Here's the last picture taken of me with all my internal organs:

Justin took me to the surgery center yesterday afternoon. I was super terrified. We were early and so sat around with my dad, siblings and aunt for about an hour before they called me back. You know, just so that I could build up the nerves a bit more. My terror was fully reflected in my blood pressure reading of 163/116, (the previous week in the office it was something like 112/60)  which prompted them to take an EKG. Everything looked fine, and so we moved on. It is possible, that my blood pressure was so high because they took it shortly after starting this, the most painful IV EVER:

That picture was actually taken -after- surgery, so I'm getting ahead of myself. Anyway, after my blood pressure came down to that of a semi-normal person they let me hang out with a saline drip for awhile so that I 'd be hydrated before surgery. (I hadn't had anything to drink in about 10 hours at this point.) Then they kicked my aunt (who was such a huge support throughout this, I cannot even begin to imagine where I'd be if she hadn't been in there.) out of the room, gave me a dose of Versed (otherwise known as "I don't care serum" and wheeled me into surgery. The last thing I clearly remember is moving from my gurney onto the surgery table, and worrying about how much of my butt the OR tech guy just saw. Then I was out.
This is what everyone else in the room was seeing:

Yes, those are my insides, looking like burnt meat...which is, I guess, what they are. The gallbladder is all white like that because Dr. Howe cut off it's blood supply. Isn't my liver lovely and pink? Please ignore the large mass of yellow fat.

What seemed like about 3 minutes (but was really nearly 2 hours) later, I was waking up back in my recovery room. I don't really remember any pain at that point, except that my bladder felt like it was absolutely going to burst. The conversation went something like this:

Me: I need to pee. (probably more like AHneepee)
Dr. Coleman :You can't stand up yet.
Me: I REALLY need to pee. (REALNEPE)
Dr.Coleman: In a minute!
Me: My back hurts. (beeeheh)
Dr. Try scooting up on the bed.
(Apparently anesthesiologists are fluent in the language of post anesthesia garble.) My mouth was filled with lidocaine jelly from the tube that was down my throat during surgery, which didn't help any in the enunciation department.

They made me scoot up on the bed (very difficult) and I suppose at that point, determined that I could use my legs. Dr. Coleman and someone...a nurse? OR tech? I have no idea, helped me to the bathroom, which is when I realized that I was in a lot of pain. I also realized that I looked like hell:

And that my mouth felt like someone had stuffed it with a stick of deodorant. Which is why in that picture I'm drinking what could possibly be the worst Diet Sprite in the world. A few minutes later my family came back in to see me. I'm a little foggy about everything that happened right around then, but I was glad to see them, and happy that it was over with and extremely happy that I still had morphine running around inside me. Justin helped me get dressed, which is when I saw my incisions for the first time. They look like this:

There's also one just at the bottom of my belly button, but I couldn't see that one until later because of the swelling. There's a little hernia behind it, so they had to go in at a different place than usual, but whatever. Now, the tiny hole on the left up there is bleeding and gross, but no one seems to think it's anything serious.

I also finally got to look at the rocks that I've been growing inside me:

I'm kind of proud that they're so uniform in size and shape. If you're going to have gallstones, they might as well be attractive ones, right? So, that was that. Last night I had a weird reaction to my Vicodin, which not only made quite the chatty Cathy, it made me itch all over. Causing me to scratch open one of my glued together incisions. I've switched to a different pain pill, so hopefully that won't happen again tonight. So far the Darvocet has just made me sleepy. I was in and out of the car frequently today, and I'm having kind of a lot of pain. I also have some mysterious bruises on the back of my left arm the shape of fingerprints, which I can only assume are from them moving me back to my gurney from the OR table. I have no memory of that little switch, which is probably for the best. The number of people who potentially saw my butt right then must have grown dramatically. I'm not sure why I wasn't allowed to wear my panties, nothing was going on below the waist, but whatever. And that's the end of that. I feel lucky that I'm not having any of the pain that's normally associated with being blown up like a balloon for surgery. There doesn't seem to be any leftover gas floating around inside me, and all the pain is right around the incisions and deep inside me, where my barbecued guts are. Apparently it could be much worse. I'll be going back to work on Sunday.

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