Green Bean’s Great Adventure: Surgery Time

Bonjour, mon amies!

As I mentioned in my last post, due to some unfortunate things happening inside my body, it was discovered that I needed surgery to have my uncooperative gallbladder delicately ripped out of my insides.

In part due to language barriers, in part due to failure to previously disclose the nature of medical procedures I was receiving in Japan, and in part due to simply wanting my mommy, I decided to reject the advice of the Japanese surgeon, much to his shock, and high-tail it back home to the US to have my surgery done there.

The Japanese hospital wanted to keep me for SIX DAYS in that cesspool of disease. One day before, five after. No, thank you. First of all, I would be much more comfortable in my own home, and second, again–breeding ground for something worse. I went home with a cold the first time I was hospitalized for my gallbladder.

So, after my Tokyo trip, I made a third trip back to Tokyo within the span of a single week, caught a plane, and went back to the great American homeland, beating my visiting American friends back home.

I had a pre-op visit the first Monday when I went back, and then had to get an ultrasound and bloodwork done the next day to confirm the diagnosis, which of course I already knew, but the American surgeon didn’t. He was very nice about it though. The nurse who did my ultrasound, in her words, “Oh yeah, you have gallstones alright, but you didn’t hear it from me.”

My actual surgery wasn’t for another week after my first visit, and the surgeon was kind enough to squeeze me in ASAP because of my situation.

Given that I hadn’t had surgery for about fifteen years prior, naturally I was pretty nervous about going under anesthesia. But on the day of, the anesthesiologist was very kind and very reassuring. It took the nurses three tries and a fancy doctor toy to find a good vein for my IV. Then I said temporary goodbye to my parents and was wheeled into the OR.

The last thing I remember was being moved from my bed onto what I guess was the operating table. Then nothing. Don’t even remember them putting the mask on my face and asking me to count backwards.

Next thing I knew, I was groggily waking up and a nurse was trying to get me to swallow some huge pill even though I kept trying to tell her that I didn’t think I could.

I did.

Another hour of grogginess passed by, and I was semi-consciously wheeled back into one of the little rooms where I started off.


There was an older dude next to me on the other side of the curtain who just would not wake up.

“MR. (I forgot his name, let’s call him Jones) JONES, WAKE UP.”


“MR JONES. Your procedure is done. Time to wake up.”


I overheard the nurses saying that his procedure was only five minutes.

Then my mom and dad came back. Or maybe they came back before that. I was really out of it. I also had to pee really bad, so a nurse and my mom helped me out. Holy crap did it hurt to get up.

I think about an hour or so later they set me free. The drive back home was very painful. Then I got home and slept thanks to my happy meds (a.k.a. percocet). I slept a lot.

The first two days were probably the worst; I was taking my pain meds pretty much every four hours on the dot. Moving in any direction or any which way hurt like crazy. The worst was standing up. I couldn’t even sleep horizontally or do anything horizontally, so I sat in a recliner chair on our couch and built a pillow fort around myself to keep Miz Potato from jumping on me, or the cats from stepping on me. And by the cats, I really mean just Dave. Because he is a turd. It mostly worked, except little Tater Tot thought she was oh so sneaky when I’d get up to go to the bathroom, only to come back and find her parked in my spot.

I also had to use a large umbrella like a makeshift cane the first several days to help me get leverage to get up by myself and then walk around since I walked at the pace of a sad shuffling turtle for at least the first three or four days.

Oh, I almost forgot the great cockroach fiasco of 2017! On night 2, not one, not two, but THREE cockroaches crept through the gaps in the fireplace and made their way into the living room, after another cockroach had already crawled on my poor mom’s face in the wee hours of the morning. Two were killed. One went free. So with my mom’s help, I made my way upstairs and propped myself upright on my pillows to go to sleep.

I didn’t go outside until about six days after, when I went on a walk around the block, but apparently that was a bad idea since I hurt much worse the next day. Of my four surgical incisions, the one on my navel (where they actually pull out the gallbladder) hurt the worst, and that incision stayed unhappy for several days after that walk.

The rest of the time was very uneventful. I watched a LOT of HGTV. I know I’m getting older when HGTV is now my preferred television channel of choice. Or maybe it just has something to do with the fact that I apparently really like interior decoration, given that I’ve literally spent months fixing up my teeny tiny fixer-upper apartment into a pleasant, habitable space.

I had my follow-up visit two weeks after surgery and was cleared to travel, even though I was deathly afraid of getting on the plane thanks to my mom instilling the fear of blood clots into my brain. Then I hurt like crazy on the actual plane ride; legs hurt, arms hurt, back hurt, hand hurt, chest hurt…way too much hurt.

I had the weekend to recuperate from the flight, then went back to school to find out that my team teaching for my new ichinensei won’t even start until May 25. And to find out that my Board of Education is royally peeved at me. My doctor’s note was not up to their standards and I got yelled at for not giving them two notes instead of one. Then I got yelled at for being gone too long and “not reading my contract” (JERKFACES I DID READ IT AND I SAW THAT I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE GONE FOR 20 CONSECUTIVE DAYS AND YOU’RE THE ONES WHO TOLD ME NO IT WAS REALLY 20 SCHOOL DAYS), got yelled at more for not following directions, and got threatened with receiving a bad teacher evaluation. Because. I. got. Sick. BECAUSE I GOT FREAKING SICK!!!! I WOULD REALLY REALLY LIKE TO USE A MORE COLORFUL WORD HERE BUT FOR THE SAKE OF FUTURE EMPLOYERS EVER FINDING THIS BLOG I WILL NOT!!! Also what the hell?? I wouldn’t be at school on weekends anyway, so why in bloody hell should weekends count?!

Japanese logic:  “She’s been out sick for more than 20 days, therefore she’s a bad teacher.” “Illness is for the weak, fools!”

So. Stupid. My brain cannot handle the level of stupidity. Yeah, surgery took longer in the US, but first of all, y’all said it was okay, and second, put yourselves in my shoes, jerks, and you probably wouldn’t want a foreigner cutting into you without knowing what was going on, either.

The BOE disaster still hasn’t been sorted out, but I’m praying that it does. And if not, screw it.

Living abroad has been much more taxing on my mental health (and physical health, too) than I had originally anticipated.

That is the end of my surgical adventure. Perhaps I’ll make a shorter post with mostly just Disney trip photos/Tokyo trip photos in the days to come. But until next time,

-Erin 「エリン」


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