Gone, with traces

Et Cetera

It’s happening often, lately.

Every time I decide to update my journal, something happens, thwarting my efforts, getting in the way, diverting my attention, you name it. This time, after my last update a month ago, was an unexpected prolonged stay at the hospital after the surgery I underwent on January 15.

Usually, a cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal) is performed in one of two ways:

  • Open cholecystectomy
  • Laparoscopic cholecystectomy

    Quoting a medical entry found on the Web, Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is most commonly done. This procedure is less invasive than open cholecystectomy and requires smaller surgical cuts. It uses a thin, lighted tube called a laparoscope, which lets the doctor see inside your abdomen. For this procedure, the surgeon makes about four small cuts in the belly area and inserts the laparoscope. Carbon dioxide enters the belly area, which helps lift the abdomen up, so the surgeon has more space to work. The surgeon cuts the duct and vessels going to the gallbladder and removes the organ.

    In complicated cases, an open cholecystectomy may be performed. A larger surgical cut is made just below the ribs on the right side of the abdomen. The vessels and ducts going to the gallbladder are cut and closed with clips, and the gallbladder is removed.

    Laparoscopic surgery is often associated with a lower rate of complications, a shorter hospital stay, and better cosmetic results than the open procedure.

    I underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy but, of course, in my case there were some postoperative complications. So, instead of coming home on January 17, I was transferred to another hospital to do an abdominal CAT scan, because two days after the surgery my stomach and belly were still inflated, I had fits of pain all over the place and, more importantly, I had a fever. The persistence of the fever indicated some kind of infection, but the CAT scan revealed nothing abnormal.

    As soon as two surgeons examined me, one suggested the insertion of a nasogastric tube to help empty the stomach which was actually full of fluids (almost two litres of a nasty-looking liquid came out of my nose — yes, the tube is inserted in one nostril and pushed down in a way that reaches the stomach, although it stops right behind the throat). After this procedure, my belly ‘deflated’ and returned more or less to a normal size, and I was already feeling better.

    Then, to complicate things, I caught a bug in the hospital that led to some kind of respiratory infection. Fever was still there and for seven days I was fasting and had three, sometimes four, IVs feeding me. The occasional addition were antibiotics and/or analgesics. Slowly but surely, I recuperated and was finally discharged on January 27. Now, after seven abdominal X-rays, nine vials of blood samples, one ultrasonography and countless IV drips, I’m at home and continuing the antibiotics treatment which should end tomorrow afternoon. I still have occasional pains in the abdomen and in my left shoulder, but the scars on my belly are healing quite well, the fever has disappeared (of course, otherwise I’d still be hospitalised) and I’m feeling generally fine.

    The positive side effects of all this is that now I’m on a healthier diet, and that all those days of hospital captivity inspired me to write a new collection of poems. The working title is Resume CPR (heh), but it has really nothing to do with medicine or hospitals, as it refers to the fact that my poetry, despite being rather absent for three full years, isn’t dead yet.

    I’ll try to update more often, provided nothing else gets in the way this time around.

    The Author

    Writer. Translator. Mac consultant. Enthusiast photographer. • If you like what I write, please consider supporting my writing by purchasing my short stories, Minigrooves or by making a donation. Thank you!