Gallbladder Surgery...tell me what to expect
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 6/17/2013 by ~Laurie~ in NSBR Board
 

~Laurie~
aka momtoemily

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Posted: 6/17/2013 8:59:25 AM
I will be having my gallbladder removed on Thursday. Any tips for the first few days? DD has a softball game that night and dh is a coach so I am having my 15 month old dd stay overnight at my parents. I imagine I will sleep most of the evening.


Laurie


PierKiss
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Posted: 6/17/2013 9:10:53 AM
Recovery is easy and fairly fast. I was feeling pretty good by the end of the 1st week and completely back to normal by the end of the 2nd week. I think I took painkillers for the first 2 days, and then just used tylenol for any pain after that. You will feel so much better once that little sucker is gone! I am assuming you are having it laparoscopically. If you have to be completely opened up I would expect your recovery to be longer and more involved.

Good luck!

Edited to add: My doctor didn't put me on any dietary restrictions. However, eating fatty foods sent me RUNNING for the bathroom within 10 minutes after I would eat them at first. Your body will need to figure out how to process certain foods without a gallbladder, and it can take some time. There are still certain foods now (almost 2 years later) that send me running to the bathroom after I eat them (mostly dairy and REALLY greasy foods). So, just beware of that, and try not to put yourself in a situation where you do not have easy access to a restroom in the first few weeks.

scrapea girl
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Posted: 6/17/2013 9:19:46 AM
I had to stay the night in the hospital. Once home, I was very sleepy and had to support my belly when walking for a few days. A recliner to sleep in was a blessing. Took me a good week to be back to normal despite everything I read saying it would be 3 days. I had an incision through my belly button and down that made pants uncomfortable. Thank goodness I was a size 2 and low-rise jeans were in style! No baths and careful showers until the stitches were removed.

mama_chris76
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Posted: 6/17/2013 9:29:31 AM
My recovery was ridiculously easy. I had mine out on Friday and I was out doing normal household shopping with three kids on Monday. I never really had dietary issues. I took no painkillers and I didn't really need to rest much either beyond the first day for the surgery medications to wear off.

The only thing I did wrong was to go back to button up pants before I was ready (at least two weeks for me).

Good luck!


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meowgal
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Posted: 6/17/2013 9:33:28 AM
I felt so much better AFTER having it removed (and the gallstone that was the size of a hen's egg! Largest the hospital had ever removed!) that I was back at work two days later. I was only slightly sore and even though the doctor said to stay home for a week, I had the surgery on Tuesday and went back to work on Thursday! Yeah, I was a nutty lady, but I used to work on commission (advertising), so felt the PULL to get back to my clients!


Carolyn Peaing in VA

SweetieBugs
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Posted: 6/17/2013 9:48:13 AM
I had mine out a year ago June 13th and I am afraid my recovery has been very difficult. I was very nauseated from the anesthesia the first 24 hours or so and had a lot of pain in the abdomen area (mine was laparoscopic). I was unable to sleep at all for the first 2 days and then I got a prescription for Ambien that helped a little but not much. It wasn't the pain keeping me awake so much as my brain couldn't turn off.

I felt pretty terrible for at least 10 days and remember the first 5 being very rough. It was hard to get up and then sit down again. Using a pillow and hugging it to your stomach is vital. Afterwards, probably because of the pain meds, I had terrible constipation. I had to use stool softeners and really, really struggled. I felt very weak for at least 3 weeks. I had anticipated 1 1/2 weeks off work but needed another week more and still felt pretty bad at work for another week or so. My stomach was very tender for a few months and if I stretched up high it pulled something on the inside that really burned.

Now, one year later, I am afraid to tell you I still suffer from really bad insomnia and constipation. Something about that surgery just seemed to "reset" my body and brain and I can't get back to normal. My digestion is a little different but I can't ever really pinpoint what it will do next.

I hope you have a better experience than I did but I wanted you to know that it may not be all roses as many people have experienced. An experience like mine is somewhat isolating as other people just don't understand it.

joyce.k.b.
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Posted: 6/17/2013 10:35:13 AM
People's experiences vary greatly so I don't know if hearing about our surgeries will help you prepare or freak you out. For most people it is considered a relatively routine surgery. But it is still surgery and your body needs time to recover. Listen to your body, it will tell you what you need.

I spent four days post op in the hospital (this is more on the unusual side). My heart rate didn't want to come back up after surgery (probably due to the anesthesia?). Because of the heart rate issues, I wasn't able to take any pain killers right after surgery (that sucked!). Once home, it was just a process of healing. I was sore and wore yoga pants and slept with pillows pressed up against my belly. Took about two weeks to recover.



