Post operative recovery for Gall Bladder removal

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Hi all

Saw this forum and thought how good it was that people are sharing experiences. The NHS is a very good system but having worked in it at one point know that sometimes the details get missed even if overall the service is good. In this case I would have liked to have had far more tutoring in the way the post op recovery goes.

Briefly my history is

Had operation. 2hrs later I was given a large meal of steak and kidney pie, potatoes and veg which set me off and had to have morphine to see me through the night.

Been taking the odd pain killer and Lactulose to keep me regular as opiates like Tramadol do bung you up. Waterworks OK which was a relief as my hernia op the year before they packed up for 24hrs due to the anaesthetic they used but being ignorant of this I was in a right old panic.

So 10 day went by and on the fast track to recovery... oh deary me no. I tried to do too much in physical exertion and full of confidece went out for a meal which  was a bit spicy on the friday 10 days after the op . 

About 1 hr later  I keeld over at home with great pain in the side, hardly able to breath and sat up all night watching TV as I simply could no lie down.

Went to the local Out of hours service on the Saturday and Sunday but in the end decided to hang on till I could see the consultant instead of the convoluted A&E pathway.

The PALS service in the hospital is so good if you need help do contact your local one. Anyway got to see the consultant on the followig Tuesday and had an x-ray and bloods taken showing no infection of respiratory problems. Still in pain it seemed all the good recovery was set back to worse than zero but during the following few days it has got very slowly better.

I have noticed severe bruising on my side which I think someone else said they didnt notice till 10 days after the op.

Any way I am taking it very easy, no walks just pottering and Hanna my wife does any lifting. It is now just over two weeks since the op and I guess I feel about 2-5% better per day.

I have 1 tramadol at night around 10pm to help me sleep but at least I can just about sleep lying down with 2-3 pillows under my head.

I take 15ml of lactulose once at 9am and one at 9pm to help things go through.

Foodwise I am now eating smaller portions maybe 5 times perday eg breakfast is about two tbl spoons of alpen plus skimmed milk (< 1% fat)

and mid day its clear home made soup and or 1 ham sandwich,with lettuce 

Evening is 1 ham sandwich and maybe 1/4 tin of manderins in fruit juice .

So as I am also diabetic it is low fat, low sugar,carbohydrate and only Ham or white meat so not a gastronomic experience but it hlps.

So far the regime is working but the recovery rate I calculate puts me up to average fitness in a minimum of 4-7weeks ie: driving, walking light lifting ad normal low fat diet  not the 10 days that is indicated by the NHS doc which says this is the time before return to work!!!!!!!

So much detail has been left out of the information provided by the NHS but I guess if I had read this site before the op I might not have had it. As it is my gall bladder didnt have stones it seems but had an abscess due to all the reinfections so removal of this was paramount to prevent worse things happening over time.

Dont get me wrong the NHS system is I think one of the best in the world and the staff at the hospital wonderful. I am in next week for a follow up ultr-sound to see if there are any retained micro stones or any other untoward problems, but hopefully the post op problems were down to my impatience to get better too soon so beware after the op TAKE IT EASY for a minimum of 4 weeks.

Anyone care to comment please let me know

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  • Posted

    Hi Kevin i must admit reading all your details post op really informative but the more i'm reading on this forum is slowly putting me off. When i had ultra sound i was told i had a lot of stones that had been there for some time and they will have to come out. I'm now on waiting list but can't get to get an answer on how long it will be. How long did you wait? I must admit i'm not as bad as some suffering here so i'm seriously thinking of leaving well alone as i don't like the idea of ending up worse off. Anyway hope you're feeling a lot better now.

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    • Posted

      Hi Jill I had my gallbladder removed in may and have had the most miserable three months of my life first of all went for day surgery ended up in for twelve days with bile drain in have since had constant gas and diaorrea wish I'd left alone

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    • Posted

      Yes I know its a bit daunting. What I can say is that last September I was rushed into hospital with a very high infection. This is known as the CPR

      or c-reactive protein test that indicates infection level. It is essential you monitor this if you have any trouble with the gall bladder. The count is normally between 0-10.  Mine was 460 last september so no wonder I felt lousey.

      Any way I eventually elected to have  the gall bladder removed having spoken to so may others that confirmed it was a life improving op. Last March I was in the ward ready to go for the op having suffered 3 bouts of infection probably due to over exertion/to rich a diet. However as you know we no longer have a NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE as was but it is a load of joined up private health trusts that are now going bust or creaking at the seams . Any way they pulled me off the op about 10 mins before as some data was missing being sent from one hospital trust to another. So I had to wait and the consultant who is outstanding ordered  several more tests and scans to absolutely cofirm himself waht the diagnosis was. I waited till August 9th to have the op and meanwhile had 3 more infections. I was able to stave these off as a good French doctor proscribed some very strong anti biotics that stabilised the infections and reduced pain after just 2-3 days but you cat go on like this.

      So after the op you ca pick up the story from the previous etry I made so wont repeat it here. Save to say its taken aboiut a year as thee is a huge waiting list. However I ca say that hoipefully I no longer will have any infections which if left untrested can result in much worse symtoms and a ruptured gall bladder can lead to peritonitis and eaven death. The answer is not to be too put off by the post op symptoms as leaving a gall bladder untreated can be a tricky option. You MUST get a detailed diagosis and if troubled get a second opinion with a combination of scans from Ultra sound , to MRCP X-ray , endoscopic probe all of which I had  and all of which on top of my symptoms eliminated other causes like stomache ulcer and lead to the conlusion my gall bladder needed to come out. In the event they also found there was an abscess behind the bladder on operating which if left untreated even if I was taking anti bioics could lead to very serious problems and it had caused the bladder wall to thicken which also is a source of infection which happens with gall stones as well.

