Gall-less in Seattle.

On Sunday an old friend asked me when the gall bladder situation might be resolved. I replied that I’d be talking with a surgeon on Tuesday, “but it’s not as though he’s going to say, ‘I have an opening on Thursday’.” My situation wasn’t acute, so I figured it could take weeks to be scheduled.

After discussing the reasons to choose (or opt out of) cholecystectomy, I asked how long it might take for me to get an appointment.

“I’m operating on Thursday,” he said.

As in two days hence.

As in today.

Yep: I’m now living in the gall-bladder-free life. Did you know the procedure is now outpatient?


Deadlines and spit-up bags

After close to another hour of paperwork and instructions in the surgeon’s office (three bus rides away), here’s a rough idea of how I spent the next day and a half:

Got an EKG, picked up a painkiller prescription, stopped to buy antibacterial soap in case the pre-surgical scrub they gave me makes me break out in hives, rode the buses home.

Started a new batch of homemade yogurt (apparently a lot of cholecystectomy patients don’t feel much like eating for a few days afterwards), moved canned soup and peaches from a lower cupboard to one at eye level (might not feel like bending/stooping for a few days, either), boiled some eggs, paid a few bills, handled e-mail, did a bit of work-related social bookmarking, won a few Swagbucks.

Did some laundry. Talked with my dad and my daughter (twice), arranged with my sister for hospital transportation (bless her heart, she agreed to get me there by 6 a.m.), dealt with a ton of comments on my latest article at Get Rich Slowly. Conferred with my editor at MSN Money (more on that later).

Fixed dinner and put together a day-surgery tote that contains a bag of Ricola (for post-op sore throat), all my paperwork, health insurance ID card, photo ID, credit card (gotta love the co-pays), a folded towel (to keep the seat belt from pressing directly on the incisions), the book I’m currently reading (“Carter Beats The Devil” — I was told to bring something to amuse myself while I wait), lip balm  (no water after midnight = cracked lips) and a gallon-sized Ziploc bag in case I throw up on the way home (I haven’t had general anesthesia since a tonsillectomy at age 5 — don’t know how I’ll be affected).

Drained the yogurt in batches. (No fires this time.) Carried out the garbage and recyclables. Took some berries out of the freezer and made compote to mix with the yogurt. Scrubbed neck-to-toes with the hospital-strength antibacterial soap the night before and morning of the surgery, heeding the nurse’s advice: “It’s really strong, so don’t let it get anywhere near your eyes — or your private parts.” (Yikes.)

Submitted my proposal to be a speaker at the upcoming Financial Blogger Conference (follow the link to learn how to win one of three conference tickets to be given away). Conferred with MP Dunleavey of The Daily Worth about the newest version of The Money Fix, which I’m delighted to be a part of along with Liz Weston, Jean Chatzky and Kimberly Palmer.


Rest? Who can rest?

Thank goodness those last two items were already written and just needed tweaking/conferencing, because I’m still on the hook for daily posts at Frugal Cool. Since it’s a solo gig, there’s no one to whom to hand off the writing duties. Contractors don’t get sick days, so the editor and I came to these terms: I’d write posts up through next Tuesday and select and embed the videos, and he would make sure one got published each day.

As it turned out, I had time to finish only through Monday. But since I don’t have kids or pets to care for, this deal would give four days of uninterrupted rest. The surgeon had said to plan for up to one work-week off. Even if I were still feeling slightly sub-par on Monday I’d have just Tuesday’s post to write; I don’t have a Get Rich Slowly deadline until March 11 (and that decision to remain a biweekly contributor is looking more prescient all the time).

But since I didn’t want to neglect my own site, I also wrote this piece — the bones of it, anyway — and the post for Friday’s giveaway. If I could do even five minutes at the terminal, I figured, I’d add my post-surgery reactions.

They are:

  • I’m very glad I wrote this beforehand.
  • I’m even gladder that I have a painkiller handy. It beats an old-time cholecystectomy incision but the three little cuts they made aren’t comfortable, either.

All I have to do now is hit “publish” tomorrow for the giveaway post. Signing off for a while so I can get acquainted with oxycodone and Tylenol. Boy, is that an incongruous pairing.

(Anybody want to take bets on whether or not I’ll be approving comments as soon as tomorrow morning?)

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  1. Jennifer

    Good luck Donna! Hope you’re feeling better soon.

  2. I can relate! I’ve been having problems for the past week that are likely due to gallstones. I go for an ultrasound on Saturday. Hope you’re feeling better tomorrow, and incrementally more so each day over the next week.

  3. Melinda

    Get well soon Donna! Keep the painkillers close.

  4. Cindie

    Not only will you be approving comments tomorrow, I’d be willing to bet you peek at them later today. One thing we have noticed about you the last few years. You can’t stay away from work.

  5. Hope you heal up super-quick! =)

  6. ImJuniperNow

    Keep repeating: drugs are my friend. drugs are good.

    And if you’re particularly drugged up, please do approve some comments. I’ll bet it’ll be hysterical.

    Get Well Soon!!!!

  7. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  8. Donna – thoughts and prayers are with you. Hope you’re feeling great soon!

    Good luck!!!

  9. Donna,

    I had my gall-bladder out a few years ago. Feel better and I hope the pain meds make you feel more human.

    Take care

  10. lostAnnfound

    Hope you have a quick recovery!

  11. The first two days post-op are really the dog’s hind end. By Saturday or Sunday you should be feeling much improved. The surgeon probably told you that, too, so take heart, take your drugs, take your naps, and look forward to the weekend, Donna.

