View Full Version : Medical Corner XII - Gallstones

2nd Jun 2008, 11:45
Hi folks.

Thursday week ago I went to the chemists thinking I had indigestion. Four hours later I'm sitting in a hospital bed thinking, "What the **** happened there?"

The chemist had said go to the doctor, the doctor had said go to A&E and the hospital had admitted me! It turned out I had oesophegitis (sp) which had caused my white cell count to rocket and temperature to rise.

The next day I had an ultrasound scan and an endoscopy :yuk: and they found out I've got gallstones and they're going to whip my gallbladder out! I've now been released because they want the infection in the oesophegus to die down before they operate.

I'll be Googling this, but have any readers had this op? As Eric Idle would say in the 'Nudge nudge' sketch, "What's it like?"


2nd Jun 2008, 11:49
I'd blame the French . . .

2nd Jun 2008, 11:58
My wife had hers out, although outside of the usual patient presentation (fat, female, forty) apart from the female bit.
Keyhole surgery so not much to see and heals quickly. The only drawback is being careful on what she eats, not too many fatty things or ice cream in a short period. Apart from that its no big deal.


2nd Jun 2008, 12:09
Seems I may be looking at the same removal, and found this -


2nd Jun 2008, 12:24
Angels, I'd expect you to fare better than I on gall bladder removal, remembering that I'm about 25 years older than you..

Pain/problems while visiting my brother at Christmas 2006. Gall bladder removed Boxing Day 2006. I guess the surgeon had some spare time:{. Moderate size suburban hospital here in the USA.

The "keyhole" operation turned into a full-scale incision which is still a substantial depression. The surgeon said he found the keyhole method didn't allow sufficient access to get it all removed.

Only three(??) days in the hospital and then six nights at rehabilitation / nursing home, which I really hated. Then about three nights at my brother's, followed by 350-mile drive home with a nephew doing most of the driving. Driving home so soon was probably not a good idea since the incision started leaking the next day. A local general surgeon taped things together and it healed within a couple of weeks.

While there are suggestions about diet restrictions, I don't find them necessary. I haven't changed my diet and "bodily functions" returned to normal after a few months.

Perhaps I wouldn't have such a big scar if I'd used a larger hospital, but it didn't seem as though the operation was going to be all that major and the surgeon was highly recommended. Logistics kept me at the hospital where I went to the emergency room.


2nd Jun 2008, 15:17
Gallstones are very painful (been there), and will sometimes pass by themselves. Mine did, and I then changed my diet to reduce the risk of a repeat.

There's a very nasty potential side-effect: if they decide to pass, and get stuck half way, blocking the pancreatic duct, then you have pancreatitis which can kill you very quickly.

M, my beloved, had that last November, and was not expected to last the night when she was admitted. Fortunately, she's a tough lass: the stone passed and she pulled through and recovered well. She had to go back a few weeks later for an "urgent" op to remove the gall bladder (which had another giant gallstone in it).

She lost about 2 stone in weight, and hasn't got her full strength back yet. She has to be a bit careful of her diet - nothing too fatty - but otherwise is making a good recovery.

Conclusion: if it's gallstones, listen to what the expert says!

2nd Jun 2008, 15:36
My ex missus has hers removed. She fitted in the fat, forty, female category.

She had the keyhole procedure. Two tiny holes, but the after effects were very sore and aching joints, especially in the hips and shoulders. Apparently they blow up your belly with nitrogen to give then a bit of space to work in. This nitrogen then gets absorbed in the body and goes into the joints. Just like decompression sickness with divers.

2nd Jun 2008, 16:05
Had my gallbladder jerked back in 199/2000. All done with microsurgery, three small incisions (about 1cm long) and two larger incisions (about 2cm long). Had the op in the morning, woke up feeling awful and sick, went back to sleep for most of the afternoon and then had a vegetable curry for dinner. Spent another day in the hospital then went home. No instructions about special foods, etc. I was only told to take it easy for a "few days" and then to carry on as normal. Worst part of the whole thing was that I had to have a drain tube into my stomach for the first 24 hours. I felt a right twit going to the bog and pulling this long wheeled pole that had a small plastic bottle on it.

2nd Jun 2008, 17:43
Hi angels - yeps had mine whipped out in Dec 2006... I don't do well with anaesthesia and have a very prolonged recovery time, so luckily for me this meant I didn't really experience any of the immediate after-effects of the keyhole surgery hehehe They say everything has its upside.

For a few weeks after the op I seemed to experience acid reflux etc, which I hadn't had before so I got myself a sort of semi-recumbent pillow rest so I slept half-propped up for a while. I also had to be wary of when I ate as I had to nip to the loo within about 15mins of eating anything for probably a month or so? But regular tummy type meds help with this... its all a matter of the system getting used to gall going directly to digestion rather than being held in the bladder.

