Now that it's been a week since my surgery I can reflect back with more clarity. Because hydrocodone is pleasant when taken every four hours as prescribed.
When I first got home, I tried to lay down in my bed as I had planned, but quickly realized that wasn't going to work because I couldn't get up or down at all without jabbing abdominal pains. I felt like I had done a thousand sit-ups the day before. Laying down wasn't really an option so I took up camp on the couch instead.
Wednesday (Day 1) and Thursday (Day 2): I felt a bit better. I tried spacing out the pain meds further than every 4 hours. The throat dryness and pain was nearly as bad as the stomach pains. I still wasn't too interested in food though. I ate yogurt, grapes, oatmeal, potato soup. Drank lots of water and occasionally a ginger ale. I pretty much just slept all day.
Friday (Day 3): I decided to forego pain meds for the day. I kept reading how everyone had stopped taking them by day three because they can cause constipation. The thought of having to strain to push out even the tiniest of all turds terrified me. My throat wasn't hurting anymore so I drank juice, took stool softener, and ate some chicken. By the time everyone got home from school/work, I wasn't having a good day. I had become lightheaded and cranky. Finally, I broke down and took some pain meds around 9PM and suddenly all was right with the world. I slept all night.
Saturday (Day 4): I really did feel better. Still had some lightheadedness, which I am attributing to the fact that I hadn't eaten enough to keep a bird alive up to this point. My appetite actually returned. I ate some peanut butter crackers, grapes, Goldfish. I got up and moved around, even went outside for a bit. I had been getting up and down and using the bathroom on my own up to this point already, but by Saturday I didn't really have to have a pillow smooshed up on my belly. I moved myself to my bed from the couch. I even had a "proper" supper of baked fish with side veggies.
Sunday (Day 5): I pooped! Too much information? Probably, but after 4-ish days of pain meds, daily stool softeners, and fear of painful pushing, actually going #2 gave me a bit of relief. I felt like that was my last hurdle to cross. Getting up and down was so much easier and I even ventured outside for a while. Standing for too long is still a problem though. I ate two pieces of bacon with no adverse effects. Thank god. I love bacon. But to be honest, other than these "attacks" I'd had three times, I really had/have no other food related issues. Sure, eating a bowl of Ramen noodles always gives me the scooties, but who eats Ramen and DOESN'T have to go poo?! My new fear is that I will have issues eating certain foods that I did not have before my gall bladder was removed. Since Friday, I have only been taking pain meds at bedtime.
Monday (Day 6): I am feeling about 80% myself again. I slowly sipped on a cup of cappuccino this morning. Stomach seems to take it just fine. I can actually stand up straight now with minimal pain in my abdomen. I feel a little itchy. Kind of on the inside, kind of around the dressing. I want to take it off now, but the nurse made sure to tell me several times to leave it on for one week. Tonight was my son's first band banquet and I missed it. It made me sad. I probably could have gone, but I wasn't sure if I could sit in a hard chair for a few hours and still be comfortable so I skipped it.
Tuesday (Day 7): I gave in. Took the bandage off last night. I did wait until about 8pm to do it though. I just couldn't stand it anymore!! I feel 95% myself today. I double checked my discharge instructions and it said to make a follow-up appointment for a week. When I called she made my appointment for two weeks. Oops. I'm not having any adverse side effects so I think two weeks is ok. I realized yesterday that I've lost my flip flops. I wore them to the hospital on surgery day and I know that I didn't leave the hospital barefoot. So I lost them some where between surgery day and Thursday. Those days are a little lost to me so....
Conclusion: Surgery sucks. At 36, I'd never had any major surgery. It wasn't fun, but it wasn't as bad as I anticipated it to be. Basically it boils down to my abdomen feeling like I had done a million sit-ups for a week. I was lucky that the doctor was able to do a single site surgery and I have only one incision in my belly button. A quick search of the gallbladder surgery hashtag on Instagram reveals that 99% of the surgeries had multiple incisions. And that was the original plan according to the doctor. I didn't know until I woke up in recovery that there had only been one.
I am thankful and I am grateful to my family and friends who helped me out the last week. It would have been nearly impossible to get by without them.