March 24th, 2010

on my bike

in honor of my gallbladder

This is what I wrote on day one of the MS150 last year.
So yesterday, I sat in a conference and ate a muffin. The conference was to end at 12:45 and I was planning on leisurely getting myself ready for the MS150. I had packing to do, I had to put the various tags on my bike, and I had some mental preparation to work through.

At around noon, I started feeling a sharpish pain in my middle back. I was uncomfortable, but it was bearable. It progressively got worse. By the time the conference was wrapping up, I was eager to get home. I had self-parked that morning, which is unusual for me at that conference because it's at a hotel and it's easier to valet and get there on time. By the time I got there, though, the valet were full.

I drove myself home around 1:00. I wasn't feeling good at all, and I was beginning to worry about driving.

I got home and went straight to bed, worrying the hell out of graham when I told him I was in a lot of pain and I wasn't OK.

I tried heat. I tried the dogs. I tried drinking water. Nothing worked. Graham called my dad, who was having lunch with my mom and his resident a few blocks away. They palpated me, asked a lot of questions and decided it was likely gastritis. It was bad, but probably very treatable. Tbe MS150 and I could get togther. I was supposed to take two Prilosec and some Maylox, and I should bw back to good in about five hours. At around two thirty, I took the Prilosec. At around three, I sent Graham out for Maylox. Somewhere in here is where the puking started. I'd heave for a good five minutes, and all the contents of my stomach would be expunged. At around four, I had Graham call kittyajh and ask about what options were if I wasn't feeling great in the morning, but improved by afternoon.

In the meantime, one of the biggest Texas sping showers was forming. The MS150 team ultimately decided to cancel the first day of the ride because of the weather. I'd heard that the camp in La Grange was a) a lake and b) no longer waterproof.

All of this time, I was trying to sleep through the pain. No luck.

Finally, I conceded defeat and called my dad to tell him I was getting Graham to take me to the ER.

We rolled in right at seven, during a shift change. Still, I was in a room within ten minutes. I saw a doctor within an hour (he knew my father, and he was a pretty awesome doc), and I was on pain medication by 9:00. They also drew blood, which later showed that my white count was at 17,000. At around 9:30, they took me down for an ultrasound, and within three minutes of getting those images back, the doctor told me that I had a lot of gallstones, and They'd have to be removed. "Tonight?: I stupidly asked. "No reason to wait." He asked me to talk to my dad to find out which surgeon he wanted. My dad immediately named one.

It took maybe an hour to get things organized, and I could feel the Demerol wearing off. I asked for more, and immediately I puked when I got the shot.

We went to a room, and my surgeon stopped by to explain everything that was happening to me. I don't really need the gallbladder, my body will learn to live without it, and I had I was settled in to a shared room around ten thirty, and my parents showed up shortly afterward. By eleven, everyone was gone, and I was hitting the morphine hard. I slept fitfully. My roommate, an elderly lady who appeared to have some sort of GI problem, never turned off her TV, though she did have the sound off. I was still in considerable pain, despite the meds, and nurses and aides would come in from time to time to take vitals from one or both of us or otherwise do something.

At around 7:45, the OR came for me, and I was in the operating room by 8:11. I don't recall much of the operating room. My gallbladder was removed arthroscopically. I have three incisions, one in my belly button and three around where the gallbladder was. Everything was over and done with less than 24 hours after the first onset of symptoms.

I've been on different drugs today. I can't remember the name of the pain meds, but they are oral, not injected. And I got moved to a private room, though I'm not sure why. Friends and family members have stopped by at various points, and I figured out how to upload at facebook a few hours ago.

I haven't talked to any of my docs yet about the surgery, so I don't know how long I'll be here. Maybe I go home tonight. Maybe the next day. I'm supposed to be off work for two weeks, but we'll see about that. I have too much going on right now to take off that much time.

At any rate, this sucks. I puked a good half hour ago, but Claudia brought me her laptop for posting and browsing, and she brought season 4 of Buffy. I'm missing the MS150 entirely, which makes me ridiculously sad since I worked so hard on it, and my friends gave money for me to do it, though I guess that this could have as easily happened on the bike, which would have been bad. Very bad.

Apologies for the incoherent-ness of this post. The anti-nausea drug they gave me is apparently prone to making me sleepy and loopy. And I hurt like a motherfucker.

Further reports as events warrant.

I am told by people who were in a better state of mind to remember such things that I left the OR muttering about the MS150 and saying silly things like "I can still ride on Sunday, right?"

I had sent an e-mail and links to this fundraising page to all of my friends and family, and they had come back big time for me. I raised more money than I thought possible, and I was really looking forward to proving them right with a 180 mile bike ride. I'd trained hard, I'd been mentally prepared, and then my body gave out on me.

So this year, it's a little more personal than usual. Please help avenge my gallbladder by supporting me in the MS150. I swear that I will not have another gallstone attack and miss the ride.