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archangel
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Posted: 6/17/2013 10:36:18 AM
Diarrhea...I had Big issues with it for years after gall bladder removal. At that time, I had no idea that it was a frequent problem after this surgery...no one told me. If you suffer those consequences, please find a gastro to help!

scrapmaven
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Posted: 6/17/2013 10:48:58 AM
It's really very routine and recovery isn't bad. At some point after surgery you might feel pain in your shoulder area, even the next day or two. That's from the air they use to inflate your abdomen. If you walk around your house the pain will go quickly. Just take a few laps up and down your hall and that should take care of it. That's your handy dandy tip for the day. Good luck. It's not fun, by any means, but it's not bad at all.


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Posted: 6/17/2013 11:10:02 AM
Just listen to your body. If you're in a lot of pain, post-op, be honest with your surgeon. Usually you stay at least one night at the hospital, and my roommate when I got my gallbladder out stayed for two days. If you get your pain under control before you leave the hospital, it will be a lot easier to keep it under control.

Taking the pain meds as written --every 4-6 hours or whatever the instructions are will help keep the pain from ramping back up. If you wait to take the medicine until you're in a lot of pain, it will take longer to heal. People are all different, so if you have more pain than other people you know who had this surgery, it's ok. It's not a competition to see who can use the least amount of medication. Studies have shown that the less pain you have during recovery, the faster you heal.

Get some Miralax and Colace ahead of time for constipation. The miralax mixes into drinks and is tasteless. Drink that every day to keep from getting constipated. If things get bad, the colace will help. I'd try one pill at first instead of the 3 because too much will give you the other issue.

Eat soft foods at first. Mashed potatoes, rice, pudding, toast... just having a laparoscopy slows down digestion so don't make the mistake of eating too much protein, like steak and chicken. Just slowly add more as you feel like it.

A pillow is a must! A standard size works great. You can put it over your abdomen for the ride home, sleep with it, curl up on the sofa with it, and use it as a barrier when you have to cough, sneeze or laugh. And don't make the mistake I did and watch a really funny movie. Oh, the pain.

I'm praying that you have a good surgery and easy recovery. Hang in there. Getting that gallbladder out will make you feel so much better. (((Laurie)))



petey
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Posted: 6/17/2013 12:17:50 PM
Mine wasnt bad at all. Surgery at 7am, and I was back home by 2:30 that afternoon. I was a little sore for a few days, but nothing horrible. The day after surgery, my mom brought me a runza and french fries for lunch. (A runza is a stuffed sandwich with hamburger, spices, cabbage and cheese in it) I had no problems eating it, and no side effects later. So, it really just depends on your body.


Teri


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Posted: 6/17/2013 1:18:15 PM
I started having attacks when I was pregnant and had my gb removed when DD was two months old and nursing. I was home by mid-afternoon and had a bowl of beef-vegetable soup for supper. I don't remember any pain but I do remember being tired for a couple of days...but then I was a new mom. I did have diarrhea issues for years after that, but that was minor compared to getting relief from the attacks. Just make sure you are near a bathroom after meals, you just have to plan for it.


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Posted: 6/17/2013 1:21:57 PM
As I type this, this is my first day of work since April 22, with gallbladder removal May 6. The days between the 22nd and the 6th were filled with tests, procedures, doctors visits and inpatient stays. My recovery has been long and crappy. At this point the docs believe there are some other GI issues at play, but they had nothing to do with the awful time I had post op for at least 3 weeks, and the time since hasn't been a lot better. I am told I am in the minority of cases, so I hope you have a much easier time.
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~Laurie~
aka momtoemily

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Posted: 6/17/2013 1:22:16 PM
Yes, the plan is to do it laparoscopically and if I come out of recovery okay I will go home that day.

Unfortunately I don't check in until 11:30 am. That is going to be a long time without eating or drinking anything.

I didn't think about bringing a pillow with me for the ride home. It is an hour drive so that is a good idea.


Laurie


moodyblue
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Posted: 6/17/2013 1:34:05 PM
Everybody is different, so there are no hard and fast expectations. I had mine out early in the morning. They thought I'd leave early in the afternoon, but I stayed until evening, mainly because the pain meds they gave me made me feel light-headed and what I called "wooshy" - I had no desire to do anything that afternoon, including sitting up. I was pretty content to just lie there! But I could walk fine when I forced myself to try.

