Posted on 2007-01-13 10:53:22, modified on 2007-01-13 11:42:13
Tags: My gall bladder
To understand the deeper impact of the following story, keep the following dates in mind:
31 December 2006 - New Years Eve 31 December 2006 - My 36th birthday 1 January 2007 - First day of the year (everybody drunk)
On 30 December we went to Star City in Darling Harbour, Sydney to celebrate the new year festivities for 2006/2007. That night, from 30 to 31 December, I woke up in the middle of the night (01:30) with this horrible gallbladder pain again. Not at home, that's the worst place you can come up with stuff like this: You lay with two others (that's my wife and baby son) in a horrible bed, the bathroom is stinky warm (if you've ever been in a hotel with a heated bathroom you will know the smell) and people sleeping in the other bedroom. So between 01:30 and 05:00 the standard half-hourly trip was: wake up from a half dozing sleep, walk to the toilet, throw up a mouth full of gall, lay on the floor for a minute to regain energy and then back to the bed, where you shake and shiver of the cold (pretty strange for a heated bathroom now that you mention it). Till 05:00 that is. Dirkie slept through all of this and Naomi supported me as good and bad as it went.
At that point in time she decided that I was an idiot and called the reception for an ambulance. Of course, this is not just a hotel, it's Star City and they have their own First Aid people, so they came up with a small contingent (one person) of security personnel. It must be a common thing for them: Below this hotel there are clubs and bars, and a big casino, so when the people who lost all their money because they were drunk take it out on their roommates, or when the people who won a minor fortune and flipped out because of the cocaine and take it out on their roommates, they get called. And that's why the security guy was there. But I was in no position to hurt anybody ("don't mind me, I'm laying here on the floor and am not moving unless somebody pulls me"), and a quick negotiation between Naomi and the hotel security / hotel manager and hotel first-aid person they called for an ambulance and at 06:30 I was in a hospital. The people in the next bedroom thought we had ordered breakfast-roomservice.
"A hospital" is the most accurate description I had for a long time. I had no idea where I was ("Sydney" was the best guess for me, not that I cared). The hospital was the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and is 125 years old. Nobody in the hospital knew who prince Alfred was (He's the second son of Queen Victoria I found on the Wikipedia), which kind of freaked me. And them when I asked about it.
At emergency they asked me the standard questions, and soon I was dozing off in a morphine induced sleep. Not that it helped much, because half an hour later I was throwing up again, but this time it was without that horrible stomach pain. Not that it was fun, but it was much less painful than during the night. Then, for the first time, people started to talk about admissions and operations. Because I was snoozing, Naomi took control and she would have even out-negotiated James Bond on it. The next thing I knew was that I was carried away to get an X-ray (it's very inconvenient that you don't take your previous ultrasound pictures with you when you go on a short holiday) and an ECG scan. More sleep, more throwing up and when I woke up at around 16:00 I was painfree again. Mostly. If they promise you to remove the thing which causes you so much issues, then you will find an excuse to stay.
The afternoon at New Years Eve is an interesting time in the emergency department. They want to get rid of as much as people as possible, because the next two days are going to be hell. First you have the new years eve, with lots of drunk people falling into the broken beer bottles, getting into fights etc. Then you have the New Years Day, when all medical centers are closed and everybody comes to the emergency departments, and it will be very busy.
So I was moved to a ward on the ninth floor, and would have a nice view of the city for the midnight event. But I slept from 31 December 2006 20:00 till 1 January 2007 07:00. I missed my birthday, I missed the turn of the year. Is this going to be bad luck for me?
Waking up at 06:00 on New Years Day always gives me a headache. Despite the amount of alcohol I haven't drunk, I had one: I hadn't eaten anything for about 36 hours and been on a drip since 24 hours. And being labeled as "nil by mouth", it means that I'm not getting any tablets until the doctor approves. Thirty minutes later, still no tablets, terrible headache and a bright idea: Morphine against the headache. Two minutes later, I was happily dozing of to La-La-land again. That headache didn't come back anymore.
The doctor did come back. He told me that there was a slim chance I would be able to be operated today, but since the chance was so small, he would prefer not to worry about it and to be scheduled for tomorrow, 2 January. It saved me a day of useless fasting, and I enjoyed the presence of Naomi and Dirk. At midnight I started fasting again.
