Recovering after Gallbladder Surgery – Part 2

I mentioned in the Part 1 of this post that I would come back and finish my story and what to expect while recovering, and so here I am. I got a little long winded on my first post, and I apologize for that, but I have always been that way and I try to go into detail whenever possible, to give readers a better view of my life, and everything. Read on to find out more! 

There are several things I’ve found out to be pretty common to expect once you get done with your gallbladder removal surgery and are on your way to recovery.

  1. Gas pains. During surgery, they insert gas into your side for some reason, and that gas has to escape. But until it’s able to, you’re liable to have gas pains. I felt like I was being stabbed in the shoulder over and over repeatedly. It happened the most when I was trying to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. The first time I got up, I had to have a nurse help me, and she just brought the portable potty beside my bed. On a pain scale of 1-10 with 10 being the worst, my gas pains were probably a 10. 
  2. Recovery. Most people get to go home the day the surgery is performed. I had to stay an extra night because my gallbladder was so infected and the stones were so large, I was in so much pain, and couldn’t get out of bed myself, so they just kept me. 
  3. Medications. Have someone take you to the pharmacy right after you get out of the hospital. You’re going to want the medications. My doctor prescribed me Hydrocodone for pain, and I had to wait until the day after I got out of the hospital to fill it because I didn’t have the money (no insurance) to get it filled. I was able to fight off the pain with 2-500mg Tylenol that night, but the next day I was pretty happy to have the stronger meds. If you don’t think you can walk, you can either have someone pick up your meds for you, if the pharmacy will allow it, or you can use a wheelchair. We normally just use the drive through pick up and drop off at Walgreens, but the pickup line was huge and we had already waited 15 minutes, so my husband went inside to pick it up. 
  4. Walk. You’re going to want to be up and moving, so you don’t get too sore, and honestly, it does help with the pain. It’s not painful to be up walking around either, so make sure you walk at least 10 minutes or so an hour.
  5. Don’t lift. I was told not to lift more than 10 pounds. This is making my daughter so sad because I can’t pick her up, but I don’t want to split something open on the inside.
  6. Clear Liquid Diet. The first couple of days, you might not have much of an appetite. Make sure you have lots of clear liquids around. Jell-O, water, juices, soup broths, etc. This is what they brought  me to eat that night in the hospital. It didn’t do much for my appetite because I hadn’t eaten at all that day & it had been since like 10:30 the night before, so I was pretty hungry. 
  7. No diet restrictions. I’ve been told that I am going to want to stay away from fatty foods, but I’ve pretty much resumed my regular diet, and the only thing I have to say about that is make sure you’re near a bathroom shortly after you eat.
  8. Sore Throat. I was put under completely, which I think is normal, and had a breathing tube, so when I woke up, I had a slight cough and my throat was pretty sore and scratchy. Make sure you keep water or something wet near you.
  9. Sleeping. I couldn’t sleep in bed until Sunday night. Laying flat, whether on my back or one of my sides, hurt way too much. I ended up sleeping on my couch, which has the recliners in it, and that was much more comfortable. I also slept with a pillow or rolled up blanket on my belly.
  10. Pain. It has currently been 6 days since I had my surgery and I’m not really in pain anymore. My incisions are still tender. I can tell if I have overdone it during the day, because I have to take a pain pill at night. I was given 20 pain pills and I think I have 13-15 left. I don’t like taking them, but will if I have to! Don’t watch something funny, laughing hurts. Coughing (which can be caused by the breathing tube) hurts.
  11. Incisions. I had 4 incisions in my belly. One under my breasts, one on my belly button, and 2 smaller ones on the right side of my belly. On the 2 smaller ones, I can’t tell that they put anything on them other than bandaids, and the same with the one under my breasts. The one on my belly button was stitched shut, but I didn’t have any staples or anything. They put bandages over them in the hospital, and told me I could shower the day after I came home. I just couldn’t scrub the incision (obviously) nor could I let the water stand on them. The water had to run over the incisions.  They also told me no baths, but I didn’t listen. My legs were so bad, I just HAD to shave them. I didn’t fill the tub up as much as I normally would have. I filled it enough that I had water, but not enough that it would come up over my belly button so that incision never got wet and sat in water.
  12. Tired. You’re going to be pretty tired after the anesthesia wears off, and this lasted a couple days for me. I don’t think it helped that while in the hospital Wednesday morning (my IV pump alarm went off EVERY 30 minutes to an hour) and Wednesday night/Thursday (nurses constantly checking on me, waking me up to ask if I wanted pain pills, etc…) I didn’t sleep much, but Friday, I did nothing and I was wiped. I still find myself getting more tired, even 6 days after.
  13. Sweat Pants/Yoga Pants/Leggings. These are going to be your best friend! You might not want to wear jeans, and you aren’t going to want to wear tight pants. I’ve wore pajama pants and Lula Roe leggings since I got out of the hospital!

I hope this helps you. Keep in mind, if you have some pretty bad pain on your right upper abdomen, this could very well be your gallbladder. Get it checked out. You’re not going to want it to burst on you.

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