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Sat. March 10- Fri. March 16- St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver

Saturday-  We sat in the hospital all day. There is no resting in the hospital! My schedule was awful. During the day it was not too bad, but at night, we just did not get any sleep. Bed at 10:30, hang antibiotics at midnight, change to IV fluids at 1 AM, vital signs at 3 AM, lab work at 4 AM, antibiotics at 6 AM, and change to IV fluids at 7 AM!

Since we had rushed so much getting there, Bob ran back to Breck to pick up more clothes and drop off laundry.

The IR doc came to visit and basically said that since he was on the weekend, and he did nor feel comfortable doing the procedure, we were waiting until Monday. Okay by me, as I want someone who knows what they are doing!

I was able to eat a real dinner, as they progressed me from nothing by mouth to full liquids and real food. The hospital has a menu, and you can order what every you want that is on your diet. The food was pretty good!

Sunday- I had a normal breakfast. About an hour later, the stone moved. While I was pacing in the room, waiting for morphine, the doc arrived. She saw the pain and said, I guess that I am not sending you home today!  Duh! I was going to refuse to leave anyway! So I was back to nothing by mouth.

Monday- They kept me NPO ( nothing by mouth) all day. Dr. Muldoon, from IR came and explained the procedure to me. I am fortunate to have a nice size left lobe in my liver. Genetics determine the size. So they are able to go through the left lobe into the common bile duct. Otherwise, they would have had to go through the right lobe, which is more dangerous or they would have to open me up and do major surgery. In either case, the common bile duct is between the Hepatic Artery and Hepatic Vein, so this is very tricky.

The plan was to stick in a wire, with a  balloon on the end, through the left lobe, into the common bile duct. They did this under a sonogram, so they could see what they were doing. They use a balloon to push the stone through the sphincter at the base of the liver, into the small intestine. He insisted on doing it under conscious sedation ( like when you have a colonoscopy). I wanted either an epidural or general anesthesia. He should have listened to me! The next step was to leave the tube through, into the small intestine, as the sphincter would be swollen and the bile needs to drain.

I woke up during the procedure, screaming in pain, and thrashing about. I remember yelling at them to stop as it hurt too much. The nurse gave me Fentanyl, and I stopped breathing! She quickly did what is called a “clavicle pinch”, which is where they grab a hunk of skin and pinch. When I woke up, I was sore on my shoulder and could not figure out why, until my nurse Jake, told me what had happened. ( I have two large bruises there). I don’t remember the pinches.

Poor Bob, this was supposed to take 1-1.5 hours, and at 4 hours, when I was in the PACU, and woke up, I asked if anyone had called my husband. He rushed to the PACU to check on me! This was after 6 PM, and I had gone down before 2 PM!

So at this point, I had a drainage tube attached to a bag. My liver was ticked off at having all this done to it and it was putting out a lot of bile. Usually, you drain about a liter into your intestines each day. Mine was draining over 2 liters!

Tuesday- I was unable at this point to get off the oxygen so I still had a nasal cannula running. It we attempted to take off the oxygen, my heart rate would drop, then my oxygen level would drop. This is backwards, which was odd. By mid-afternoon, this ended, and I was able to wean of the O2. It had to have been the medications from yesterday’s procedure.

Bob went to a Laundromat to wash our clothes. He also had to pick up some books for us. I felt okay, uncomfortable, and not in pain. While Bob was gone, the Music Therapist arrived. St. Anthony’s has a Music Therapy and Massage program. Awesome!

This very nice young gal comes around with her guitar and sings to you. We talked for a long time and she told me about the massage therapist. I requested to be put on her list! Both ladies are hospital employees and the program is free to patients.

Wednesday- I was NPO again for the second procedure at 2 PM. The massage therapist dropped by and I asked her to work on my hips, both of which were more painful than my belly was. It was pretty painful, but I have not had any hip pain since.

This time they put me under general anesthesia for the procedure. A different Doc, Dr. O’Brian. Evidently, Dr. O’Brian likes to do kidney’s and livers. So I had the expert. According to Dr. M, when they have a difficult case, two of the Doc’s will stand in front of the X-rays and say to each other, I don’t think this can be done. Dr. O will just jump on the issue. The other Doc’s just laugh and walk away!

The stone was so large, that he could not push it through the liver, so he ended up breaking it up. He also left the tube on the far side of the sphincter, in the small intestine.  So I still had the bag and my liver was still producing copious amounts of bile.

This time when I was in the PACU, I woke up much quicker, and had them call Bob right away. Since I was doing okay, bob did not rush down, I just returned to our room.  No need for O2 this time.

Thursday-  Another day of clear liquids, although they let me progress to full liquids. They discontinued my antibiotics. No pain. My IV infiltrated, so the nurse started another.It clotted, and now I was out of spots. So the day nurse called the Trauma team. One of the Trauma nurses showed up with a handheld sonogram machine and put  in the IV, deeply in my left upper arm. The night nurse was sympathetic to us and told the care assistant to skip my 3 AM vital signs, so we were able to sleep until 4 AM, when my labs where drawn.

Friday- Today was the third procedure. This time, also under general anesthetic, they put in the wire again, pulled out the tube, and put in a tube to go home with, prior to the sphincter. . When I woke up, the tube was clamped and I had no bag. No oxygen. No IV, but IV access still in place. I looked like a pin cushion, with bruising up and down both arms. This was a short procedure.

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