Last week, I had undergone an operation called Lap Chole (Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy). In December 2015, it was confirmed that I have multiple cholelithiasis (gallstones) through ultrasound of whole abdomen following an extreme abdominal pain I had 1 day before.
The schedule of my Lap Chole was supposed to be on January 29, 2016, 7am. But because I had gallstones attack on January 19 which inhibited me to go to work and mild icteric sclera had been noted, my operation was moved earlier, January 25th. I had the operation in Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center, the hospital where I am currently working and was admitted in the area where I am assigned. Upon admission on January 24, Sunday, I underwent several laboratory tests (CBC, etc.), Chest Xray and ECG to check if I am ready for the operation. My surgeon, Dr. Nelson Lim also referred me to a cardiologist for Cardio-Pulmonary clearance.
On midnight, I was told not to eat and drink which is necessary to prevent aspiration of food in the lungs. Operation schedule was at 10am. An intravenous fluid (IV) was inserted on my left hand at 8am. At past 9am, OR personnel came in to bring me to OR. My co-nurses and resident doctors helped in providing moral support giving me good luck smiles, and encouraging words “Kaya mo yan Berna.” (You can do it Berna). I gave them a smile when deep inside, I was nervous. My mother and younger brother were in my room, mother was with me on the way to OR.
I was then brought to Operating Room 1 and was transferred to the OR table. Everyone was so kind, the OR orderly, the OR nurses, surgery resident and my surgeon, Dr. Nelson Lim. When we were waiting for the anesthesiologist to arrive, I was calm and observing the OR set up, monitors on my right side, and the preparation of instruments to be used. Dr. Nelson is the kindest, he came up to me and whispered, “Bernadette, don’t be nervous. Just close your eyes okay.” I nodded and smiled to Dr. When the anesthesiologist arrived, they prepared the induction of anesthesia. I was asked to do deep breathing while making me inhale for something. Then I fell asleep. A breathing tube (Endotracheal tube) was inserted in my mouth to help in breathing and also for the anesthesia. When I woke up, I was already in PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit). The first thing I asked Anna, the PACU nurse (whom I personally know because she had her training and volunteer days in the area where I am assigned), if Lap Chole was done and not Open Chole, and she said yes, only Lap Chole. I thank God right away. I asked her for the time. It was already past 3pm. I felt the pain in the post operative site but it was bearable. Then I vomited twice which was still the effect of anesthesia. The breathing tube was removed by the anesthesiologist even before I woke up. That’s why I didn’t even feel that I was intubated after all.
I was then transferred back to my room. During the night, my diet was resumed. I had soft diet that night, but I vomited thrice, probably still because of the effect of anesthesia. The following morning, I was feeling fine and the post operative pain became minimal. Third day post operative, I was able to go home. In Lap Chole, there is no wide incision to remove the gall bladder. Only 3 small holes in the abdomen and 1 in the navel.
Lap Chole is an elective operation, meaning it is not urgent and can be scheduled anytime the patient warrants. I immediately decided to go for an operation because I was symptomatic. Before, I had abdominal pain every week, sometimes bearable and sometimes not. I had 4 gallstones attack all in all, and in those times, I was in so much pain. I can’t go to work, I can’t do anything. I was just lying in my bed waiting for the pain to subside. Those were the times that I realized that there is no quality of life if a person is experiencing physical pain. A week after the operation, I was fine and just waiting for the wound (just a small one) to heal. The doctor advised for 1 month sick leave from work.
It’s not easy to share this experience to other people. But I am doing so because I thought there might be other people who want to know first hand experience of Lap Chole, because they, too, had been advised to undergo such operation.
If you also have gallstones, just pray and always remember that, “This, too shall pass”, you will be okay, you just have to trust God, your surgeon, the whole surgical team, and most of all, yourself, that you are making the right decision to undergo an operation; that this is for your own good. You too can do it! 🙂