The Gall!

(This was written a month ago, but as you can imagine once you read this, things got a little hectic, AND I was very medicated!)


In case anyone was wondering, here is a list of things that have happened in my life that have caused LESS pain than the gall stones I was dealing with:

  • Getting hit by a school bus at 13 years old
  • Having both big toenails removed practically at the same time
  • Getting kicked square in the face, full force at a karate tournament
  • Jumping off a swing but getting my shirt caught and falling on my face busting my lip open
  • Slamming my finger in a car door at 7
  • Finishing a soccer game with an ankle sprain so bad my doctor didn’t understand how it wasn’t broken
  • Giving unmedicated, vaginal childbirth

And I’d do it 100 x’s over before I feel gall bladder pain again! And good thing is, I won’t have to because they took it out and GOOD RIDDANCE! The pain of these gallstones was unlike anything I have ever felt before.

So this is sorta how it went down. Last Saturday I went in to the ER at 4am (so really Sunday early morning) in excruciating pain.  I’ve never had heartburn before (I KNOW!) and when I told Callie what my symptoms were, she said it might be that and to take some tums. About 3 hours later (and half a bottle of Tums -is that even safe?!?!) I was keeled over the arm of the couch, DEMANDING that whatever the hell had crawled ALL UP INSIDE of me to get the hell out while simultaneously thrusting my abdomen into the same armrest doing a quasi Heimlich/dry jump maneuver.  Super sexy, y’all!  All of this while I cried and vomited profusely.  When I literally couldn’t stand anymore, I woke Callie up and told her that I would be taking a cab to the hospital and that I would give her a call and let her know what was going on.

Arrived to hospital at 4am, was seen by  a few nurses to take vitals and take care of pain management stuff, waited until about 8:00am for the ultrasound tech to tell me that what the doctors suspected was correct and that I had a pretty crappy case of gallstone.  Luckily, from what the ultrasound showed, my bile duct look good, there was no inflammation to the gallbladder, and my liver looked good.  So, they gave me some pain meds (IBUPROFEN!), and Zofran for the pretty intense nausea and sent me to a follow up with my PCP the next day.

That whole following week (4/4-4/8) I had a constant dull ache right underneath my right breast.  I would classify it as a 7 on the pain scale.  Painful enough that it was noticeable and definitely uncomfortable, but not enough to keep me from working.  So I carried on as usual, although something didn’t feel right.  Because I was petrified to feel that same pain, like, EVER again, I basically refused to eat anything besides bread and water all week, so on Saturday (4/8/17), when I started to feel the pain creeping up again around 3pm, I knew it wouldn’t be good.  We were visiting Callie’s grandmother about an hour upstate, and as we were driving back close to 7pm, the pain became intolerable and I had to pull over on the highway to switch and let Callie drive so that I could lie down and just breathe through the pain.  By 9pm I had taken three 800mg ibuprofen, a Zofran (the nausea ramped up big time!), and two scalding hot bathes that seemed to be the only things that would satiate the pain.   At 4am, I was back in a cab to the hospital.

It seemed like maybe they didn’t believe that I was in as much pain as I claimed to be in, but honestly, with the Opiod epidemic in our country currently, I get it!  Same lady, two Saturday nights in a row, on the floor, literally screaming, “GIVE ME DRUGSSSSSS!!!!!!!”  My blood pressure should have been enough to show them the pain I was feeling (177/117, yeah, I KNOW!) , but nope!  I had go all out!


Phone ringing….

Mom: “HELLO?!?!  Todo esta bien?!? (Is everything ok?!?!)

Me – “MOM!!! I’m in a lot of pain, and they wont give me drugs, and you need to come here, because I’m gonna punch someone in the face, and they don’t believe me that I’m hurting, mom , and this is some ole bullshit with these damn nurses that don…..” (all in one breathe)

Mom – “SAMMIE!!!  Jew nee to calming down becoz, de lady, chee not gonna give you nossin! NOSSIN if jew gonna be a meanie to dem.  So, jew know, taken it easy!

Me: “MOMMY!  You need to just come!”

Mom: “Ay Dios Mio!  Ok, Mami is coming…”


Mami got to the hospital in about 20 minutes, came in to check on me.  They had given me 4ml of morphine at this point, and NOTHING.  When my mom walked in, I was standing in front of the bed, rocking back and forth as if in labor pain.  I was crying, and in lots of pain.  My mom stepped out into the hallway, yelled at a handful of nurses, “My dotah es in a lotta pain!  Please!  Jew don hearing her!?  Chee’s berry estrong, and if chee is crying, jew job es to heling her!  GO HELPING HER!!!!”

So, thanks mom, because that Dilotin was EVERYTHING!  Same gig as the week before.  Waiting till after 8 for the ultrasound tech who basically said the same thing as the last week.  This time though, she thought it would be best to speak to the surgeon since I was clearly in a lot of pain, and it wasn’t going away even with pain medication.  So around 10am, the surgical team came in, told me they would admit me and monitor me, pump me up with antibiotics (since my white blood cell count came back pretty elevated) and re-hydrate me.   So I was admitted, sent up to a private room, and loaded up with meds, both painkillers, antibiotics, and fluids.  Next morning, head surgeon came in and basically said, “Ultrasound doesn’t look terrible, but you’re clearly in a lot of pain.  White blood cell count hasn’t changed much so you’re clearly fighting something, so we’re gonna go in this afternoon and see what’s going on.”