Now, 18m later I can eat/drink absolutely anything and having thought, prior to the gallstone attack, that I was just getting older hence foods were giving me gyp, I find that it was nowt to do with the foods but with my gallbladder!

You probably don't want to bother but if you do a posts (rather than thread) search on my name and keyword gallbladder you will get what I wrote at the time :ok:

Deffo better out than lurking!!

2nd Jun 2008, 18:21
This is wholly anecdotal, of course, but: Yes! Been there! Done that!

Nothing to it. I was admitted in pain for "the tests". I assessed the pain as 6 out of 10. That was a mistake. Do not make it. They do not take you seriously until you say 10 out of 10, but chaps cannot say that. Girlies can. Then five days of "tests" and nothing to eat, save fruit jelly, under the eagle eye of Nurse Kelly ("The doctor says, 'Nothing to eat'"). I told her she was a beautiful woman with a heart of stone, but she took it as a compliment. Another mistake.

Admitted late on Saturday. Operation on Thursday. Released on either Friday or Saturday, can't remember. In court on Tuesday. Minor residual pain for a day or two in, oddly enough, the neck or shoulder, but nowhere near where the cut had been. It seems that the nerves go in a circuitous route their wonders to perform. No: I am saying I had a pain in the neck, not that I was it.

Now back to Nurse Kelly. Under her brutal administration my weight went from 160+ lbs to its present lissom 145 lbs. Everyone should have this operation.

2nd Jun 2008, 19:12
My gallbladder perforated in April. The pain was unbelievable (20/10!) and of course it was a deaf 999 operator with a dud headset. When it was removed the surgeon attempted keyhole surgery but had to convert to open, so I ended up witn 8" of staples.

Had I not decided to 'wait and see' after problems last year but had it followed up as soon as the ultrasound showed stones, I would have had an elective operation, would probably have had keyhole surgery instead of open surgery, and would have recovered a whole lot faster.

While I was in, people came in for their op in the morning and went home the next morning, or even that afternoon in a few cases. No drain bag either.

Instead I got 7 days in HDU and 3 in the normal ward and then wound up back in a couple of weeks later with a chest problem and now cannot fly until the end of June because of having had a chest drain.

Moral of the story: don't delay. Let them get on with the op ASAP and you should make a rapid recovery. There is always the possibility you will wake up with lots of staples, but letting them get on with it should reduce the chances of that happening.

Good luck, and make sure you have a good set of ear plugs as hospitals are horribly noisy places.

2nd Jun 2008, 21:26
hospitals are horribly noisy places.and they keep such funny hours (or at least they used to - waking you at sparrow-fart then a couple of hours until breakfast - if you weren't 'nil-by-mouth' as I was for three days on the trot due to rescheduling . . . ).
Had to come home for a rest!

3rd Jun 2008, 11:03
and they keep such funny hours (or at least they used to - waking you at sparrow-fart then a couple of hours until breakfast - if you weren't 'nil-by-mouth' as I was for three days on the trot due to rescheduling . . . ).
Had to come home for a rest!

Well yes, I did need a rest after my second admission. I slept for 14 hours the first night I was home!

However they didn't wake me early for drugs. I usually buzzed for my pain relief, but one hospital was dead funny about providing me with a clean gown each day. (I don't own any bedclothes) Breakfast was quite late, it was intended we had all got up and showered or washed first.

There was also the bizareness of expecting me to get up and sit in a chair with a slightly collapsed seat, so it was like sitting on the toilet only rather less comfortable. A pillow solved that problem.

One of the most annoying things was the TVs in the ward, on stuff I never watch all day. They should be banned from wards, or people should have to use headphones to listen to them.

4th Jun 2008, 14:57
Thanks very much to you all for your tales. Must admit, I'm glad they've caught them before the pain becomes too intense.

Went for another endoscopy yesterday and the infection in my oesophagus has now spread to the duodenum, so unless they consider me an emergency I'll have to hang on for the op until the infection runs its course.

Off for a check up on Friday. :sad:

4th Jun 2008, 17:44
Drove down to the hospital 40 miles away, had the op in about 2 hours, rested for 45 minutes then drove home. Went to bed early though. Was lucky. No pain no scars. Cost me $14,000 in 1999 in California. Still have the plastic bedpan. If I paid so much for it I won't throw it away.
Only long term effect is skid marks and smelly farts once in a while (luckily my B.O. is strong enough to disguise that). Was warned that is one common side effect. You might escape.