Abdomen burning/ swelling & nausea after laparoscopic cholecyctectomy/ perforated ulcer?
I recently was released from a long stay at the hospital. It started with an ER visit when I had severe epigastric pain. I knew immediately it was from gallstones as I'd had 6 or so "attacks" within the past two years. This was the first time going to the hospital for this pain; I'd thought previous episodes were just dehydration, or indigestion & I would stay in bed, trying to breathe and keep down fluids, & they would last up to two weeks.
The first few days are slighty foggy, I was so doped up on pain meds. Within the first day or so I had a ct scan of my abdomen showing pancreatitis. I had to wait a few days for it to subside before going through with an ERCP. During the procedure I had two large stones abstracted from my bile duct. The doctor also found an "impressive" ulcer on my doudenum & placed 2 clips. The pain I felt after that was the worst I had ever felt in my life (even after 7 previous episodes & 13 hours of drug-free labor with my daughter).
The next day, I had the surgery to remove my gallbladder. Afterward, the surgeon said that part of my duodenum had adhered to my gallbladder, & during the laparoscopic part of my surgery, the duodenum gradually lifted off my gallbladder & my ulcer perforated. The rest of the surgery was open, so he could patch the ulcer. I woke up with a central iv line and a nasogastric tube (ew).
Recovery took forever. I had problems with the central line & it caused my shoulder to swell. It took days to start eating clear liquids, then finally full liquids, then low fat foods. I had fevers on and off & went back to liquids, back to low fat diet. After 20 days of being in the hospital, 12 days after surgery, I got to go home.
Here comes the fun part. The car ride home was completely disorienting. I got so dizzy/sweaty just taking the short walk inside the store to pick up my prescriptions. The dizziness continued for days, and I just assumed it was part of recovering or a side effect from my medication (flagyl, cipro prilosec, and pain pills). Then I noticed it was harder and harder to breathe, my breaths were shallow, and this made me even more dizzy. On top of this I started having headaches (probably from lack of oxygen?). I started feeling better within the week, still dizzy, still had shortness of air, but at least I could buy groceries without feeling like I'm about to pass out and have to sit down every 30 seconds.
A day or so after feeling better (about a week and a half, almost two weeks after I got home), I started feeling the extreme dizziness and shortness of breath. I had felt something under my skin every time I took in a deep breath or took a drink of water under my collar bone near the shoulder where the central iv was placed. Later that afternoon I had moved my arm and felt the strange feeling move from under my collar bone near my shoulder, to under my collar bone near my neck. It felt very wierd but I didn't dwell on it too much. In the evening, I was sitting down after doing some laundry and I felt this sharp chest pain, a wave of dizziness came over me and I felt this kind of a blood rush sort of feeling. I went to the ER where they did chest x rays and a ct of my chest and abdomen to check for a pulmonary embolism. While I was waiting to be seen, I felt something in my neck similar to the wierd feeling under my collar bone earlier that day, and the same rush as when I felt the chest pain. The doctor said the results came back fine, passed it off as a flare up of GERD, and sent me on my merry way.
The next day, the pain in my neck had worsened, and I could feel it move up my neck/head on the right side. So, I went back to the ER, freaked out that maybe something really was going on and they had missed it because they had completely disreguarded my neck/head the night before. Everything came back fine again, and this time, said it was post-operative pain, even though my stomach/ abdomen had fet completely fine, and my inciscions were healing nicely.
The very day after, I had gotten out of my car, and felt sharp pains in my abdomen up in the center near my sternum and to the right, where the gallbladder had been. Since then, I've felt slighty sharp pains off and on, and the chest pains have come back. The dizziness, headache, and shortness of breath/ shallow breathing have continued. And the past three days now, I've felt a burning sensation in my abdomen, starting in the upper part, and has spread downward to my pelvis and sides. It's so bad I can feel it through the vicodin. I've been extremely nauseous, basically eating nothing except a few sips of soup here and there, and even water makes me feel like I need to throw up. I have really bad dry mouth (that started BEFORE I started taking vicodin, I know it's a side effect of the drug), even though I drink lots of water. And my stomach feels bloated and distended. I look huge!
So, I made a post-ER follow up visit with my surgeon to see if this is normal during recovery, and to see what's going on. He took a look at the x rays and ct's from the two ER visits, and said everything looked fine. Even though the abdominal pain and burning started AFTER the tests were taken. He said to try and keep down liquids, which I'm having a super hard time doing, and to just give it time.
I still feel horrible and the pain & burning are getting worse, as is the bloating. It's been almost 4 weeks since surgery. Is it still too early to feel any better, even though I felt fine last week? Has anyone else had similar problems or am I just being paranoid? I'd considered going in a 3rd time to look at things and see if everything is fine, but I figure they would think I'm just sensitive and like to complain. I'm only 22, so I really hope this isn't a recurring theme for the rest of my life. I'm quite scared.
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