In the morning of 2 January around 07:30, the doctor came and said "we're still trying to get you on the list" and left. Oh oh.. this doesn't sound good... But then, two minutes later he came back and said "You're the next on the list, prepare yourself!". Yaaaaay! Being next on the list is kind of a rush job: Quickly a last toilet visit, quickly a last call to Naomi and quickly signing some papers which state that the above procedures are the ones they need to perform on me. From that moment everything went smoothly: The orderly pushed me through the hospital towards the operating theatres, there I was asked again by the receptionist who I was and what was going to happen to me, pushed further towards the waiting room of the theatre where I was asked again who I was and what was going to happen to me. Despite the happy state I was in, I didn't want to take the risk of making a bad joke here, and I answered honestly. The anaesthetist told me what he was going to do to me (basically: put me to sleep and wake me up again) and I was moved in the place where my gall bladder and me, together from the moment we were born, were going to be seperated. And in the way it has behaved in the last month, not a moment too early!
The anaesthetist put some stuff in the arm, I felt my eyes closing (I thought from "this is how Dirkie must feel when he goes to sleep" and smiled. Well, I fell asleep so I didn't smile, but there must have been a twinkle in my eyes, which was also missed out on because my eyes were closed. So much for special things happening at the moment supreme!) and...
...I woke up again. I was *freeeeeeezing* (not too strange considering that I have been laying in a cold room for 50 minutes wearing close-to-nothing. The anaesthetist (I copy+paste the word because it's impossible to type it correctly ) asked me if I knew were I was (why is that guy talking in English to me, and why doesn't he accept the answer "in het ziekenhuis"?), if I felt sick (not really, just cooold), if I had pain (nothing except for some serious frostbite), and a minute later I was pushed back to the ward.
Naomi was there (yay!), and later on she said that I was acting very funny (like talking very fast), but that I didn't seem in pain, I was just buried under a huge pile of sheets. One hour later, lunch came and the nurses said I was allowed to eat if I felt up for it. Not a second too early! And after lunch a quick nap, and then I started to walk around again. Without too much pain, without too much dizziness, without too much worries.
The next day, the doctor came back and saw me bouncing around in the ward and I was quickly discharged from the hospital.
So at the end, one week later, the leftovers from my gall bladder are a lot of funny memories and four little scars on my chest. Unfortunately the gall bladder is not in a jar on my desk, but it's not bothering me anymore neither, so I think it's a good end for both of us. And to counter the bad luck of missing the New Years celebration, we are going to celebrate the Chinese New Year on 4 February.
Posted on 2006-12-15 13:27:39, modified on 2007-01-04 13:44:09
Tags: My gall bladder
I woke up this morning at 06:30 with a horrible pain again, and despite that I promised myself earlier this week to go to the hospital when it happened again, I didn't until 10:30. I'm not a woss, I'm just an idiot... Painkillers didn't work in the short time it had between swallowing them and spitting them out when my stomach cramped together again.
So with my ultrasounds under one arm and my pyjamas under the other arm, I crawled towards the Sutherland Hospital. Luckely they believed me this time when I said "it's gall bladder pain", and put me full of morphine. Well, one shot but it kind of saved my sanity for the day. Naomi said that after I got that shot I started a line and halfway fell asleep. Good stuff.
I got the normal blood and urine tests, but they didn't show up an infected gall bladder, so they didn't want to admit me and cut me open... At 15:30 I woke up again, and the pain was gone (stupid stone, get stuck in it next time!). At 16:00 I was able to walk again and left the hospital. But I will be back, because you can't trust these gall bladders and sooner or later it's going to explode!
Posted on 2006-12-11 13:46:11, modified on 2007-01-04 13:50:41
Tags: My gall bladder
Woke up at 11:30 again, and after half an hour of twisting and turning I moved Dirkie to my bed and spend the night in Dirkies bed: Much closer to the toilet, and much nobody has to worry about me getting up and back to bed the whole time. At 05:00 the pain finally dropped, and I had some sleep before the alarm clock went off (and got thrown through the window). Next time when this happens I go to the hospital and they can get rid of it...
Posted on 2006-09-15 14:41:19, modified on 2006-09-15 21:48:44
Tags: My gall bladder
Today I saw the specialist, Dr. A. Bean. He looked at the ultrasound photos and went "You see that white area? Normally that is black, but it's the stones you see.". While laying on the table, he poked here and there and it hurt a little bit here, but nowhere there. At least that's what I thought (more on this in the next next paragraph). He pointed out that my belly button had a little problem (but that is something he would fix while I was under the knife) and showed me where he was going to put holes in my chest (including the sizes: 9 mm, 10 mm and 12 mm).