I was taken back to surgery at 3:30pm, and I’ll be honest, don’t remember much for the rest of that day.  On Tuesday morning after surgery, the surgeon came in and filled me in. Turns out my surgery took about an hour and 15 minutes longer than it should have because my gallbladder was so incredibly inflamed that it was starting fuse with my liver.  The way he described it was sort of like my gallbladder was chronically sick.  So, he’s glad they went in and took it out because he made it seem like that pain would be pretty consistent. And also, the 7 he said I felt all week was likely a 10 for a normal person and that he has no idea how I was able to work like that all week, and that when I was saying that my pain was at a 13, he knows it was well off the chart!surgery

Sooooo, all of that to say, my gallbladder is out, thank the sweet LAWD! It was quite the experience, and lest we forget the “no lifting for 6 weeks” rule, so you know it’s been pretty interesting and also innovative ( and sometimes ingenious!) trying to figure out how to move around 3 babies without lifting.  CALVES BE ON POINT, YO!!!

About a month later, I’m feeling pretty good, down 58lbs in 6 months (thanks to the additional 8.5lbs I lost in the one week from barely eating), getting ready for surgery again at the end of July (that one was planned and it’s for another post), spending more time outside with my family (the new flexibility with my schedule is INCREDIBLE), volunteering at my church more (finding God has been another adventure that I wasn’t expecting and has been BEAUTIFUL but more on that in another post as well) and really, just being the best mom, wife, and worker (in that order!) that I can be. All is well on this end, friends.  All is well….for the most part…

~S

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13 thoughts on “The Gall!

  1. I have so been thinking about you and your family lately. I figured you were busy because you know…4 kids…I get it! I am anxious to hear some of these updates you mention that will be coming. You are one tough momma! Hugs to you all.

  2. Getting my gall bladder out changed my life! I was in pain for over a year before mine got so bad it effected my liver, then they needed to remove it. I’m glad you got yours out before things got worse. You go strong woman and kudos to your mom!

  3. YIKES! I’m glad they finally took you seriously, and that they got it out. I’ve been reading up on how the medical establishment tends not to believe women about how bad their pain is when ill. Regardless of how we present, when we’re seen as women, doctors just don’t take us as seriously. It infuriates me. (I experienced this in high school when I was diagnosed with the amorphous “chronic fatigue” that turned out to be a gut flora issue).

    May your next month be calmer and more pleasant than your last. I look forward to hearing more about your latest big adventures ❤ ❤ ❤

  4. So TWIN, I had this done a few years ago. I lost SO MUCH WEIGHT while they took SIX MONTHS to find out what was wrong with me. It was the worst pain I’d ever been in up to that point. You’ll feel so much better now that it’s gone. I have the same three scars. My doc almost had to cut me wide open to get mine out, but thankfully managed not to.

    My diet had to change drastically afterwards because I stopped processing fats the way I use to… so keep that in mind. But so glad you’re doing better!

  5. Hey girl, I had my gall bladder out about 5 years ago. The pain of the attack….ugh! Glad you are better now!
    To echo what K.M.H. said, I was super sick for a long time afterwards due to my body not handling foods the way it previously did. I now have to take one dose of medicine a day and am doing fine.
    Hope everything heals up nicely for you!

  6. Yikes! Glad the offending organ is out of there.

    Have you read any of the studies about race, ethnicity, and pain management? There is a growing body of research that says medical providers are less likely to believe ratings or accounts of pain from POCs, particularly Black and Latinx, and are therefore less likely to provide them with appropriate dosages of pain relief.

    Good luck with the rest of your recovery. I hope you can start to focus on more pleasant things soon. Sounds like there are some good ones out there!

  7. Holy sh*t, girl! You’re tough! L got her gallbladder out and she told me it was awful! I hope you’re healing up well, although I imagine a house as busy as yours doesn’t leave a lot of time for resting! Looking forward to to hearing more about your other adventures!

  8. Holy hell dude. Amy’s had similar issues but they didn’t deem it bad enough to take hers out – three ambulance rides over a week and three nights in hospital. Thankfully we figured out her triggers so she hasn’t had pain since, but we both live in fear of it showing up again!

    Hope you have a speedy recovery xx

  9. Dang!! I know that pain and I know what its like to be denied painkillers too, no bueno! Glad you are on the mend. Continue to watch your diet. Turns out I am a part of 1% who continue to make bile stones without the GB, they get suck in the pancreatic duct. Fun… not really. So glad you are OK!

  10. Sheesh! I’m so glad to hear that you’re doing better because, dang! That sounded like a horrible experience and yay for the weightloss! I must have missed the details leading up to your second surgery because I had no idea you were having that procedure but, you’re looking amazing and good for you. I’m pretty sure you’ve added many more years to your life spent with those precious babies. 🙂

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