Now that it's over and I'm healing nicely, I've got a list of the fascinating-to-me aspects of my recent gallbladder surgery.
  1. Thrombo Embolus Deterrent (T.E.D.) stockings are anti-embolism compression stockings that go up to mid-thigh, and are worn to keep circulation going in the legs during surgery. Basically, they're designed to prevent blood clots in the legs. They are quite comfortable, actually, and I would suggest to the tummy tucker industry that they use the same material. I was commenting on how comfortable they are to the nurse who brought me out of the hospital, and she said I could keep them. I declined. But they are available at Walgreens.

  2. I was given some kind of sedation medicine for the ride down to the OR that made everything very fuzzy. The nurse anesthetist commented on how relaxed I was to begin with, but said that they administer it to reduce anxiety and that it has an amnesia effect. I was secretly excited to see the inside of the operating room to compare it to ORs on television, so I made a deliberate effort to stay awake until I got to the operating room. I remember going through the doors, and then looking up to see the huge lights above the operating table.

    My girl Amanda pointed out that it was quite wise of the hospital to make sure that the lights were off! Otherwise my last image would have been the proverbial light.

  3. In laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, the abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide. It goes in through an incision in the belly button, and gives the surgeon room to move around in there, and also keeps things dry.

    Now, gas rises. The carbon dioxide escapes through the shoulders.

    When I woke up in the recovery ward, my shoulders ached like they hadn't ached before. The feeling resembled muscle tension, but it wasn't the same. I was nicely medicated, so the sensation was never more than an ache, but it was about 18 hours before I noticed the shoulders feeling better.

    The helium balloon effect also took hold. My voice was quite raspy for a day!

  4. Thankfully, I'm healing well. And I'm thankful that my body has good communication skills. Before the surgery I wondered when I will be able to walk any distances, when I will be able to work out again, when I will be able to [fill in the blank]. And each day my body tells me when I'm ready to do something again, and when an activity is too much. The four incisions are small, but I still have to let the abdominal muscles recover.

  5. I was canker sores galore for about five days after the surgery. I had between 6-7 mouth sores on my soft palate and uvula. The nurses said that it was not a common reaction to being intubated, and weren't sure they were directly related to the surgery. It's hard to know if it was a coincidence, but I'm certain there was a connection. It's also hard to know what caused them (was it bacteria from my front tooth? was it stress? was it an allergic reaction to something? was it irritation from the intubation? a combination of the above?) but what finally worked for me (after trying Cloraseptic, salt water, etc.,) was Benadryl tablets. Some other remedies include hydrogen peroxide and a mouth rinse of liquid Benadryl and Milk of Magnesia.


Amanda said...

Don't go towards the light! :)

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