The belly button is caused by the embryolical cords, the feeding tube you use in the nine months of your pre-life. Behind your bellybutton, all the way from the pubic bone and all the way up to your ribs, there is a tender, and the area behind your belly button is a little bit scarred because of the embryolical cord. That scarred tissue is the place where he is going to fix it. Somewhere. For AU$ 93.-. Bargain!
Anyway, while we were filling in forms I felt a little bit dizzy, and had the standard somebody-is-going-to-faint symptons: cold sweat, gray face, dizzy, stomach upset, troubles concentrating. Oh oh... Better concentrate of breathing (not that this helps, just before I faint I normally concentrate so hard on my breathing that the rest of my body doesn't get any attention anymore and shuts down. At least that's how it feels when I wake up again) and better lay down a little bit. On the bed? On the floor? Anywhere, it doesn't matter as long as I don't fall of it... Three minutes later everything was fine again and we could continue with the paperwork. Mental note: don't let people poke you too much in areas where it hurts.
So the next choice: which hospital? I can go to a private hospital or to a public hospital. I myself come from a country with only public hospitals and fully support them, so it will be the Sutherland Hospital. I wonder if little Dirk remembers the time he was born there.... Then, go in a private patient or as a public patient? A public patients' costs is paid by the government, a private one is paid by the health insurance (mostly, there is a gap). As a private patient the hospital gets more money from the insurance than it would have gotten from the government. And as a private patient, you get the surgeon of your choice to hold the knife during the operation, as a public patient you the surgeon is still there but only supervises the situation. So that's easy, go as a private patient so everybody gets better out of this.
Next step: when. As with all scheduled medical procedures, there is a waiting-list for it and it is about five months. This doesn't matter if you're a public or private patient. The only way to get in faster is to develop an accute situation in which they rush you in. Let's not do that :-)
So, what is going to happen... The short version is: I will get four small cuts in my chest and will end up without gall bladder, will have to stay in the hospital for a night and have to take rest for a week. The long version (in case the short version doesn't work) is that I will end up with four small cuts and a big cut over my chest, will end up without a gall bladder and have to stay in the hospital for a couple of days and have to take rest for longer than a week. I know which one I prefer.
So the next entry will hopefully be in about five months!
ps. I'm not allowed to take the stones home with me. So much for ebaying them!
Posted on 2006-09-11 11:12:24, modified on 2006-09-11 11:22:24
Tags: My gall bladder
According to the ultrasound specialist, I have a "gall bladder packed with calculi (=stones)", and "chronic cholecystis (=inflamation of the gall bladder)". For the rest the organs checked are fine!
Now I have an appointment to see a specialist at the end of this month, after which I have to go under the knife. Scary and interesting together!
Posted on 2006-09-03 10:41:53, modified on 2006-09-11 11:23:40
Tags: My gall bladder
Woke up in the middle of the night with a horrible pain in my chest which made me go "can't lay on my left side, right side, back or stomach", and realized that this could be bad. Bad is in not being able to "You rub it and it will get better.". Bad is in "Throwing up will only relieve pain for a couple of minutes, after which you feel like throwing up again.". Since it was past midnight, the only place to go to was the first aid section of the local hospital...
The local hospital is the only public hospital in southern Sydney and was build in 1958 with a lot of support of the local community. Little Dirk was born there :-)
So much for sight-seeing... The first aid, or emergency section, must be one of the most interesting places to spend the night: people are coming and going, with a huge variety of reasons. But when you're there because you're in pain and have visit the toilet every fifteen minutes to throw up it is not fun... (but hospitals aren't meant for fun things (except for given birth), so what do you expect :-)
After a short while I got called by a doctor which wanted to investigate my stomach area, and started to poke around on my chest. That was all fine until he found the area where the gal bladder was behind, and at that moment I nearly collapsed in pain (Good thing I was laying on the table :-). More poking to find the borders of the pain area, and they took some blood.
The blood samples showed I had increased white blood cell counts, which means that there is some infection somewhere. And the pain shows that there is a problem somewhere. Add one and one together and the rest of the story is known...
As the pain was reducing, and there was nothing they could do there for me, I was send home with the request to get ultrasounds made, and to see a specialist.