  12. Susan R

    Been there too, Donna–feel better soon! And remember–greasy fried foods are no longer your friend…

  13. Suzanne

    Well Snap~ who needs a gall bladder anyway? Sounds like you are well prepared for your healing , just take it nice and easy. No spicy foods either now from what I hear from friends who have had their gall bladder removed. Sending you vibes for a speedy and successful recovery from VA~

  14. Speedy recovery Donna and I can’t wait to read the painkiller fueled replies! Hang in there 🙂

  15. Rachael Olson

    You are going to hurt a lot over the next few days and have a very limited diet from now on. As my surgeon told me: if foods still make you sick after 6 months then you will never be able to eat them again. Add orange juice to the list of things you may have to avoid. Speedy recovery!

  16. Good luck and recover quickly!

  17. Ro in San Diego

    Wishing you a speedy recovery

  18. Kathy K

    Get well soon…..Love your daily doses of frugality/humor!!

  19. RonnieD

    Get well soon! 🙂

  20. Wishing you good luck today and a speedy recovery. The three little cuts weren’t that bad for me, remembering that it was still major surgery to have organs removed was another story. Recovering from the air they pump into those three little hole to facilitate the process is tough. I hope you brought pants with an elastic waistband because all that air hangs around for a while making one look more than slightly pregnant. I had to wear pants two sizes larger for about 10 days. Sending you good thoughts.

  21. Either way, I still think you have a lot of gall. 🙂

  22. Feel better soon.

  23. Donna – you are a prepping machine! Sounds like you were well prepared for pre and post surgery life. Take care and rest up!

  24. SherryH

    Hang in there, Donna! I hope your recovery is quick and smooth. Good job prepping so much in advance – make sure you get the rest you need over the weekend.

  25. Sarah L

    It’s good you got it done now befor eit caused major complications. My (stubborn) husband ignored the excruiating pain for weeks and weeks…when I finally got him to get to the hospital, he was in such bad shape, his pancrious was swollen, and it took over a week in the hospital for them to get the swelling down so that they could opperate. He used, and I kid you not, over $20,000 worth of morphine, and it still didn’t numb the pain. If he’s just gone sooner, would have been in and out, instead of almost 2 weeks in the hospital. Had to actually take a loan to pay it all off 🙁

    Glad you were smart and went in to get checked!! You’ll be back to normal in no time!!

    • Donna Freedman

      @Sarah L: Yikes! That sounds terrible. I’m sorry for your troubles. I’m even sorrier that your husband was so stubborn.
      The possibility of another attack while I’m traveling made me realize I should do this. I also was concerned that an attack would happen because a stone got stuck, which would require emergency surgery — i.e., the old-fashioned, cut-her-open type. Didn’t want that to happen either on the road or at home.
      This way is much easier: I didn’t have to stay in the hospital and the recuperation period is much shorter. I’m sore, but I’d feel much worse if they’d had to cut me wide and deep.

  26. I feel like such a turd for being out of the loop. I love you even though you are missing a part or two.

  27. Wishing you a speedy recovery! Get up and walk around a lot (relatively speaking), it will help with the healing.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Marie: Oh, I’ve been walking. At midday yesterday I walked about six city blocks. Not sure where I’m going to walk today, but it will be someplace other than my apartment.
      I don’t want to go too far because I’ve been unable to eat anything except a few bites of oatmeal and yogurt and a slice of toast (since Wednesday). It’s not as though missing a few meals is going to hurt me, of course. I just don’t want to get dizzy or suddenly weak and be unable to make it back.
      Thanks to everyone for the kind thoughts.

  28. Kristen

    Hope you’re feeling much better!

  29. Wishing you a safe and speedy recovery. Feel better.

  30. Best wishes for a speedy recovery – glad you got taken care of so quickly!

    • Donna Freedman

      @Revanche: Thanks. I can hardly believe that it was resolved as quickly as it was. In retrospect, a day and a half to churn and burn was preferable to having to wait another month for an appointment, hoping I didn’t have an attack in the meantime.
      I particularly like the outpatient part. Not only does it help keep costs down overall, I slept much better in my own bed than I would have in the hospital — and nobody woke me up at 6 a.m. to take my temperature.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  31. Wow! I can remember when this was pretty major surgery, something that would keep you in the hospital several days.

    It sounds like you’re already starting to stagger around. Hope you get better quickly. If you need someone to fill in with guest posts, you know who to call!

  32. jestjack

    My DM just had the same surgery after putting it off for a loooong time. She’s in her 70’s and they still did it as an outpatient!….Modern medicine…gotta love it….and the co-pays!! It took her about a week to recover. Get your rest and get well soon!

  33. Nessie


    Happy healing 🙂 Get some rest…we can all enjoy your amazing posts when you’re back feeling well.

  34. Michele

    I had mine out a year ago and even though the surgeon says I am cured, I still find that somethings are troublesome for my body. Stick to a very high fiber diet for at least 6 months to give your liver plenty of time to learn its new job. And keep moving – the walking helps keep blood flowing and everything else… working.

    Best wishes on a speedy recovery!

  35. valleycat1

    There has been an outpatient option for this type of surgery for about 20 years. The problem is that many people don’t realize they’re experiencing anything other than indigestion until it’s an emergency situation.

  36. valleycat1

    Is your comments time stamp on GMT? I posted the above comment at 9:05 PDT!


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