Friday, July 24, 2015

Trust Your Gut - Or Gallbladder

I figured I should probably document the 6 emergency hospital stay that happened a few months ago. This story actually goes back an entire year.... So get ready for it.

Last July I was newly pregnant and new to Connecticut. One night Adam was working an overnight shift and I got the worst pain I have ever had in my life in my middle/upper back towards the right side. It was so bad. I was so scared there was something seriously wrong with me. I had called the only person I knew in Connecticut and was ready to drop Ali off with her to go to the emergency room it was so bad. My kind friend was ready for Ali and I decided I was going to take some tylenol and lay day for another hour and see what happened. I was thinking that it could be heartburn or something else weird that was pregnancy related. Laying down made it worse but it got a little better when I sat up. After about an hour the pain let up a little bit and I was able to fall asleep sitting up that night. When I woke up in the morning the pain was gone and I convinced myself I was just crazy.

A couple weeks later the pain came on again. It lasted about 6 hours and was extremely intense but I figured it would go away since it did the time before. I described the pain to Adam and he was baffled a.k.a he thought I was crazy. He kept telling me I was having muscle pain.

A couple more weeks passed and maybe one more episode of the horrific pain came on. At my next OB appointment I told the doctor what had been going on. She literally looked at me like I was crazy and said, "huh. I don't know." Okay thanks a lot. That was probably the worst possible thing she could have done because she made me feel like an idiot and not take my pain seriously.

Fast forward several months. I have a few more episodes of the pain probably 2-4 a month. Some episodes are extremely severe some are not that bad. In January I have Lena. I was convinced that the pain had something to do with pregnancy so I was thinking that I was going to be done experiencing it. Then about two months after I had Lena I had another episode of the pain. At this point I was thinking maybe it is still heartburn cause I am still fat from having Lena. Sometimes heartburn lingers for a little while. Adam is over here still telling me I have muscle pain a.k.a not taking me serious.

Over the next month mid-march to mid-april the pain episodes get more frequent and more intense. At this point Adam is telling me that I need to go to a primary care doctor and see if they can help me figure out what is wrong.

In the middle of April we went to DC for part of Adams vacation. Our first night on the road we went to Mcdonalds for dinner (I know, nasty) about 30 minutes after I ate I was in severe pain. The worst it had ever been. I could barely move and was just bawling. This pain lasted for 10 hours. The only thing that would help it at all was sitting in the shower with hot water pounding on my back. It was soooo horrible. I spent the entire night in our hotel in and out of the shower. I for sure would have gone to the ER this night if we were in town. It was this day that Adam started to realize that I was having gallstones. When the pain came on right after I ate something fatty he figured out what it was. The reason he was having such a hard time figuring it out was because for some reason my pain was presenting more in my back than in my stomach which is not very typical for gallstones.

The rest of our trip went okay. I didn't have any more pain episodes. However, the last day of our vacation my parents were in Nepal when the massive earthquake happened. That added a little stress to everything.

We got home from DC on a Saturday. That night we went to chick fil a for dinner on the way home. Once again, the pain started. Twelve hours later when 6 am rolled around and I was still in severe pain I asked Adam how I was going to get the quickest results and he told me to go to the ER. So, I drove myself to the ER.

As soon as I was checked in the triage nurse was like, "Have you ever had any problems with your gallbladder? you are a textbook case." They did an ultrasound and sure enough I had several gallstones. However, my labs were not showing that there was a stone caught in my bile duct so the surgery was not an emergency. They sent me home with some narcotic pain medication and a referral to see a GI surgeon. I called and made the appointment and the soonest they could see me was the following Saturday. So almost a week.

Monday and monday night went well. Tuesday morning my parents got into town! We spent the day having fun and that night we had Lena's baby blessing. Once again that night the pain started. I spent the night in and out of the shower trying to get some relief. It was gone again in the morning. We spent the next day with my parents and brothers family having fun. Wednesday night the pain came back. Once again it was so horrible. It was the worst it had ever been so I was just trying to do my best to make it to the appointment on Saturday. This time however, the pain never went away. I was in severe pain all the way to my appointment on Saturday. From wednesday until saturday. The narcotics were not offering any relief.

In the mean time Adam and I were trying to move into a new place. Adam did almost everything by himself. He is an all star. Saturday morning the guys in the ward were coming over to help us move the big stuff. I was lying on the ground of our old apartment sobbing the entire time. Ali kept coming up to me saying "Mommy ouchie. Mommy sad." I was being such a worthless wife and mom but I was in so much pain and had been for four days. Adam came back to pick me up and we went straight to my doctors appointment. I didn't even go inside our new place.

When we got to the doctor they asked me a few questions. I told them I had been in pain since wednesday and that it had never gone away. After answering the questions the surgeon looked at me and said "what are you doing this afternoon?" I responded "nothing". He said, "You're going to be spending some time with me in the OR. You need to go straight to the hospital." I had choliostatsis. This means that a gallstone was trapped in my bile duct not allowing my liver to function properly.

So Saturday afternoon the doctors took out my gallbladder. After the surgery the doctor came to talk to me and asked how long I had been having symptoms for. He told me that my gallbladder was extremely infected and full of infected fluid. He said the infection had started to spread to the muscles a little bit. He said my muscles was very red and pussy. He told me that this was something I should have taken care of a while ago. In some ways when he told me this I felt validated. I wasn't crazy and I really was in a lot of pain. 

Sunday a different set of doctors did the procedure to remove the stone from my bile duct. When they came in to talk about my liver numbers Adam felt really bad. He kept saying, "Katie you were really really sick. Why were you so stoic? I can't believe you didn't let me know how horrible you felt." I always feel like I over react about pain and so I try to under react and this time it got me into a little trouble. It made me a little proud to know Im not as big of a drama queen as some people think I am. :)

Monday my liver numbers were still horrible so they wouldn't let me go home. Tuesday I couldn't keep anything down so they wouldn't let me leave. Same story Wednesday. Finally, on Thursday I kept down 2 grapes and 10 cheerios! It was the best ever. I was soooooo happy to be going home to my babies and my husband. While in the hospital they had to give me a heprin shot every 6 hours for 6 days!! It was brutal. My arms looked like they had gone through war after my stay. The pics below are several days after getting discharged!

Recovery was hard but only took a few weeks. I couldn't really hold Lena for a few days after leaving the hospital and I couldn't hold Ali for a couple of weeks. My kids were such troopers and my family was so amazing to help. Adams sister dropped everything for a week and came to stay with us, then my mother in law, then my mom. We are so grateful for all of them! 

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