Tuesday, November 9, 2010

5 Things You Need To Know About Having Your Gallbladder Removed

"Well, young lady," the doctor said, giving his head a slight shake (the better to send his luxurious hair cascading over his left temple) "You’re in fine physical health, you're absolutely gorgeous, and I think you and I would make beautiful children together. Let's get married."


What he really said was "You need to have your gallbladder out." (And he didn't quite look as good as Dr. McDreamy)

Woo. Hoo.

By the way, the next time you catch yourself thinking "Man, I would give anything to get a full week off of work this year," be careful that God doesn't hear you or he might just say "Ok, how about an internal organ?"

Really honestly, however, I think this is the best thing that could have happened to me. I needed to have the gallbladder out, and I really really really needed some time to rest and recharge.

Something I realized as I went through the process (and I'm fine now, thanks for asking!) is that there are things that you might not know will happen when you go to get your gallbladder removed. Or for most any surgery, in fact. So I thought I would share these things, in case it helps you:

1. Don't pee before you get there. 
I repeat. Do. Not. Pee. They will ask you to pee in a cup so they can check something. Maybe it's a quick pregnancy test, I don't know. All I know is I signed in, used the bathroom, got called right away to go to a room to get prepped, and was given a cup. And what kills me is the woman who signed me in told me where the bathroom was when I asked. She could've said "you know, you're gonna have to pee in a cup in like 10 minutes." Oh, and don't forget no food or water after midnight, so squeezing out a few more drops (and getting them into the cup) when you've pretty well peed out your last bit of liquid is not that easy!

2. Shave your legs. 
Unless you don't care if people see/touch your legs when they're all stubbly. Because they will put these amazing wonderful plug-in wraps on your legs that will keep your blood flowing and feels like a wonderful little massage every few minutes. Which, of course, means that they will be touching your legs! So be forewarned. (Besides, you soooo won't want to take a shower or shave for a few days after the surgery anyway, so you may as well start fresh.)

3. Have your driver on call all day. 
I was told that I would be out of there by 3pm at the latest after my 9:45am surgery. Right. First off, they didn't even start the surgery until 11am (which is crazy, since I was only the 2nd surgery of the day) Then, if you have any sort of nausea afterwards, they will give you medication that will knock you out again. I didn't leave until 6:30pm! Thank goodness my mom, who was coming from 45 minutes away, stayed at home until about 5:30 and then just took it upon herself to start driving in, so she actually got there right as I was getting dressed to leave. But seriously, if she'd come in at 3pm like I'd been told, she'd have been b.o.r.e.d.

4. Find a doctor who has more fun in the surgery than the office. 
Ok that may sound weird, but my doctor seemed a bit abrupt and not in the best of moods when I first met him in the office. But when he walked in before the surgery, he was like a whole new person. He practically bounced in, gave me a big smile, stretched his arms and cracked his knuckles and said "Ok, we've warmed up on one, now we're ready for you. let's do this!" and I suddenly realized here is a surgeon who really enjoys his job. I like the idea of a doctor who is excited about doing a good surgery cutting me open, not just some guy who can be personable in the office but may or may not get jazzed up about removing organs. As long as you know he's professional, take the first guy!

5. Do NOT make a post-surgery to-do list. 
I don't care what you think you're going to be able to do. You most likely will not be able to or interested in doing it. Now I know there are some people who are more stubborn than me, or who may feel the pressure to be constantly "productive" out there, so if you manage to sort your entire photo collection 2 days after a surgery, well then good for you. But as for me, all I know is that in 12 days I didn't do a single thing besides re-read the Harry Potter collection. Now, that's no small shakes given that all 7 books must be at least 3,000 pages. But seriously, I did nothing else. I slept, I watched some TV, I slept some more, and I read. That's it. And you know what? I'm glad. Because by the end of my time off, I was rested, relaxed, and rejuvenated. I'm not quite yet back up to 100%, but I think having the time off (and the gallbladder removed) was exactly what I needed to take a big step towards a more healthy lifestyle. Booyah.


  1. #6 Don't eat greasy foods or tons of dairy products.. a little tidbit they don't warn you about as a rule. The Gall Bladder is responsible for fat digestion such as dairy and grease with it gone the body has to readjust how to process those. So eating to omany of them can make you sick as you were with the gall bladder in.

  2. Glad you're ok!!! I remember my mom having her gall bladder out when I was a kid, but she was in the hospital for a long time. Times were different then.

    One of my main goals in life is to keep all my parts, but it sounds like you've got good advice in case I ever need to lose a part or two. ;-)

    Be well!

  3. Cracked up about the pee - isn't it dumb that they can't coordinate those instructions with the check-in people?! Glad you are doing better!!

  4. I hope you're up to speed now!


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