Here it is, the gory details of the final showdown between me and my diseased gallbladder.
We arrived on time at the hospital and checked in with a young man who was wearing scrubs, thick glasses, and a dour expression. He handed us a restaurant pager. He was professional to a fault. When John asked if the hospital had recently merged with Applebees, he stated they had and continued with his explicit instructions. He never once cracked a smile.
Shortly thereafter, our pager simultaneously buzzed, vibrated, and lit up as a woman called us to her cubicle. We filled out the requisite paperwork for my admission as she collected the all-important co-pay. Here is the conversation we had with her:
Nice lady: You have a $50 co-pay.
Holly: Really? I thought it was $100.
Nice lady: If you stayed overnight, it would be $100, but since this is a same-day procedure, it's only $50.
John: And if you catch swine flu, it's free!
Nice lady: No, no, no, no! He's joking... right?
I was then taken to the pre-op room where I was told to completely undress and put on a lovely blue hospital parachute thing. The nurse opened the curtain too soon and the entire pre-op ward saw my white tuckus, but I'm cool with that. Really.
The nurse stuck the i.v. in and the anesthesiologist explained his most important role in the process. He gave me some "relaxing medication" and then told me how becoming I looked in my parachute. I made goo-goo eyes at him and then we made plans to run away together to Tahiti. At least, I'm pretty sure that's what happened.
The rest went by fast. They were wheeling me down the hall when I remembered to ask my nurse whether or not I could keep my gallstones. She said they weren't allowed to do that any longer. The anesthesiologist piped in about how lawyers were always ruining everyone's fun blah blah blah. I remember feeling irate and I began insisting that they were MY gallstones and I had a RIGHT to see them and put them in a jar and take them home and name them all George if I so desired. It was at this point that someone shoved a mask over my face and told me to breathe deeply. I didn't even fade out. I was just... not there any longer.
The next part is straight out of a Steven King novel. Continue reading at your own risk. I awoke, suddenly, alone in the recovery room, in intense pain. There were no loving eyes peering down at me, no gentle soul was holding my hand, welcoming me back to the land of the living... there was only flourescent lights and the sound of sports center coming from the next curtain over. I was unable to move my legs and I could not talk! (At least not very loud.) They had warned me they would put a breathing tube down my throat. They had destroyed my talking apparatus!!! Nurses were walking in front of me and I COULD NOT COMMUNICATE WITH THEM!!! Finally someone noticed me and put something in my i.v. to ease the pain. This was probably like five hours later.
They wouldn't let me go home until I went pee. It had to be a certain amount of pee. I tried hard: I thought of Niagara Falls, let the faucet drip for inspiration, drank lots of water even though I felt like puking, all because I just wanted to get home and into my own bed. But I could not maketh the peeth cometh.
I've found that when all else fails, whining generally gets me what I want. "I just waaant to goooo hooome...."
The trick is to whine in a pathetic, bleating, almost crying sort of way and not in an annoying "I'm a spoiled brat" kind of way. It takes practice to perfect.
They let me go home. We had to pull over once so I could puke up water and bile. The next 24 hours were difficult. Three days later, I feel a lot better, though it really hurts to laugh, cough, yawn, and hiccup. I had one false hiccup alarm earlier today. Thankfully, it seemed to be just a rogue hiccup without any followers.
I still haven't peed, however.