I very quickly switched to just Tylenol so that helped me a lot. I went to a family gathering the next day, taking it easy, but having no problems sitting or standing or walking. I was off work for just over a week after the surgery.

sa27
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Posted: 6/17/2013 2:10:02 PM
Mine was super easy. I had mine out about 3 in the afternoon and went home the next morning. I pretty much laid around that day but i did walk to get the kids from school approximately 24 hours after surgery and then the next day I was feeling great. Went grocery shopping and to the movies with no problems.

I hope you have an easy recovery too


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PeaFixture

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Posted: 6/17/2013 2:43:41 PM
I cannot eat a McDonald's breakfast sandwich/burrito without running to the bathroom within a few minutes.

But that was the case before my surgery, too.

Super easy, fast recovery, and no side effects whatsoever.


bsn22
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Posted: 6/17/2013 2:51:12 PM
I had emergency gallbladder surgery last year so I stayed overnight. Just liquid for the first meal, soup for the second and bland food for the third before I left. The dr. didn't give me dietary restrictions, just said to be careful and see what you could handle. I remember the first two days I had a few Vicodin and slept. It was sore and slightly painful to get up and down from sitting to standing. After that it was pretty good! I did need help because I couldn't carry my 6 month-old due to dr.’s orders.
Now I know pizza is hard for me to digest but I can eat a steak fine.



MrsDepp
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Posted: 6/17/2013 9:30:12 PM
I have had 9 surgeries (that number is off the top of my head probably more than that)... The gall bladder surgery was the worse... I stayed over night in the hospital for antibiotic therapy... The main thing I can offer is sleep in a recliner like someone else mentioned and do your deep breathing exercises to prevent pneumonia....

It took me a total of one time lying flat in the bed at home to know not to do that again (boy was it a booger for me to get out) after that I spent the next 3 weeks in the recliner... I had to be put on antibiotics because of the not breathing deep thing... I also had more pain in my shoulder area than the actual incision right after surgery....I had severe nausea after surgery... I was off 3 weeks from work and was limited when I did go back .... I wasn't allowed to lift more than 10 pounds

As mentioned by a previous poster....even now there are foods I can't eat ... Due to the severe nausea/vomiting that Occurs....I still have to rotate the antinausea meds (zofran, phenergan, and compazine).... My surgery was over 8 years ago

I hope that you have an easy and speedy recovery

jen1021
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Posted: 6/17/2013 9:33:41 PM
To ~Laurie~:

ME TOO! I am going in on Thursday for surgery at 9:45. Thanks for asking because I am a little nervous too! Good luck to you!


Jen




scrapsuzy
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Posted: 6/17/2013 9:41:35 PM
They generally don't want you to be alone in the first 24 hours, so I would advise having someone come stay with you during the ballgame.

As others have said, recovery can vary, both short-term and long-term.

Short-term... I was in the hospital for 11 days with complications.

Long-term... I have not had an abdominal pain-free or a nausea-free day since the end of October (had no pain with my gallbladder before my first and only attack). Depending on what I eat, I may have more or less pain, more or less nausea. I can't eat red meat anymore, at all. Actually, meat in general isn't my friend.

Hopefully you will fall on the good side of recovery.


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Henny Button
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Posted: 6/17/2013 10:08:02 PM
Before the surgery, check with the doctor to find out about lifting restrictions. You may not be able to pick up your little one for a week or two and may need help.

Other than that, I found the surgery to be fairly easy. It took about 5 days before I could get up from a seated or laying position without pain, but that was about it.

One thing to watch for is a recurrence of gallbladder-like pain. I had an attack that felt exactly like a gallbladder attack about a week after my surgery. I went back to the emergency room and found out that I had retained gallstones in my bile ducts. It's common enough that they knew immediately what was going on. Do not ignore anything that feels like a gallbladder attack after your surgery.


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Posted: 6/17/2013 11:17:26 PM
Everyone is different. I had complications and spent a week in the hospital and about 2 months at home recovering with drainage tubes in place. It was awful, and I still have problems and that was about 7 years ago.




enjoytotheend
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Posted: 6/17/2013 11:23:46 PM
I had mine out and had a lot of complications. But my grandma had hers out a month before her 91st birthday and they had to do a complete cut because she had too much scar tissue for a lap. She did absolutely fine. She healed much quicker than I did. So it really just depends. I hope you heal quickly. I think you may have to be careful what you pick up though. I am a little worried about you lifting up your little one.

