had happened. Hang in there.

tiff -- thank you. You are sweet. I was so glad to see you on Saturday, too.

'zu - The miracles of San Valenteen include helping people be more dilated, I've heard...

pf10 - I'm not completely sure of the restrictions, food-wise. A low-fat diet for certain, but I'll find out more details at my follow-up. I've wanted to come to more GNOs, but I couldn't because, well, it was too painful to eat. I'll see you at another, though, count me in! And best of luck to your bro -- He can do it!

cw - THANK YOU FOR THE COOKIES. I am so bummed that I missed you (but i just HAD to go get a few prescriptions filled). I didn't mind driving myself, really. We knew that D had to stay here with the kidlets to get them off to school and whatnot, so I just drove the car and left it there, and we went back to get it a few days later (and then it died...). Any way, I hope your trip is/was so much fun!

Queen - I had wanted to write it in Chinese, but my brother didn't get back to me in time with how I should write it (because he knows, and I'm too lazy to google it). Yeah...the cold rooms are probably to counter all the electronics in the room (I'm guessing), so maybe they blessed me with some of the WARM BLANKETS that they have...mmm...blanket warmer... I'm feeling good, just a little sore, thanks for asking.

kiki - yeah, i don't like the word either. And I've said it far too often in the last few weeks. Has your friend had relief since his/her surgery?

wendysue - I'm wondering if the tums company will call me and ask why their product isn't moving off the shelves of the Orem Costco as quickly anymore... by the way, I have LOVED the bday photos/tributes of/to your girls on your blog. And the baptism?! Li'l ~j. gets baptized in May and I'm a tad freaked!

i i eee said...

So glad you've a sister like Beans!

What a crazy thing to go through -good thing your stepdad is a smart, helpful man.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, and I look forward to reading more of yours as well.

kiki said...

Yes. She feels MUCH better.

More Caffiene, Please said...

I'm glad you're better. Now, what will you buy yourself with all the filthy lucre you'll save from not having to purchase Tums anymore?

~j. said...

meta - welcome! Yes, we love beans.

kiki - oh, good. I do too, already.

mcp -- hmm...perhaps I'll buy...the surgery. I love medical bills!

C. Jane Kendrick said...

You go without tums. Beans goes without smokes. Miracles all around.

Tori :) said...

I'm glad you're feeling better. Way to be proactive!!! :)

Unknown said...

Tiff-fay-fay and wendysue...glad that you can relate. And I do take comfort that this too shall pass as he grows older. Yes, the doctor referred to "nursemaids elbow". But nevertheless, she refused to acknowledge the fact that it was his wrist and not his elbow that was out of place. She even talked baout how she has seen shoulders pop out of place...Bottom line is she placed parental knowledge of their child behind her PhD.

~j. said...

lyle - yup. It's so frustrating that such an EXTRA effort has to be made to be heard.

Geo said...

I'm glad you are already so much better. Sometimes it's worth it to get parts yanked. You've got my prayers for more good outcomes.

Anonymous said...

I am SO GLAD Beans was able to go help you !! I didn't know what to do--Uncle Jim & Bonita needed me (I think) You should just tell people that you had a laparascopic cholecystectomy. And the rooms are cold to keep the surgical staff from overheating in the not so very skimpy scrubs they wear. But you can always have warm blankets. I felt bad about needing to depend on Beans, but she is such a good one, she didn't even hesitate to help you Love you all, MOM

pflower10 said...

So when people says things like "I can't believe she had the gall to say that " will you be included in that kind of a group??? Just wondering

LuckyRedHen said...

Good thing you don't need dinner on a Harley because my back's out and I think I need a new battery :o) Glad to know you're better. Hope Beans likes the pictures of her on my blog.

Bek said...


My computer has been down so this morning I was going to catch up on things and POOF--you had surgery. I am sorry for the hassle, but so gald that you are ok. I am also so glad that you had your sister to help out. It is impossible for a mamma to NOT walk/run/lift if she is by herself. Go Beans...

Wish I was there to bring you a dinner or something....

Lisa said...

I'm so glad you had someone to take care of you and the little ones so you could recover! That's the way it should be! So . . . pizza for lunch yet?

Sister Pottymouth said...

I'm so glad everything went well. It was great to see you on Saturday! I'm looking forward to you being able to come to GNO again. Any chance of Beans moving to Utah? I wish I could have listened to more of her stories on Saturday.

dalene said...

I missed stories too? It was bad enough missing the company, the gifts galore and the good food. But stories!

So now I am back I have two questions. Are you back to a regular diet now and when can I bring you more chicken pot pie?

Elizabeth-W said...

Glad you're on the mend. Just knowing you'll never have another of those attacks is supremely comforting!! Sorry to be gross, but have you had any, uh, negative bowel side effects yet? ;)

Emmie said...

Sometimes doctors make me super duper mad.

I'm so glad they (finally) found what ails you, and I hope you'll soon be having a pizza party to celebrate!

Stephanie Aurora Clark Nielson said...


Christi said... Hey... I just thought I'd let you know that I shared your saga with two of my friends who have recently experienced what you did in some small degree. I don't know why docs don't believe the patients. Ugh. If you see this today, it's yesterday's post.