Monday, August 23, 2010

Doctors Are Overrated

I have to go to the doctor today for the 67th time this year, so I thought I'd tell ya'll about my experience with doctors this year.

Back in May, I started getting these severe pains in my stomach every time I ate and would then vomit.  It sucked. After about a week, I went to the doctor, they gave me some antibiotics and sent me on my merry little way. Two days later, I had another episode and decided I had better get a second opinion.

I went to another doctor who sent me through a series of test including one where they put radioactive dye in me and made me lay still under a camera for two hours. Needless to say, it sucked. But it was finally determined that I had gallbladder disease, so my doctor referred me to a surgeon.

Two days later, I was sitting in the surgeon's office telling the nurse what I was allergic to. The surgeon came in, pushed on my stomach a little and then told me that they were going to go ahead and schedule the surgery. Right then, I should have known. I should have seen the dollars signs in his eyes. But no, all I could think of was, "Yes, I get to take time off of work!"

Apparantely this is a pretty common procedure and like everyone I talked to afterwards has had or knows someone who has had their gallbladder removed . So everyone who may have to experience this ...get your sick butt off of the exam table and go get a second opinion. In fact, get a second opinion when the first doctor tells you that you have gallbladder disease.

The surgery itself wasn't that bad. I was in a lot of pain, but I expected that. And apparently after they drugged me up, I told the nurses that I had named my gallbladder Earl, so that I could sing, "Goodbye Earl" to it. I wonder if they let me?

They sent me home the same day to let my inexperienced boyfriend take care of me. I pretty much slept that whole first day and was on a lot of pain killers. It was all pretty much a blur. The second day, I had to take the bandages off of my four incisions. And I desperately needed a shower.

Boyfriend got me into the shower and I immediately got nauseous. I started swaying and closing my eyes so Boyfriend got into the shower with me to hold me up. (He got an award for his outstanding nursing, btw) Then he started peeling away the bandages over my stitches. I made the mistake of looking down at them. As soon as I did, I felt this heavy wave of nausea come over me. I threw back the shower curtain and, as quickly as I could manage, went to the toilet and started dry heaving. It seriously felt like all my stitches ripped out. Then I got even sicker because I thought about the ripped out stitches. So there I am, wet and naked, hugging the toilet for dear life. It wasn't pretty. I actually felt bad for Boyfriend who had to witness the whole thing.

I sat down on the bathroom floor and finally wrapped a towel around me. I was crying so hard that I couldn't see and yelling at Boyfriend to please call my damn doctor because I was dying. No body answered on the nurse's 24 hour help line. Figures. Boyfriend picked me up off the bathroom floor after much protesting on my part and put me back in bed. He gave me some pain killers and I didn't wake up until the next day. He told me that he checked my pulse like every half hour to make sure I hadn't croaked. Such a good boyfriend.

The healing process was slow. Like 6 weeks worth of slow. My digestive system was way out of whack and I couldn't eat hardly anything without getting sick to my stomach in one way or another. I was pretty much constantly running to the bathroom.

I couldn't leave the house. I learned that beer, coffee and BBQ sauce now hate me. And I have four ugly scars on my stomach. Tomorrow will be three months since my surgery and I am still not completely normal. No, I'm not in pain anymore, but I have to be extremely careful about what I eat and I absolutely cannot eat out at a restaurant. The food just has too much fat. I also have to plan to be near a bathroom for a least an hour after I eat.

I've called my doctor like a million times asking her why I still can't keep food in my stomach and she keeps giving me tips, but nothing works. She also told me that 60% of people who have had their gallbladders removed can suffer the side effects for life. LIFE!

Lots of doctor bills and appointments later, I am once again headed to the doctor to see if there is something else wrong that may or may not have had anything to do with my gallbladder. Lovely.

Have a nice day all and please, have a cup of coffee for me.

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