Since I was once again going back into surgery, I was not allowed to have anything by mouth after midnight. By this point, ice chips were my best friend. Treun kept up a steady stream of ice chips to my mouth when he was there during the days. He’d taken the entire week off for me, to be with me, to care for me. He was with me from around 8:00 am until 5ish, when he would leave to get my kids some dinner each evening. He was tireless in trying to ease my pain, comforting me, just talking to me. I don’t remember what we talked about as the pain was mostly the only thing that existed for me in those days, but he talked. His voice kept me in this world for the most part. Those ice chips were small, cold relief when they hit my tongue.
Tania was my nurse again. She was wonderful to keep that morphine coming. She woke me when she came in to give me my midnight dose. I asked her what time it was and it was five till. I asked her for a couple of ice chips since I could sneak in a few last ones right before midnight. She chuckled and fed me some before she dosed me with more pain killers. She was an angel to me. She was cheerful and empathetic. When you think of a nurse, she is what you would hope for.
She took my vitals one last time and told me she’d be back in two hours for more meds but she was going to try really hard not to wake me if I was sleeping. I woke up around 6:00 in pain. I hit the button and she walked in immediately. She told me that she was just on her way in when my room buzzed. The nurse at the desk didn’t even have time to respond because Tania was on top of it. She said she’d been in twice to give me my pain meds and I hadn’t moved during either of her visits. Thanks to her, I had about five solid hours of sleep (it took me a bit of time to fall asleep after she left at midnight).
The pain was once again intensifying. The morphine had been able to lessen it but never stop it completely. Now, the morphine wasn’t touching it nearly as much as it had been. Each hour was becoming harder and harder to get through and my procedure wasn’t scheduled until 11:30. I still had quite a few hours to get through.
Treun got there and we watched t.v. and talked. He told me of his plans for the next few days. His daughter was coming to town for her 18th birthday so he’d have to leave me to spend some time with her. Well, of course, he would! Even as I understood, my insides cried out for him to stay with me. Thankfully, by the time she got to town, I would be done with my procedure and hopefully feeling better. She was planning to head to the lake with her friends for two days, so he’d just have to leave long enough to get her settled into her cabin at the lake and he’d be back. Just a couple of hours. I could make it without him for that long.
It was finally time to take me for my procedure. They got me into a wheelchair and we went off. When we got to pre-op, they had me move into a bed. The pain went beyond anything I’d felt thus far. I thought that I was being pulled apart from the inside. The anesthesiologist came in to talk to me and I told him that the pain was worse than I’d felt before. I was moaning and crying. He administered morphine but it didn’t help. The world then did cease to exist for me. I became the pain. It took over completely.
Treun had told one of the nurses that he could tell how much pain I was in my the “moanometer.” I would start moaning when the pain would start and it would get more intense as the pain got more intense. I think at this point, I was just vocalizing constantly. I found out later that the anesthesiologist gave me two doses of morphine, a dose of verced, and a dose of daulidid before the pain was bearable again. I lost all track of time. I knew I was supposed to go in at 11:30 but it was noon and I still hadn’t gone anywhere. I would drift in and out of consciousness, looking at the clock every five minutes, convinced that eternities had passed each time. It was jarring to realize that a mere five minutes had passed.
Finally they wheeled me into the OR. I begged them not to make me get onto the table. I told them I couldn’t. I told them the pain was too bad. Tears were streaming down my temples. The nurse patted my arm and told me I didn’t have to do anything but breathe deeply as someone else put an oxygen mask over my mouth and nose. She told me that soon the pain would be gone and I’d be healing. She was so kind and I thanked her for her compassion.
The surgery was a success. After I got moved back to my room, my original surgeon came to talk to us. He walked in the room, looked at me, and said, “You really need to play the lottery.” Apparently, I’m one in a million that has an extra duct leading from their gallbladder to their liver. When he’d clamped and cut the main duct, he wasn’t looking to clamp and cut any other ducts because no other ducts are actually supposed to exist. Except in me. Ugh. My body has never followed the text books. Everything my body has always done has been outside the norm for the human body so I wasn’t actually surprised by this news.
He said the pain wouldn’t go away immediately because my body still had to reabsorb the bile that had leaked into my abdomen but that each day would get better and that I wouldn’t have that horrible pain again.
I was thankful that they fixed me. Let the healing begin.
At least that was what we thought.