Gallbladder surgery, post op

**This is part 2 of the traitor gallbladder. You may read part one here.**

**This post includes some graphic post surgery pics.**

First thing Monday morning, April 18 I had surgery. We arrived at 7:30am for pre-op, they also attacked our bank account. You know, I almost like the IRS a little better than the surgery center. At least they don’t cut you open after they take your money. Not yet anyhow.

A very kind nurse got me ready & hooked up with an IV, then invited Mike in to hang before surgery until 9:30 when they wheeled me into Operating Room 1. I’ll never forget that near paralyzing anxiety seeing that sign and moving from my warm, (THEY GAVE ME A FORCED WARM AIR BLANKET!!) comfy bed to the operating table. You could hang meat in there, but everyone was so calm and nice. That helped a lot. But you know what else helped? Was when the anesthesiologist walked up behind me, put an anti nausea patch behind my ear (did I ever tell you I’m terrified/can’t stand/full on freak out about puking?) and said “okay I’m going to give you something to calm you down and help you sleep. That was all I remember until I was being rudely woken up in the recovery room by Mike & a nurse.

It’s like hey, I still have an appendix. I don’t need it, why don’t you go ahead and take that too.

Side note from Mike – While I was asked to proofread this post, I need to clarify exactly how we tried to wake her up. The nurse and I tried to talk to her and ask her simple questions and my beautiful and extremely stubborn wife kept telling us to leave her alone. She should have awoke from the anesthesia in about an hour but took her almost 3 hours! Just want that clarification. Now back to the ramblings of my bride.    

Surgery was expected to take an hour & a half, but mine only lasted about 45 minutes & was text book perfect.

Right before surgery I told the nurse & anesthesiologist that I did not want narcotics. They honored my request and gave me Tylenol. I felt some pain when I woke up, but it was a 5 or 6 on a scale from 1-10, which I’m totally fine with. I remember hearing the recovery nurse tell Mike she had the same surgery and she couldn’t believe they only gave me Tylenol. But really, it wasn’t bad at all. I was more annoyed at feeling dizzy/not with it.

It was 2:14 pm when I got in the car. Yes, I remember the exact time. Weirdo. Mike took it super easy on the drive and honestly I don’t remember how I got inside the house. I do remember taking off all my clothes, feeling really dizzy, putting on The Elf and getting into bed.

I slept most of the afternoon/evening then woke up in some pain so I took half an Oxy. My surgeon prescribed Norco, but I had the Oxy left over from hip surgery so rolled with a super low dose. The bottle said to take 1-2 every 4-6 hours. Turns out I was in a little more pain than I expected so I choked down some applesauce or strawberries with half a pill every 5ish hours.


Tuesday my sweet father in-law arrived to help for the week. I was in a bit of pain, so I continued with Oxy, but had zero appetite. Applesauce, fresh strawberries & ice water were all that sounded remotely appealing. I became a very slow walker, which is a personal travesty. I walked slow, painful, hunched back laps around the front yard to help increase circulation and help move along the CO2 gas they inflated my belly with for surgery. It really helped move along the gas between the intestines & abdominal wall. I could actually feel it in my shoulder & collar bone for a week post op.

Wednesday (also my birfday!) I woke up feeling just okay. I sipped ice water and walked slow laps around the front yard in my pj’s & messy bed head again. Bet my neighbors thought I was some homeless person roaming around. Then around mid morning started to feel awful. Nauseous, dehydrated, lethargic, just that general feeling of unwell. I was laying in bed when Mike came in. I told him I don’t know how I’m gonna make it through the day. He knew something was really off, so he called the surgical nurse. She said it might be dehydration and that we should head to the ER. After tons of tests & 1.5 bags of fluid they determined it was side effects & dehydration from Oxy. Doc said it would take 1-3 days to get out of my system, likely more because apparently having IBS tends to take longer. (Never again Oxy. You betrayed me once ya sucka.) He also recommended a laxative. My dear father in-law picked it up for me and when he handed it to me, I told him that was the crappiest gift ever! I literally can’t make this shit up! (Pun totally intended.)

Because of the IV fluid, I was feeling a lot better that evening. Whew.


Lunch made by my sweet father in-law. He is just the best ever!

Thursday-today (April 28): My appetite has returned with a vengeance. Like Templeton from Charlotte’s Web status. Sometimes I feel unwell, but every day gets better. My energy is nowhere near where it used to be. Typically if you can wear me out, it’s quite a feat. But Mike & I walked 2 miles this morning and I felt like I could have kept going. I ended up with walking over 4 miles all day according to my Garmin, and my body is protesting.


A few last things: It hurt to lift my arms up to wash/brush my hair for the first few days. I will forever love Mike a tiny bit more for brushing my hair. Also my friends, Natalia & Mary who also brushed it while visiting me. Never underestimate visiting someone who had surgery or is really sick. Their visits were so uplifting and very much appreciated. <3

Also if you go on the Kate Moss diet (aka not eating for 4 days) it will be so much fun making up for it.

I did not meet any of the “high risk” factors for gallbladder problems other than being female. I also didn’t have any stones, just thick sludge and chronic inflammation, which happens in about 10% of gallbladder issues. Lucky, I am not.

If you have an issue with your gallbladder or end up as one of the unfortunate ones, I say get that sonofabeach out and move on with your life. The first days post op might be tough, but I feel so, SO much better. I can’t believe how sick that gallbladder was making me all the time.

For shitz and gigs, here are some before & after pics.



This post was written for YOU! Hopefully it might help someone who is anxious about or debating surgery. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments. I’m always happy to help.


7 Comments on “Gallbladder surgery, post op

  1. After I had emergency ovarian cyst surgery…I was in crazy pain in my shoulders from them inflating my belly. No word of a lie, my mother in law told me to stick a straw up my butt to let out the pressure. I don’t make this stuff up! Thank gosh you are recovering…take it easy and let Mike spoil you just a little bit more…cause having someone else brush your hair is heaven!!!!

  2. I just love that Mike brushed your hair. He probably called you a TW while doing it, but still…so sweet… 😉 🙂 🙂

  3. Wow, J, this is crazy and I am so sorry you had to go through this but thank God you have an amazing support in Mike and you are a strong, strong lady. I had terrible gall bladder “attacks” when I was in HS. At that time, they wanted to delay surgery and helped me manage with dietary changes and stress reduction. I know I still have a “bum” gall bladder and pray it doesn’t act up again, but you have given me peace of mind that getting it out will be the right choice. Take care, stay strong!!

  4. I’m so sorry to hear about your jerk of a gallbladder. Glad you are finally doing better. I hope you continue to improve and your luck turns around.

  5. Questions:
    1. Are you experiencing any “bile reflux”? I have acid reflux and need to get my GB out. I’m very concerned about making it worse because of having the surgery.
    2. I cannot live without Mexican food. It would be life changing to know I could never eat a taco or chips and cheese dip again. How are you doing on fatty foods?
    3. I’ve heard you can’t eat certain foods at all. Is this true?

  6. I had my gb out in ’99 and I still have “gallbladder attacks”. The last few years the attacks have came less frequently, but that doesn’t make them any easier. I’ve had several ultrasounds b/c of the attacks and they have always came back clean.
    I believe it may be sphincter of oddi that is causing them – just wanted to make you aware in case you go through something similar.

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