Tuesday, March 14, 2017

News from the Studio (Or "Chronicles of my Cholecystectomy") 3/14/17

Hi friends!

This is going to be a fun update.  A lot sure has happened in the past 10 days, so let's get to it.

First, let's talk Blue Springs Art Show, and then I'll get to the other stuff.  The Blue Springs show was held back at Vesper Hall in Blue Springs, Missouri on March 4-5, and it went really well!  I went into it without any expectations as usual.  But I managed to take away 3 awards that weekend. 

My self-portrait was the 1st Place Portrait winner, and my painting The Crusader took 2nd in the Opaque category, as well as 2nd Place People's Choice.  All in all, it was a successful show yet again for me, and I couldn't be happier about it.

And now comes the real story of the past several days for me.  And it all started that Saturday night of the Blue Springs show, March 4th.  After a delicious meal at one of my favorite restaurants, I began to feel a slight stomach ache.  This is something I had felt before, and I had a bad feeling it was going to get worse as the evening progressed.  Although, in times past, it would turn out not as bad as I expected, so I still had hope it would be okay.  Still, as the night progressed, and while I was at the awards reception at Blue Springs, the ache in my stomach also began to progress.  By the time I was home and did my nightly before-bed routine, the ache in my stomach started turning to pain.  Real.  Awful.  Pain.  That pink Pepto-Bismol stuff that I tried to take did not work.

By 11:00pm, I was nauseous, and throwing up.  You would think throwing up might help with the stomach issues, because whatever was in there that was making me feel so awful was no longer there.  Nope.  Not the case.  In fact, it seemed as though my stomach pain was even worse at that point.  So the game was over.  It was emergency room time.

So there I am at the ER with my mom until sometime after 3:00am Sunday morning trying to get the pain under control.  They gave me an IV with some fluids, and medication.  In exchange, I gave them some of my fluids for them to run some labs.  Nothing serious came up, thank goodness.  But I still had no idea what was wrong with me.  My mom just happened to throw out the suggestion that it may be my gallbladder.  The ER doctor said, "Yeah, it's possible."  But since they decided not to even do an x-ray, it was hard to say. 

They told me to stick to a "bland" diet and to get in to see my doctor that week.  So I did on Wednesday.  Now, I really like my doctor because he doesn't mess around.  If I need something done, he gets it done, or puts an order in to have it done quickly.  After my quick appointment with him, he was almost about to admit me right there.  But we decided that I could come back first thing the next morning for an ultrasound to get to the bottom of this.  But he was pretty certain it was my gallbladder too.

So I came back the next morning, Thursday, and did just that.  My doctor told me he would get the results of the ultrasound within minutes, so I didn't even need to leave the building before I could come right back up to see him and get the verdict.  Sure enough, I got a call to come up to the office.  And sure enough, I had a gall stone.  A BIG gall stone.  And my nurse said, "Yep, he called it, didn't he."  To which I replied, "Yeah, although the funny thing is my mom called it right from the beginning at the ER."  My mom and I have both seen this before with my dad several years ago.  Same exact pain.  Same diagnosis. 

Well, my doctor was ready to admit me right away and get this taken care of.  But there was one small problem.  The hospital was full, and they couldn't get a bed for me.  If I was to go through with the surgery, it wasn't going to happen until 8:00pm that Thursday evening.  They had me in a room hooked up to another IV and getting more fluids and having more labs done.  This went on for a couple of hours before the surgeon came in and told me the situation.  I could wait until 8:00pm, but still not have a bed, and just stay overnight in an uncomfortable ER bed or something.  Or, I could go home and sleep in my own bed, and come back again bright and early at 6:30am Friday morning and have the surgery and go home later that same day.  So I went with option B.  And in hindsight, it was the right choice.

So on Friday March 10th at around 9:30am, I had my gallbladder removed.  And since then, I have been recovering.  Which has involved sitting on my butt, watching TV, getting up and walking around the house on occasion, regaining my appetite, and taking my happy pills.

The surgery itself was an interesting experience.  I'd never had surgery before.  There was a time when I was a baby that I needed anesthesia for some dental work, but this was my first real surgery.  It was strange.  The last thing I remember was being wheeled into the operating room.  They instructed me to stretch out my arms, and told me to start taking some deep breaths as they placed an oxygen mask over my face.  That's it.  I went completely out sometime after that.  Then my first memory of waking up was in the recovery room, feeling ridiculously groggy, and falling in an out of sleep, but trying to stay awake.  Feeling as though almost no time had past.  It's a weird feeling. 

Anyway, that's what I've been up to for the past week and a few days.  Stay with me, friends!  I'm looking forward to getting better and getting back to work.  And, frankly, eating some good food again.

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