Emergency, Emergency

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I've started and restarted this post for days now. Truthfully, I just don't know where to begin and I've wrestled with whether or not anyone would even want to know the cause of my silence. It's a long story, so if you are interested, be prepared to settle in a comfortable spot for awhile. It's also a moderately sad story so if you're an easy crier (like me) then grab some tissues too. Although, as I write this, I may be crying enough for the both us - so maybe nix the tissues.

The night of my last blog post, I sat down at the table and created a blogging schedule. I had my diy projects on a timeline and was about to start my next project. I began to feel a little tired and decided that maybe a nap would be a good idea since I knew that Hugo was going to want his 11 pm - midnight bottle soon. Hugo woke up at midnight, like I anticipated and got up to feed him. Nothing seemed or felt out of the ordinary. As I was feeding him in the nursery, I felt a sharp pain under my ribs, radiating throughout my back. I ignored it thinking I wore my Bellefit too long and perhaps that was causing the pain. After all, my pride insisted on purchasing the medium despite the recommended large and this pain under my ribs made itself present around the same time that I began squeezing myself (literally) into my Bellefit. I adjusted myself and tried to get comfortable but the pain continued, intensifying, until I could no longer hold Hugo. It was too painful. 

I woke up Scott and told him I was in so much pain that I could no longer hold Hugo. He got up and started feeding Hugo where I had left off. I paced, I cried. I wanted to scream from how much pain I was in. I experienced a similar pain a week earlier and it only lasted for a couple of hours so I counted the time, thinking it would end in a couple of hours. Two hours passed, and I was still in so much pain that I was physically getting sick. Nothing helped. 

Eventually, around 5 a.m., I thought that I should probably go see the doctor. Scott had to work in the morning so I bundled Hugo up, put him in the car, and drove to my parent's house. 15 minutes into my drive, the pain started to subside. Once I got to my parent's house, I told my mom I was going to take a nap since I was sick all night and that I didn't want to go to the ER if I wasn't in the same level of pain anymore. After sleeping a couple of hours, I woke up with pain coursing through my ribs and back. My dad drove me to the hospital where we waited, and waited, and waited. 

A couple of hours later, I was finally seen and was asked a series of questions which led to an ultrasound of my gallbladder. It's in my family history to have the gallbladder removed after pregnancy and yet, it never occurred to me that it would, or could happen to me too. The ultrasound confirmed that my gallbladder was a mess and needed to be removed but lab work also revealed that my liver enzymes were high so I needed to be admitted to hospital for monitoring. They believed that a stone had made its way into my common duct so off to radiology I went to have a CT sccan. It turns out that they were on to something.

gallbladder removal
Waiting for the second ultrasound

After the CT Scan showed a stone stuck in my common duct, I was told that I was going to need a procedure called an ERCP to move the stone along its way. The plan was to have the ERCP right away, gallbladder surgery the next day, home Thanksgiving morning (at the latest). I could deal with that. I was told that the ERCP was very low risk and it was rare to experience any of the risks associated with the procedure. 

I wasn't scared, I wasn't nervous. Scott stayed with me until the very last second before having to go to the waiting room. I was excited when I learned that my doctor knew a little bit of Russian. The last thing I remember is the nurse asking the doctor what language I was speaking to him. "Is that something Slavic?" "Russian," he replied. Then I was out.

I remember dreaming that people were shouting at me to raise my arms. They kept yelling, "Raise your arms! Raise your arms!" And then, I "woke" up. Except, evidently a day and a half had passed. I was covered in wires, tubes, and receiving oxygen. Scott was sitting across from me. "What happened?" I suffered internal bleeding, my upper intestine was perforated, I had pancreatitis... and I still had my gallbladder. The procedure had gone horribly wrong and I needed to be re-stabilized.

After a couple of days, I was stable enough to be moved out of the ICU and into the normal side of the hospital. I was also able to talk more since the tube from my nose was removed. Hugo stayed with my parents in order to allow Scott to be at the hospital with me as much as he could. My parents texted pictures of Hugo and my heart hurt. He was already getting so big. I missed his first Thanksgiving. I called every morning at 8 a.m. for Hugo updates. I would cry when I would hear about a first that I missed, how he had a growth spurt and his pjs were too small, that he had a favorite toy. I worried that he would forget me while I was away. One morning, my mom asked which arm I used to rock him to bed with. I always use my left. She told me that Hugo wouldn't settle down last night and was really fussy until she switched him to the left arm, Then he fell asleep right away. "He misses you," she said. I cried, uncontrollably. 

I was in the hospital for seven days. I had my gallbladder removed on the last day and everything went smoothly. I was in a lot of pain, initially, but the excitement of going home seemed to blanket whatever pain I was in. I wasn't well enough to go home on my own and take care of Hugo without help. Scott needed to go back to work and I stayed with my parents for almost a week. During that time, I had another trip to the ER where I was diagnosed with pneumonia. I struggled with eating and sleeping. I tried to make sense of what I could remember. Every time I laid down, I would replay in my mind all of the things that happened. I felt as though I was living on borrowed time. 

In order to distract myself, I needed to get back to what used to be normal. No one was convinced that I was well enough to be on my own with Hugo but I promised that if it was too much that I would ask for help. Keeping up with Hugo, at first, was tough but each day I got a little better. It's been 3 weeks now since the ERCP and I have my good days and my bad days. I still have a lot of aches and pains. I've also seen a doctor 2-4 times a week since coming home due to other complications that keep popping up. It's strange to think that this is my life. Despite my bum gallbladder, I was a completely healthy individual and bouncing back from a tough delivery rather quickly. I still worry that this is my new normal, that I won't be able to do the things I want to do and still physically struggle with daily things. I still mourn all of the missed time with Hugo, the firsts that I will never get back, and the plans that never became a reality. I feel guilty for not being able to do the things that Hugo and I were able to do together before I got sick. It hurts that I haven't been able to do any of the things I planned in order to make Hugo's first Christmas special. 

I try to remind myself that this is all temporary. Hopefully I will have more good days than bad soon. I am also going to try and tackle a few of the diy projects I had in mind on the days that I am feeling well. My posts may be a little sporadic until I am feeling more like myself. 

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