The pain got real bad after midnight. At first I thought I could walk it off. So I walked/crawled around my home. By the time hubs got home from work around 2, it was still bad. He gave me a back massage but it didn't help. Then I started vomiting. I don't know why I had the good sense to keep count. I vomited 7 times at home. By the time I tried to take painkillers, I could hold nothing down. Once the vomiting started, I decided I should go to the hospital. The stupid thing was I had promised to wake my son for school and he had to go earlier than usual for an exam. So I hung on and I hung on. Finally at 6am, I dragged my son's ass out of bed and told him I was going to the hospital. I couldn't care anymore if he went back to sleep. The pain was killing me.
I woke hubs, called for a taxi and we left for the nearest hospital. Over there, I vomited 3 more times. We waited quite a while before a doctor saw me. I think it was around 2 hours. I lay down next to the window in the waiting area while hubs killed time on his phone. Once we saw the doctor, things started moving very quickly. I had my blood drawn and was given some medication, I think anti vomit kind plus drip through IV. Next I had an x-ray of my abdomen. I had a small cubicle where I had a bed to lie in. A radiologist came and did a scan of my abdomen. After the scan the first doctor I had seen said I should be admitted. Interestingly, I kinda resisted being admitted because I just wanted very strong painkillers and be on my way. Anyway, after some more conversation with hubs and the doctor I agreed to be admitted. Hubs took care of the details. Meanwhile, slightly delirious, I shouted out, "Get the cheapest ward." If I were in my right mind, I would have asked for the best ward.
Soon, a doctor (I think it's a resident based on my knowledge from Grey's Anatomy) came by and promised stronger painkiller because the first painkiller administered barely masked the pain. For some reason, the hospital required swabs of my nostrils, armpits and groins.
Later the resident doctor returned with a serious looking man whom he calls the registrar. The registrar did some exam and asked some questions. I asked for stronger painkiller because the pain was still bad. In return, the registrar asked for an ass swab. Gulp. It was not nice. The ass swab. The resident doctor really went in and dug around. No mercy. Meanwhile hubs was trying desperately to escape seeing his wife being ass swabbed by another man.
Finally a nurse delivered my one precious dose of tramadol. But I had to take it orally. So first I had to take some magnesium to make sure I don't throw up again. I've never loved magnesium so much before!
While waiting for 8am, I expected the tramadol to kick in. But honestly, the pain had reached a level where modern medication cannot access. An orderly wheeled me to the Radiology department to wait for my scan. An old guy was already in the waiting area and you know what he said to me?
"You look very healthy."
My immediate response was "f*ck you" but he's an old guy so I humoured him and said I was. He started telling me all his ailments from head to toe. I fell asleep. Fortunately I was rescued by my radiologist who was ready to scan me.
After the scan I went back to my bed. We had to wait for the surgeon doctor to come back to talk to us. Hubs was hungry and I asked him to get lunch. He left and returned without getting any food. The surgeon doctor still hadn't shown up. Hubs was getting itchy. He wanted to leave and not only that he wanted to go somewhere 45min away by train. I forgot why. I wanted him to stay and wait for the doctor but I was too tired and in pain to argue with him. Finally, he stood up with his backpack and announced firmly, "I'm leaving." At that magic moment, the Universe saved him. The doctors came back!
The diagnosis was confirmed. My gallbladder was shat. The medical term is acute cholecystitis. The surgeon doctor, let's call him Dr Seow gave 3 options. 1. Remove the gallbladder immediately. 2. Remove the gallbladder at an elected date. 3. Treat with antibiotics and deal with it again when the pain returns. (Hello, the pain hasn't left yet)
At first we were a bit shocked at the idea of removing the whole gallbladder. Hubs asked about removing the stones instead. Dr Seow said it was useless as the stones come back. After some talking and persuasion, we chose to remove the gallbladder. The doctor said it was the best option. The next question was to do it right away or wait. To do it right away was to use the emergency operation route. That means if another patient with life threatening conditions comes in before me needed the OR, I had to give way. I decided to take my chance.
The operation was likely to be in the evening around 5 plus. Meanwhile, I had to fast which was cool because I hadn't eaten anything at all since Wednesday night. I knew the operation was a-go-go when I got prepped for the OR.
At the OR, I was asked a bunch of questions by different people over and over and over again. The last thing I remembered was the anesthesia doctor asking me if I had any questions. I did. I said, "Why..." and suddenly I was asked to wake up and told everything went well.
I spent the rest of my stay at the hospital recuperating. I went in on Thursday and left on Monday. The rest of my stay - the biggest issue was the IV.
Sunday was more fruitful. Hubs brought iPad and facial peeling gel. Ugh! The fourth day I did not wash my face with facial soap. I was so close to walking to the nearest Guardian. On Sunday I realised that my taste had changed. Salty food tasted 100 X saltier. Some food tasted bitter. Hubs bought me some food I used to love and it was confirmed. My taste bud was weird. The only thing that tasted the same was apple juice.
To be honest, I was dying to go home on Sunday but I needed to take antibiotics via IV so I could only go home on Monday. I was getting sick of the ward. It was hard to sleep through. The nurses wake you up every few hours for bp/temp/pulse and changing of meds via IV. The mattress was horrific. I hurt all over. One of the patients was a real pain in the ass. During the night, she would shout out names she knew. Every five minutes, she also would call for the nurse to change her diaper. One night, I almost hobbled over to smother her with a pillow. Good thing I had the IV thingy to hold me back.
The visitors too were never ending. I thought there would be a limit to the number of visitors and everyone would respect visiting hours. Nope. The nurses were pretty relaxed about it and a whole kampong (village) of people kept coming and going. Some came early in the morning and stayed late at night. A few very insensitive ones kept walking around staring at the patients as if we're circus animals.
My abdomen became quite distended after the operation. Apparently, gas is pumped into your stomach for the op. I kept farting and farting. Later I had diarrhea and farting became something fearful. The doctor said the diarrhea would stop once I stopped the antibiotics and the bloating would eventually go away.
You know, when I was at the hospital, I did wonder how my family coped without me, especially my kids. My kids had huge trouble waking up. That much I knew. The house was exactly how I left it. A complete mess. Dirty dishes still in the sink. From last Wednesday??? My blanket had dried vomit! Somehow, magically, I expected my home to be transformed into a clean home while I was gone. I heard that my girl did a round of laundry. She had no choice because she needed her uniform. But she had NO IDEA she needed to put laundry detergent in the machine. The dry laundry left on the sofa almost reached the ceiling. I felt quite sad to come home to this scenario. After taking a very, very long nap, I organized the kids to do a few chores. The "upside" to my hospitalization is my kids are now less resistant to doing chores.
I'm now able to walk on my own to the supermarket and food court. I've managed to do some simple cooking. I can eat a bowl of noodles without feeling too full. However, most food still suck. My normal taste has not come back. Sleeping is still hard. I usually sleep on my side and I can feel my insides jostling around. It's like my organs are still working things out.
We haven't received the final bill yet but I think our out-of-pocket cash might be under 2k.
Money aside, more importantly, will my digestive health be better without a gallbladder? That's still up in the air.
p.s. I've decided not to post a photo of my gallbladder because personally, I can't quite stomach looking at it. Yes, you get to bring it home. It's in my fridge. However, if you really, really want to have a look, send me an email and I'll have hubs take a photo and send it to you.