So, it turns out that the crippling pain I had in my chest and back was actually gallstones. Who knew? Not my doctor who said somewhat dismissively that I had a bit of indigestion. I suggested that perhaps there should be some more investigation than her and I having a five minute chat and she sceptically (or so it seemed) agreed to refer me for an ultrasound which confirmed that I did indeed, have gallstones.
By some miracle I got into a specialist 2 days after my diagnosis was confirmed and he booked me straight into surgery 4 days later. All bulk billed. I feel incredibly lucky.
I have a pretty low threshold for pain and coming out of the anaesthetic I was in a lot of pain. Thank god for morphine that’s all I can say. I am somewhat disappointed to note that upon discharge my pain management plan was 6 hourly panadol which believe me, is not adequate, but turns out they were a bit generous with the morphine which caused a significant drop in blood pressure which meant no more good stuff for me! Oh well.
Surgery on Friday and home on Saturday afternoon I had anticipated some unpleasantness (don’t you just love how the medics tell you that you might experience “some discomfort” which is actually code for searing pain) but to be honest, I felt like complete crap. Pain was bad, I could only lay on my back and the nausea was overwhelming. Not so great. I was beginning to regret having the procedure.
Today however things have improved. I managed to get out of bed and have a shower with the help of a plastic garden chair placed so that I could sit in case I was overcome mid shower. Getting clothes on was a bridge too far but clean hair and fresh flannies have contributed greatly towards my feeling better and I’ve managed to stay out of bed all day. Hurrah!
Making me feel even better still were the two beautiful bouquets of flowers I received from people at work. I’ve even managed to eat today, although not much. I’m a bit worried that my new digestive system needs time to settle in a bit before I give it a full work out.
Whilst I am feeling quite sooky and sorry for myself, I am also feeling very grateful and relieved that I was able to get treatment so swiftly. I am grateful that the public system was able to support me so that I didn’t have to put up with excruciating pain for months on end and that the fact that I don’t have private hospital cover (it’s out of my reach, alas) hasn’t left me without the medical care that I need.
I’m also grateful to my mum for travelling interstate to support me and my children, and to my children for bringing me fresh glasses of water and magazines to read. And of course I am grateful for technology, Facebook and Twitter for keeping me in touch with the outside world without me having to get out of bed, or even barely move.
Tomorrow, I am planning to get dressed. It’s going to be huge!