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What Should You Expect
What Should You Expect From An Open Cholecystectomy? (Gallbladder Removal)

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What Should You Expect From An Open Cholecystectomy? (Gallbladder Removal)

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You only have to have your gallbladder removed once!


from New Jersey, NJ

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Comments about What Should You Expect From An Open Cholecystectomy? (Gallbladder Removal):

I've recently gone through an open cholecystectomy which is also known as an open gallbladder removal surgery.  My surgeon attempted the less-invasive laparoscopic surgery but deemed it too unsafe too proceed and went for the surgery with the larger incision. 

I woke up in an incredible amount of pain and with a catheter in my bladder.  The pain should have been better managed by the recovery room nurses, but it was soon alleviated and the "urge" to go disappeared.  Being sliced almost in half is very hard on the body and I couldn't even think about moving until the following late afternoon.  I wanted the catheter out and the opportunity to move around because the nurses had me all paranoid about collapsed lungs.

Getting up out of bed that first time was one of the most difficult and painful things I had ever done.  It really felt like my abdomen was going to tear apart as I struggled to get up and out of the bed.  It was a bit of a triumph to be mobile again and the more I moved around (laps around the nurses station with my husband or a nurse), the easier it was for me to get out of bed by myself and get to the bathroom.  All I can say is force yourself to move around as it will definitely speed up your recovery.

As far as diet is concerned, I was on a "clear tray" for the whole stay which included broth, ginger ale, various flavors of Italian Ice, and Jello.  I don't eat Jello or grape/orange/lime flavors of Italian Ice, so it was chicken or beef broth, ginger ale, and the occasional rasperry ice for me. The doctors didn't clear me for real food until I was discharged from the hospital, but the transition went very smoothly and I was quickly eating Special K cereal, turkey sandwiches, yogurt, and even broiled tilapia.  They say that some people who have their gallbladders remove deal with up to 6 months of diarrhea or even more.  I started taking digestive enzymes and acidophilus capsules as soon as I started eating solid food again and my digestion was better than it had been in years.

Once I got home, I couldn't do much more than sleep, eat, nap, and try to clean myself.  There was no vacuuming, sweeping, doing the dishes, cleaning the litter box, changing the papers in the bird cages, throwing out the garbage, etc.  My husband had to pick up a lot of slack that he normally wasn't involved with.  He also had to do the laundry and the grocery shopping as well as his usual lawn chores.  It was quite an adjustment for the household, but over the days and weeks I was able to do things like the dishes, sweeping, and even throwing out the garbage bags.  Things quickly got better over time.

It was tough not being able to sit in the sun (antibiotics) or soak in the pool (ugly raw incision), but I had to do what was necessary to get over the open gallbladder removal surgery.  I've been described as a "great patient" and was happy to hear it because I was so eager to recover from the operation.  After 3 weeks I was cleared to drive and was finished with the antibiotics so I could sit in the sun again. 

Recovery from this surgery isn't fast or easy, but after you get through the first couple of difficult days, you'll be amazed at how quickly you regain your mobility. 

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