Zella
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Posted: 6/17/2013 11:45:14 PM
Be sure you have a Rx to take home with you for nausea, just in case. Phenergan is the best in my opinion (and I've had a lot of experience, unfortunately).

You may find that you have diarrhea shortly after you eat, and this may or may not get better with time. Some people have this problem, others don't. Supposedly it's linked to a fatty meal, but it can happen after any meal for some of us. It's still better than having gallbladder attacks, though!


Trying to live each day for itself


papersilly
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Posted: 6/17/2013 11:57:26 PM
I had my gallbladder taken out 1year and 2days ago. I have to say my hysterectomy was an easier recovery than the gallbladder. The first couple of days I had bad shoulder pain from the gas. Lots of soreness that really hurt when i coughed or sneezed and for some reason, i sneezed a lot. Fortunately the incision areas healed quickly and I only needed band aids for a few days. I took 3 full days off work and did 1/2 days for another week.



~Laurie~
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Posted: 6/18/2013 9:05:18 AM
Jen, we are going to be gallbladder buddies. LOL I hope you have a fast and easy recovery!

Not lifting Lexi is going to be a challenge. I guess I should say getting Lexi to understand I can't lift her will be the challenge. I think this is going to be the hardest part of my recovery because even when she is sitting on my lap she is moving all over trying to figure out how she wants to snuggle.

There has been many disagreements over how we are going to handle me being alone that night. Dh keeps saying he will skip the game so I am not home alone. My thought is that I probably will be sleeping anyway and that I will be fine for 1.5 hours. I am being optimistic and thinking that maybe I will be alert enough and feeling okay that I can go to the game. LOL I know it is doubtful though.

So after reading these posts it seems like it is about 50/50 on the recovery. I am hoping I (and Jen) will be in the easy 50%.


Laurie


Henny Button
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Posted: 6/18/2013 10:18:45 PM
You could ask your surgeon to keep you overnight. It never hurts to ask.


Sandi
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Henny Button
PeaFixture

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Posted: 6/18/2013 10:20:06 PM
You could ask your surgeon to keep you overnight. It never hurts to ask.


Sandi
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peanutterbutter
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Posted: 6/19/2013 12:27:29 AM
I have some digestive issues off and on, and have had a couple bouts w/pancreatitis - I can usually figure out that I've been eating particularly horribly on those days. The surgery/recovery itself wasn't too bad. A heating pad on my shoulders helped w/some of the gas pain, and an ice pack on my incisions felt like heaven!! Have some frozen peas on hand for ice packs.

What time is your actual surgery? If you're not checking in til 11:30, they usually do a few things before you go into surgery, and if the OR is running behind at all you guys should be prepared that your DH may not make it to the softball game. I was a day surgery - in the hospital @ 6:30 am, surgery @ 8 (no delays fortunately) but didn't leave the hospital til 6.

If you do make it home in time for your DH to go to the game, it really isn't a good idea for you to be alone. The anasthesia (sp?) can cause you to be confused/have poor judgement. My DH left me alone to go get my scripts - that was not a good idea!! LOL fortunately I was okay, but I would yell at anyone else who did what I did right after surgery and under the influence of anasthesia and pain meds. LOL

Also - keep up your fluid intake (once you know you can keep stuff down) - anasthesia and narcotics can really dry you up/bind you up and cause bowel problems, and they dont' tend to stress that w/people.

Good luck and hope you have a smooth recovery!! You too Jen!

lindywholoveskids
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Posted: 6/19/2013 12:49:37 AM
About 15 yrs ago I had my gallbladder completely removed with a large incision. It was full of stones, and they put a tube in to drain.
I think a stone came out on its own about a week or 2after surgery.
I was in hospital for 5 days.
Fast forward, I didn't pay a lot of attention to the dietary restrictions - and they weren't too adamant about having a very low fat diet.
I am now having IBS symptoms and really have to watch it.
I really never had constipation problems, but now I do.

So, I hope you are one of the fortunate ones who recovery quickly.

azredhead34
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Posted: 6/19/2013 1:03:51 AM

Be sure you have a Rx to take home with you for nausea, just in case. Phenergan is the best in my opinion (and I've had a lot of experience, unfortunately).

You may find that you have diarrhea shortly after you eat, and this may or may not get better with time. Some people have this problem, others don't. Supposedly it's linked to a fatty meal, but it can happen after any meal for some of us. It's still better than having gallbladder attacks, though!


