The day is Wednesday October 3rd, 2012 its about 8:00pm. I have just finished a big ass salad that had three cheese ranch dressing and a sprinkle of Italian dressing. There were glorious Texas toast croutons and lots and lots of yummly veggies. I am now settling down to an evening whiskey. I don't do it often but occasionally I feel like some Tennessee honey on the rocks. That all too familiar pain begins to creep across the upper right of my back. It's insinuating itself around to my front. oooo I know what this means.
Immediately I am up and taking some Motrin. Out comes the heating pad. I call my BF to tell him that my gallbladder is beginning to act up again. He's very supportive and begins talking me through it. Eventually we both remember that we have a friend who recently went through GB problems. Maybe she has some tips to calming an angry Gallbladder.
I hang up with him and begin texting her. Her answer: "Have it taken out!!!" that is a direct quote.
We chat some more and come about 9:30 we say our good nights. The pain is seriously intensifying. its getting pretty bad. but so far nothing I can't handle with some lamaze breathing.
10:00: it was like a grandfather clock began chiming the hour... except instead of chimes it was vomit. My mom gets up at 10 every night to go to work. Just as she was coming out of her room I was pacing the hallway... but as soon as I said "good morning" I excused myself and began the hurried rush to the altar of barf.
By 11:00 I had called my boyfriend and begged him to come over and take care of me. If I was up barfing anymore I would need someone to drive my son to school in the morning. And I needed him to call my co-workers and find someone to cover my shift on the sound board at work in the morning.
12:00am I have thrown up again and thrown in the towel. The pain is now worse than when I was in labor and I have a constant stream of tears running down my face. I made the decision to go to the ER. The Most Amazeballs Boyfriend in The World got my son up and dressed and helped me down the stairs and into the car, he drove me to the ER.
When we arrived they got me a wheel chair and wheeled me right in. Lucky for me there was not a big crowd... it was Wednesday after all. (or technically Thursday since it was after midnight). Immediately after I sign all the paperwork that says "sorry I'm poor and only work part time and don't have insurance but I absolutely promise to pay my bill" I ask for a barf bucket and begin throwing up again...
The trick to being seen immediately as a walk-in at the ER: begin throwing up in the middle of the waiting area.
They got me an anti-nausea pill. They offered a suppository if I thought the pill wouldn't stay down but I declined. It worked! I didn't throw up again until almost 5 am and that was because of my own stubbornness.
Most of the rest of the evening passed in flashes of bright pain followed by brief snatches of complete detachment.
*I have spent the last twenty years of my life studiously avoiding narcotics and opiates because of a series of bad reactions as a teen. I haven't taken anything stronger than a Motrin800 in those years. Not even cough syrup with codeine!*
I was given a shot of morphine and that helped about as much as throwing a baby aspirin down the gullet of an elephant with a headache, that is to say not much at all. It was followed by a shot of dilaudid. This helped a bit more...
I was experiencing my pain in waves. Apparently this is common. Your gallbladder is trying to evacuate and is contracting. If your bile is exceptionally sludgy or the bile duct is being partially or fully blocked by a gall stone then you will experience waves of extremely intense pain followed by brief periods of lesser but still intense pain. From experience I can tell you that it is like going through labor except the pain meter has been dialed up to 11! The combination of Dilaudid and Morphine where helping during the "down-time" I was able to breathe through that pain, but during the contractions I was a thrashing foul mouthed pain filled puppet.
During all of this my seriously fantastic BF called my sister and had her come get my son from the ER waiting room. He figured that the boy was going to need to sleep at some point and there wasn't much point in sending him to school after only a few hours of sleep. BF kept my mom, my sister and my co-workers updated and once my son was off with my sister he was by my side the rest of the night.
At some point I had blood drawn and an ultrasound of my GB. A nurse came in and gave me another pain shot in my ass. That one was completely useless since it did nothing for the pain and as a matter of fact it caused way more pain in my left butt-cheek than any pain killer has a right to cause! I don't know what time it was. No clue.
My sense of time left somewhere after the morphine shot and did not return until my alarm went off at 5:30am (when I usually get up for work).
I do know that at some point a doctor came in and told me that I had gall-stones but they were not causing a complete blockage so emergency surgery was not needed. I was in a ton of pain still so he ordered up another shot of dilaudid. By that time I had not had anything to drink since my whiskey and I was thoroughly parched. I was begging for water. they told me that water would only make me vomit again.. I told them I didn't care. so they gave me ice chips... I was sucking on these when they came in with the next shot of dilaudid.
They put that needle into my IV (they gave me an IV but no fluids.. I'm still confused on that one) and pushed the plunger down. The now familiar cold burn of the drugs entering my bloodstream spread through my arm. In a matter of moments I was pain free for the first time since 8:00 the previous evening. It was sometime near 4:00am. 8 hours of pain. 8 hours of misery. 8 hours of knowing I was going to die. I sat up and cried.
BF said he could see the relief wash over my face.
I was finally released with a prescription for percocet and a referral to the surgery center to have my gallbladder removed. The drive home was harrowing but I made it all the way back to my front porch before I threw up again. This time it was the dilaudid and the ice chips. My boyfriend was amazed that I even had anything left in me. I was too frankly. I don't think I ever digested even a bit of that damn salad...