Monday, November 14, 2005

Ouch. Just back from hospital after having my gall-bladder removed. I knew I had gall-stones from a couple of years ago. And all the Brazilian doctors told me I needed to have the bladder removed. The British doctor I saw told me it wasn't necessary if it wasn't hurting, so I left it.

Then last Wednesday, I thought I had a bout of food poisoning. A kind of burning pain from my stomach through my right side to the kidneys.

On Thursday, the pain was increasing, so that evening I went to the hospital and got some strong anti-inflamatory / painkilling tablets. There wasn't a specialist that night, so I took the tablet hoping it would die down. Thursday night the pain had subsided and I got some sleep. But by late morning Friday, the pain was back, all over my abdomen, and stronger than before. Wasn't sure if I could hold out until 10 pm, to take the next painkiller (one every 24 hours, max). In the event, I ate nothing and lasted until 6 pm before I took it. Had a couple of hours of reduced pain, but by 2 AM it was full-on again. Didn't sleep. My wife woke up and found me vomiting at 5:30, and took me back to the hospital at around 6.00 Saturday.

Fortunately the GP was willing to put me on a stronger drip feed of painkillers and the specialist was in by 7. He agreed to operate then, although I had to wait until 2 PM for 8 hours to pass since I last ate. (Stupidly I ate a cracker at around 5 to try to relieve the burning sensation in my stomach.)

The waiting was weird. The painkillers were reducing the qualia of pain, but not the sense of discomfort. Couldn't find a position to stay in for longer than a couple of minutes.

Fortunately they put me under by around 1:45. Surgery was finished by 4 and I was awake by 4:30 (seem to remember some delerious dreaming about wiki and weblogs just as I woke up)

The operation can be as short as 15 minutes, or as long as around 5 hours. Because my stones were so large, they had to cut a bigger hole, but it wasn't the worst the surgeon had seen.

Saturday night was fairly miserable. I was on a painkiller and anti-vomiting drip. But I thought I had to stay lying in bed, when I was desperate to pee. Bladder hurt abominably, but I did manage to sleep. Sunday, I was able to get up and pee (amazing relief) and shower and walk up and down the corridor attached to the drip.

By evening though I was pretty weak and the pain was getting stronger. I did eat a little during the day.

Sunday night I hardly slept at all, althought the pain had reduced. Partly this was because I'd slept a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon.

Today (Monday) the doctor told me I was still in pain because he'd reduced the strength of the painkiller. Nevertheless I was feeling a lot stronger, so was discharged home with a prescription for several types of pills. So far, some tolerable pain every now and then, and spasms if I cough, laugh or move suddenly. Still I feel I'm getting better.


John Powers said...

Get Well Soon Phil!

And be sure to milk the disability for all you can;)

Composing said...

Thanks John. And I'm well supplied with sympathy. Brazilians do illness much more sociably than the Brits do, so my wife stayed with me the whole time in hospital, and over the weekend I often had 3 or 4 other visitors packed into my bedroom.