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July 15, 2014

Let’s recap! I was finally discharged from hospital on Friday 16th May, following an ERCP procedure to remove some gall stones. Then I went back on Monday 19th for a blood test, to see if I was actually recovering. I was, so they decided to book me in to have my gall bladder removed. On Wednesday 28th; practically only a week away!

I had to go back into hospital on the 20th for a pre-surgery appraisal sort of thing. Blood tests and a questionnaire, basically. I was told not to eat anything after midnight on the day of the operation, as I was having a morning surgery.

I got there at something like 8:30am, and was shown to my bed and asked to change into a gown. I got visits from the surgeons and the anaesthetist, explaining what little there was to explain. I’ll be under general anaesthetic, they’ll try to take out my gall bladder using keyhole surgery, but might have to go to proper surgery if needed. It all seemed fair enough. Just get rid of the damned thing, thanks!

After a few hours, I was walked to the surgical prep area, and waited around on a different bed for a bit. Then I was wheeled into a different room to have the cannula put in and the anaesthetic injected. I have to say, the anaesthetist was NOT very good at putting cannulas in – it was the most painful attempt so far, and that includes the times when my veins had put up a good fight against the intruding needle! At least the others stopped hurting almost immediately, whereas this one just kept stinging. I was worried he hadn’t put it in properly, but I didn’t get to worry for long, as the anaesthetic kicked in..

..and I woke up in my previous hospital bed! That never ceases to weird me out.

Unfortunately for me, my gall bladder didn’t want to leave quietly, and the surgeons had had to abort the surgery without removing it. Various things had contributed to the failure, which I would list if I could remember them.. What I do remember is that the gall bladder was too close to the liver, and the portal hypertension (a side effect of liver disease that affects blood flow from the spleen) had resulted in my body creating new veins to try and bypass my blocked liver, called porto-systemic shunts (doing an interweb search pulls up lots of results about cats and dogs, oddly), which had blocked the approach and made the risk of bleeding too great.

So, the surgeons had opted to abort, and possibly get Leeds to do it instead, as they have better facilities for dealing with shunts (a procedure called TIPPS) and bleeds. I still had all the pains of surgery, though – I had 4 incisions; one large one just under the belly button, one about 15cm above it, and two small ones on my right-hand side. They’d been closed up using glue, which was.. different. I was expecting horrible stitches, but as horrible as they are, they’re only horrible because they do their job well. Glue, I’m not so sure of. It seems a bit wishy washy to me, but it worked, and the scars I’ve been left with are pretty small. I can still feel pain, though, even over a month later. It’s not bad pain, but it’s uncomfortable – I can’t lay on my left-hand side, or on my stomach, and it can get quite painful if I drive the car for a little while. It should go away eventually.

Only a week after my operation, I had to go to Leeds for a clinic appointment. Fortunately, I’d *just* about healed enough to be able to drive. Stepping Hill had helpfully given me copies of some of their notes, in case the info hadn’t gotten to Leeds, which I naturally forgot to bring with me. gah! I don’t think it would’ve mattered, however – Leeds wanted to know what my condition was like while I wasn’t ill.

That meant more tests!


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