       So in conclusion despite the recent set backs ( due to my stupidity in trying to do much eg cut grass with lawn mower etc and eat to spicy food like curry too soon 10 days after the op ) I am slowly getting better 16 days after the op ad hopefully given time say another 4 weeks or so should be much more active and able to go for walks tidy the garage and eat a square, wholesome but low fat meal so as not to over work the liver/bile duct as the reservoir for bile ie the gall bladder is now removed.

      If in doubt spend the time to research on line and get a second opinion  if you feel the consultants are  not providing enough information as the only problem I think with the NHS is that YOU need to pro-actively ask the questions to get the answers, they WILL NOT be given necessarily uill you do.

      Hope this helps

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    • Posted

      sorry about the typos I think the letter N on the keyboard needs looking at as it misses out a lot and for some reason I seem to also invert/transpose letters in  some words

      when two finger typing fast. 

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    • Posted

      Oh Linda i'm so very sorry to hear what you're going through. When i first spoke to my GP about the op he did warn me of the side effects that can come with it. When i saw the consultant he said if i was only having 2 attacks a year to leave things well alone. My main problem is painful reflux and a bloating feeling after eating cettain things. If i watch what i eat i'm fine. I must admit i'm in two minds about it. I think it maybe a very long wait. I do hope you feel better soon.

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    • Posted

      I think it will probably about a year but when i feel ok i don't really care. Reading Linda's post has really given me more doubts. She is really suffering. Then on the other hand i know a lot of people that say it's the best thing they've had done and never felt so well. I still don't know. Sounds like you're well on the road to recovery. Keep it up.

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    • Posted

      Hi Jill as you say everybody is different so please don't let my misery put you off .i also had to have a stent put it and I was back in hospital overnight last week to have this removed but on my discharge letter there was no mention of removal only saying they removed another stone so not sure if it's been removed or not going to go next week to find out but glad to say have been feeling a good bit better last couple of days but don't want to jinx it looks like I may be able to enjoy my holiday after all here's hoping x

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    • Posted

      Hi Linda pleased to hear you're feelimg a bit better. Don't worry i won't let your situation put me off it's just when i get a few good days i have second thoughts. The consultant did say if they are left they could cause pancreatus which is quite serious. I dare say i will have to wait for ages so will see. Let me know how you get on. Good luck for speedy recovery and good holiday.

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    • Posted

      Hopefully you won't have too long to wait Jill I only waited eight weeks for my surgery but I had been admitted to hospital twice before that .I will let you know how I get on thanks x

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  • Posted

    Hi Kevin,

    The more I read your post, the happier I am that I'm in the US. Your first meal has been more than I've eaten in 6 days. I have been sticking to broths, no dairy and protein and vegetables. I am due to return to work this Monday, 8/29. I have not taken any painkillers in three days, as they made me feel worse. I hope you feel better soon, maybe keep your diet a bit lighter and increase your fluids. Best of luck to you.....it is not the simple procedure so many make it out to be.

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    • Posted

      We love the USA as we travelled 18000 miles photographing 26 national parks mainly along the west coast, wonderful country and people. Never had to use the US health system when we were there but would be intersted to know how much detailed information you have been given before the op and what sort of post op monitoring you are having. Our friend in Kentucky has RA like myself and seems to get very well taken care of. In France you also pay for health care but the waiting lists are very short compared to the UK.

      Let us know what you think

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    • Posted

      Hi Kevin,

      So glad you have gotten a chance to visit the US. I have to say that I am being monitored very closely, actually going for my post-op appt today to hopefully be cleared for work on Monday. I work for the medical center that did my surgery, but I really don't think they gave me any preferential treatment. I made a lot of my decisions (going off Percocet, not eating any red meat or dairy) on my own, but they were good decisions for me. We don't have waiting lists per se, but everything works around the surgeon's schedule. I wish you continued good luck with your recovery. I have not had the pleasure of visiting the UK yet, but it is def on my list of things I want to do. It looks beautiful. I am located in NJ so we do have the shore and also more mountainous areas as well. Lots to do. I hope you take some of my suggestions. Really feeling so much better.

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    • Posted

      I forgot to mention prior to my surgery last Friday, I had a discussion with the doctor about exactly what he was going to do and was given detailed written information as well. The doctor spoke to my family immediately after the surgery was done and then called me when I was home to make sure I was doing well. The medical center I work for follows patients through the whole process to make sure the patient understands what is happening.
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    • Posted

      That seems a very good system you have in the States. Although our NHS is good it is currently creaking at the seems for want of money. Also too much admin not enough nursing and medical staff means I think they cut down on after care a bit so its up to individuals to play the system and get noticed if there is anything untowards. However the system is free as you know to residents and EU people but those days are numbered I am afraid to say as more and more costs are passed on these days. At present I am taking it easy before we go to France to our holiday home which we love but are not in their system as its about 2000 euros a year and you have to be resident. We love the UK but want to travel more but couldnt get insurance for the states untill I had sorted my gall bladder as this also nullified my cover for RA and Diabetes. Now Im clear its a releaf so we hope to house swap with someone in the states and take off to Alaska next year as well as visit Boston which we couldnt do last time as the snows arrived in October -  December.
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    • Posted

      Cleared for work on Monday- exactly one wk after my surgery. Wishing you the best of luck Kevin
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