(The following was originally posted by Mark on December 29 on our Journey site)

Today Sibylle is having her gall bladder removed. All signs have been pointing to this for several weeks now. While the various scans and test all show that her gall bladder is functioning, it seems to be at the root of her symptoms and all the doctors involved have said that it needs to be removed.

The surgery is scheduled for about 12:30 pm this afternoon, but check in was at 10:30 this morning. She is back in the preparation area now getting an IV setup, the blood pressure cuff and pulse monitors installed and being made ready. I will be allowed to join her once all of that is set, and stay with her until the surgery starts.

We both have good feelings about the GI doctor who scheduled the MRCP and about the surgeon who will perform the procedure today. We are both understandably nervous about today and its outcome. If this addresses the persistent nausea that has plagued her for the past three months it will be well worth it.


Sibylle’s surgery was started about 15 minutes ago. If all goes well I should see the doctor for his post-operation report in about 90 minutes. Once Sibylle is moved from the recovery area to the preparation room I will be allowed to rejoin her. I spent about an hour and a half with her once she was prepped, until the surgical nurse came to get her. Sibylle had an IV started and had been given some Valium. The sedative effect of the Valium allowed her to doze most of the time we spent waiting. Shortly before she was taken to the operating room her doctor stopped by and explained what was going to happen.

After her surgery is completed she’ll spend some time in a recovery area, and once she is awake they’ll return her to the prep room.

It is very strange to be seated in the waiting area writing this knowing that she is being operated upon just down the hall. Fortunately I have the room to myself and therefore have turned the television off. I was tempted to hide the remote but decided that was passive-aggressive.

Post Surgery Update

I just spoke with the surgeon. The surgery went very well. Start to finish about 50 minutes. He said that he wasn’t able to inject dye into the duct between the gallbladder and the common bile duct as it was too small. So no imaging of bile flow during the surgery. There will be a follow up visit in two weeks with the surgeon to assess how things are going. Hopefully this alleviates her symptoms. He said that sludge or sand in the gall bladder (which she had) often causes more problems than a gall stone. The stone can’t pass the feeder duct into the common bile duct, whereas the sludge/sand can.

Three to five days of immediate recovery and then a week or so to return to full activities.


The Morning After

Sibylle was discharged from the hospital at 6:00 pm Thursday evening. Seven and a half hours after we checked her in to out-patient surgery. She spent about an hour in recovery from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm, and then dozed and rested in her room until 6:00. She was able to eat some red jello (the staple of hospital food), drink some water, and munch on a few ice chips.

After we were home she took a pain pill prophylactically and slept for an hour or so. The hospital warned us that her right shoulder could be quite sore as a result of the surgery and that walking around and movement would help alleviate that pain. So after her nap we took a meandering walk through the house going from room to room. She had a smoothie for dinner and then spent some time sitting in her desk chair writing and reading email. Around 10:30 pm she had a double dose of pain medication and we went back to sleep. (Added by Sibylle: the Norco is actually left-over from the prescription the ER gave me on November 8. Since pain had never been much of an issue, I had taken only one pill, once, not even for gallbladder pain but after the pelvic ultrasound to follow up on uterus issues they found while I was in the ER. The prescription says to take “one to two” pills every 4 – 6 hours. Last night, right before bed, I did take two pills, so I guess technically it wasn’t even a double dose.)

With two cats in the house, one of which loves to climb on and lay on people, she put a pillow over her stomach. With the blankets on top of the pillow to hold it in place she was nicely padded in case Taz jumped on her unexpectedly. We set an alarm for 3:30 am, which was about an hour prior to the pain med’s 6 hour span, and she took one more pill.

This morning she awoke with no appreciable pain or discomfort. One or two of the four incisions made yesterday is a bit tender to touch, but she is not in any pain. She was able to dress herself and make her morning tea.

By any measure this whole adventure seems to be going wonderfully well. We know that days two and three are often the hardest in terms of discomfort or pain, but so far her experience has been a very good one.