It is now three days on from having my gallbladder removed and wanted to update you all on how it went and how I am feeling. If you are reading this and just about to go through the same thing I can give you some tips and advice about gallbladder removal recovery.
Please share with friends going through it. As I have now discovered it’s an incredibly common operation and unfortunately a result of our extravagant/over indulgent lifestyles. The common reason for gall stones and subsequent gall bladder removal are the 4 F’s, Female, Forty, Fertile and Fat. I have been over weight my entire life, I am 40 next year, and am definitely fertile and female.
I arrived at hospital at 7am Monday morning for the op. I was dropped off in the rain at the Lister hospital. The boys were not too happy at being woken up early to drop me off but they did at least give me a kiss and waved me off. I found the admissions ward, checked in and awaited my call through to the ward.
I was called through to a seated private area where I just had to sit and chill and wait. The nurse popped in to say hello and tell me what was happening. I was checked in, given my ID tags, had my observations taken. We checked out all my test results from the previous Friday and everything was good to go. My low platelets (I have a blood disorder called ITP) had risen slightly to 104, these should be 250 to 400, but they only really worry when they are less than 80.
The nurse confirmed that I was second on the list for Mr Gupta, my consultant, I was after a long 4-hour operation that had to go first.
I knew I was going to be there for a few hours. I did a little bit of work, watched some Netflix and listened to a podcast. Various people popped in whilst I waiting. I saw the anaesthetist, a student doctor, the registrar and Mr Gupta my consultant.
Everyone pretty much asked the same questions, my name, address, date of birth, any allergies, medical issues, metal in body, was I pregnant. I had a long chat to the student doctor about all things medical history/parents. That kept me amused for at least 20 minutes. And I made the anaesthetist promise to keep me alive.
At 11am I was rushed into the theatre waiting area, an hour early! I say rushed I had to wait a while once in there but I was now in my theatre robe and wearing my ultra-sexy anti blood-clot stockings. I was asked the same questions again 3 times And finally at 12 I was taken through the anaesthetic room. The anaesthetist and his nurse assistant were lovely, they put me at ease just chatting about normall life stuff. We spoke about Mrs Mummypenny and my boys. They got the cannula in with no pain and I went under for the general anaesthetic.
I woke up at 1:30pm in a complete state of confusion and feeling sick. I know I stayed in recovery for a while but can’t remember much of the following 3 hours. My face was so itchy and I kept needing to wee. A nurse was looking after me 1:1 for this whole 3 hours. She was lovely and turns out her son also plays for Cambridge academy like my eldest, such a small world.
Recovery in the aftercare ward
At 4:30 I was transferred to the main ward, again really private and I was put right next to nurse station as I think they were a bit worried about why my recovery had taken so long. I just rested, drank water, attempted a few visits to the toilet to wee and tried to stay on top of the pain.
I was taking morphine for the pain and was having to take it every 2 hours. And I tried so many times to wee but couldn’t. I wasn’t allowed to be discharged until I had no 1, weed and no 2, got the pain under control.
At 8pm, I was collected from hospital. Monday was the first day back at school and the boys had just been to football training, we had tried to keep the day as normal as possible for them. When they arrived I was allowed to go out into the waiting area with them which triggered me actually going for a wee. I felt better with the pain and they were very keen to discharge me (there were no beds available for the night anyways!) so I came home
I was bruised and sore but at home. With 4 big holes in my tummy. I say big they’re not big. I have one under my belly button, 1 top of tummy and then 2 to right of tummy. They are maybe 1/2cm each. I got home laid on the sofa and didn’t move except for a wee. I slept on the sofa with my legs propped up.
Tuesday was a challenging day. I realised in the morning that my pain killers were not enough. I left the hospital with paracetemol and ibuprofen. Really not enough and I was in a lot of pain as the day progressed. I managed to get to speak to doctor in the afternoon who prescribed codeine.
On Tuesday I faced the painful task of changing the dressing. I was scared to see what was underneath, but it was fine. All the wounds looked fine. I cried a bit as it did hurt at that point. But then fell asleep and slept well for hours.
Wednesday was a good day, regular taking of painkillers meant that I was comfortable all day and even had a couple of friends Cathy & Marianne bringing flowers, gifts, digestion friendly food, warming autumnal soup.
It’s now Thursday and I have had another good night sleep. I am in much less pain and am going to reduce the painkillers a bit today. The new problem today is that I am constipated. Codeine and Morphine are known to cause constipation. So far no amount of aloe vera, movicol or prune juice has been successful in getting things moving.
The Overall Picture – My Gallbladder Removal Recovery
Overall I am feeling okay. The first 2 days were tough but I have had a piece of my body removed! I’m looking forward to life without the gallbladder pain and not worrying about any new type of food I try through fear of what it may do to my stomach.
I am off to the UK personal finance bloggers SHOMO awards on Saturday. I’m on the shortlist for 3 awards so I am absolutely 100% attending. This was me, looking incredibly thin, but feeling great after the operation. Today I feel fine, life just gets back to normal. Next week will be okay to start walking around and I am to go see my GP. I want to check everything is okay before exercising again. I’ll start with light pilates.
I’ll report back again in a few weeks. I’ll let you know if there’s been any further pain. As well as sharing how I cope with food, what’s happening to things like my weight and when I can exercise again! If you’re about to go through the operation, I’d like to wish you all the best with your gallbladder removal recovery.
Update after the operation
Since the operation I have never experienced the pain again that I felt when I still had a gall bladder. There are certain foods that I cant eat without feeling cramped, anything very fatty is a definite no. But overall the operation was a success and life has gone back to normal without any trips to A&E in extreme pain. So far, I’m happy with how my gallbladder removal recovery is going. To find out more about how the process can work, check out the NHS’s handy guide.