Phenegran is our friend after surgery! It's great even for just coming of the anesthesia, that's when I get sick. I highly recommend it too, if you're worried about recovery depending your insurance and how you feel you can stay over night. I did but I had a few other issues cause that's how it goes for me. Otherwise it was one of my easier surgeries including the appendix surgery I had two weeks later.




~Laurie~
aka momtoemily

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Posted: 6/19/2013 8:56:32 AM
I believe the actual surgery is at 1. Emily is staying at a friends house tonight and they are bringing her to the game so we are covered if this takes longer than anticipated. The game is actually about halfway between where we live and the hospital so if I have to stay overnight dh could easily go to the game and then come back up.

Thanks for the reminder about heating pads and ice packs. We have both but dh never seems to put them away so we are always looking for them. Tonight I will make sure that I know where both of them are.


Laurie


SweetieBugs
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Posted: 6/19/2013 9:26:07 AM
I am surprised many of you had the option to stay over night (with laparoscopic). Here it is scheduled for in and out the same day.

My surgery was schedule for 11 but was delayed until 1:30 or so. I had difficulty coming out of the anesthesia but they kept at me and when I was back in my regular "day" room, the nurse was trying to go through check-out procedures and I was really out of it and sick to my stomach. They make you get dressed and use the bathroom and I collapsed in the bathroom from light headedness. Orderlies helped me back in bed and they kept me another 45 minutes but after that I was put in a wheel chair, given a bin and tissues to use if I got sick and wheeled out. I think they must only run the day surgery section of the hospital from 6 a.m. till 5 or something because it definitely felt like "closing time" no matter what.

Ultimately I was okay but really did need a little longer to recover than I was given. The ride home was very difficult but I survived.

meowgal
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Posted: 6/19/2013 9:37:16 AM
WOW...I'm sure glad I didn't know the horror stories before my easy-peasy surgery and recovery!

The only "left over" (I had mine out in 1996) is that cannot eat food from TGIF, Ruby Tuesday, Applebees...something about it makes it a RUN FOR THE BATHROOM....

Other than that, I'm seriously 100% okay and never had any issues. And while I did stay overnight in the hospital, I lived alone and went home the next day, slept for about 24 hours and went to work the following day. I never took anything other than motrin.


Carolyn Peaing in VA

Lilyloams
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Posted: 6/19/2013 10:54:46 AM
Wow I am also glad I didn't see any info like this before I had my gallbladder surgery! Mine was also VERY easy. In at 7am, home walking around outside at Noon, eating a hot dog off the grill. I have NEVER had any stomach issues no matter what I eat since the surgery. I had virtually no pain from the surgery either. My abdominal area just felt like I had done 100 situps. Had it done on Thursday and back to work on Monday.

Lilyloams
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Posted: 6/19/2013 10:54:47 AM
Wow I am also glad I didn't see any info like this before I had my gallbladder surgery! Mine was also VERY easy. In at 7am, home walking around outside at Noon, eating a hot dog off the grill. I have NEVER had any stomach issues no matter what I eat since the surgery. I had virtually no pain from the surgery either. My abdominal area just felt like I had done 100 situps. Had it done on Thursday and back to work on Monday.

LauraTen
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Posted: 6/19/2013 11:05:40 AM
The next morning I felt like I got hit with a truck


Laura

~Laurie~
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Posted: 6/19/2013 12:56:40 PM

Had it done on Thursday and back to work on Monday.


That is what my plan is...as of right now.

My nerves are starting to kick in. I am a worrier and a bit of a fatalist so I am overthinking this right now.


Laurie


SweetieBugs
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Posted: 7/4/2013 10:24:26 PM
I was just curious how your surgery and recovery have been. Hope you bounced back quickly and feel better.

jen1021
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PeaNut 327,283
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Posts: 1,512
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Posted: 7/5/2013 9:32:00 PM
I was looking for this thread to see how Laurie did. Mine was two weeks ago yesterday and it went fine. I went through several days of feeling like my innards were trying to come out through my belly button but other than that it was all good.

Laurie, I hope your surgery went well and that Lexie was understanding.


Jen




lisaluvshearts
PeaNut

PeaNut 565,186
August 2012
Posts: 201
Layouts: 9
Loc: Ohio

Posted: 7/5/2013 9:43:28 PM
I was prepped for surgery and was so nervous. I asked for something for nerves they gave me Dilaudid.

I was never so happy in my whole life, the could have taken anything they wanted after giving me that drug in my IV. I was so happy and loopy.


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