A doctor’s tryst with an infected gallbladder

One Monday morning I woke up feeling out of sorts. As Mondays are busy days, I decided to pull myself together and get to work. I conducted a full OPD and went for my coffee break with friends. There I became conscious of a nagging pain in the upper abdomen and nausea. I skipped the coffee, came home and skipped lunch too. I drank about two spoonful of buttermilk, which I promptly threw up. The pain became worse until I could not even tolerate the pressure of my clothing. My doctor husband gave me some tablets and advised me to go to bed saying that the pain would disappear soon. At 4pm I told him to request a gastroenterologist colleague to come home and see me as the pain had become excruciating and was accompanied by 3-4 vomits. The likelihood of a perforated ulcer, pancreatitis or perhaps even a myocardial infarct raced through my mind. The gastroenterologist Dr Sunil Shah came home promptly, ordered a sonography and called in a laparoscopic surgeon – Dr Deepraj Bhandarkar. They admitted me to the hospital with a diagnosis of acute cholecystitis – an infection in my gallbladder. I was treated with antibiotics. Results of my tests showed that in addition to the infection in the gallbladder I had passed a stone in the bile duct. An ERCP (endoscopy) was done the next day and the stone from the bile duct was removed.

The day following the ERCP was the day of my surgery for removal of the gallbladder. The preparations were brief but meticulous. Dr Bhandarkar performed the laparoscopic cholecystectomy in about 30 – 40 minutes and removed the swollen gallbladder with lots of stones and some mud (sludge). I had had a prior abdominal operation for another condition many years ago. The postoperative pain and discomfort I experienced after the laparoscopic surgery were minimal as compared to the previous open operation. I was standing up within a few hours of my surgery and was able to pace the corridor outside my room the next morning. I was sent home on the third day and was allowed full activity. Some abdominal discomfort and bloating were present for about 3-4 days after coming home. After removal of the stitches around a week later there was nothing to remind me of my ordeal. I was delighted. Practically no scars, back home after only 5 days in the hospital (considering that I had a stone in my bile duct as well as an infected gallbladder) and resumption of work a week later! God forbid that anyone should have cholecystitis. But, if one does, then a laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the definitely the solution.

Dr. Sudha K. Shah