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Back from A&E after first severe gallstone attack. How do I prevent future agony?

(13 Posts)
MissingKittyCat Sun 24-May-15 00:35:27

I started a thread a couple of weeks ago about chest pains, breathlessness and feeling generally unwell. These chest pains progressed to right sided rib, side and flank pain, the whole right side of my body felt like it had flu for over a week. 3 GP appointments came to the conclusion that I had anxiety, an irritated stomach from a bad reaction to antibiotics, reflux, stress and an improbable chance of gallstones as I'm not overweight.

Having struggled through this week, virtually unable to care for my disabled DD who is also ill at the moment, today was 'peak day' and I collapsed in pain. NHS 111 sent me to A&E urgently. A few tests have shown it isn't my kidneys or liver so my gallbladder must be the culprit. My past two meals had been high fat, that must have been the tipping point. I thought an organ was going to burst, couldn't believe the pain, couldn't fully inflate my lungs or have anything touching my skin. Horrible.

My problem now is, because the emergency surgeons were busy, I couldn't get an urgent scan. I'm going to have to go through the normal referral and the timescales involved. If I collapse while I'm alone with DD, I don't know what will happen to her, I'm terrified. She can't do anything for herself, isn't safe unless supervised and assisted. She is tube fed, on a lot of meds and may well need to go to hospital when her current throat infection lands on her chest. How can I prevent another severe attack? I'm still in pain, the same ache and malaise I've had all week. What can I eat? I'm already at the low end of the BMI scale, a low fat diet will probably emaciate me. Feel so worried about the coming months of waiting for treatment sad DP has to go to Europe on business in a few days. It's half term. There's nobody that can help me. How am I going to do this?

hedgehogsdontbite Sun 24-May-15 00:42:37

I was advised by the A&E doctor to take paracetamol and ibuprofen at the maximum dose allowed, every day regardless of pain levels, until I had my gallbladder removed. She said you have to stop the pain starting, once it starts you can't stop it. I did what she said because I was having so many horrendous attacks. It seemed to do the trick and I had no more until it was removed 3 months later. Although it could just be luck.

AlpacaMyBags Sun 24-May-15 00:48:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CactusAnnie Sun 24-May-15 01:00:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

madwomanbackintheattic Sun 24-May-15 01:08:32

My friend was in hospital at the beginning of the week with similar and is now waiting for surgery referral. She has just been following the dietary advice for 5 days (utterly utterly bland and boring only, avoiding all possible triggers) and is feeling fine currently. They found three gallstones, including a mahoosive one, so it is theoretically possible to wait it out using dietary methods alone and manage fine... So far...

They gave her massive pain killers but she won't take them (alcoholic and avoids meds because of her addictive personality). Apparently she is having beer can chicken for dinner tonight. Goodness knows where that falls on the diet advice spectrum, but I guess I'll know if she's back in hospital tomorrow...

MissingKittyCat Sun 24-May-15 01:24:16

They've told me to avoid alcohol at all costs. I don't drink anyway so that is the easiest part. We eat chicken and broccoli often so that's one meal idea. I had half a salmon fillet, some boiled potatoes and sugarsnaps when I got home, I had to eat something to ease the painkillers stomach ache. I'm going to miss chocolate, mayonnaise and my nightly glass of full fat milk but anything to make this ache go away.

cactus I think he's going to try but it's all arranged and quite important. Not as important as the health and welfare of his family, granted, but it will be a huge setback for his current workload.

I'm just waiting for the codeine to kick in so I can sleep hopefully, have taken naproxen and paracetamol and still in pain. Have been up since 4am, I feel dreadful.

Is my recent diagnosis of hashimotos hypothyroid partly to blame for this? Or is it just crap luck?

MissingKittyCat Sun 24-May-15 01:32:22

They told me to avoid alcohol at all costs. I don't drink so that's the easy part. I will miss chocolate, mayonnaise, butter and my nightly glass of whole milk. Anything to stop this sore ache though, and prevent side contractions.

cactus he is going to try to get out of it or put it off but it's all arranged and quite important. Not as important as the health and welfare of his family, granted, but not going will set the project back and add to his current workload. He'll have to go soon regardless.

Just waiting for codeine to (maybe) work. Have taken naproxen and paracetamol and still have a constant burning stitch in my side. Will it stay this way now? I've been up since 4am, in pain, I feel utterly drained.

Is my recent diagnosis of Hashimotos Hypothyroid partly responsible for this, or is it just rubbish luck?

MissingKittyCat Wed 27-May-15 17:43:28

Collapsed in agony in the end. Paramedics took me to hospital. No gallstones on scan! No idea if one had passed, bile duct is mildly dilated. Drs thought maybe stomach ulcer? I'm losec for a month then further investigations. Still in pain but nowhere near its peak. DP hasn't gone to Europe. DD has stayed at home with support from him, family and friends who have really come through for us. So scared of pain returning but relieved to feel a little better.

sanfairyanne Wed 27-May-15 19:15:22

theres a definite link with hashis sad
thanks

Tapirbackrider Wed 27-May-15 21:28:46

Just want to say that gallstones aren't necessarily picked up on an ultrasound. The gallbladder can be full of what's called 'sludge' which is a mix of bile and gravel-like tiny gallstones. It's just as painful as having larger stones and it irritates the bile duct in the same way.

Keep on with the low fat diet, painkillers, and Losec. flowers

MissingKittyCat Wed 27-May-15 22:32:11

I've read that elsewhere Tapir but after 2 GP apts, 2 trips to A&E and an afternoon of tests, I don't see how else I can argue my case sad
One surgeon even tried telling me it's my endometriosis hmm

It still hurts. Right side especially, like a constant, exaggerated stitch. Fed up.

Tapirbackrider Wed 27-May-15 23:38:15

Hopefully the future tests will include an endoscopic exam - I had one done when my dr was insisting I had ulcers...and nope, not one to be seen.

I wish I had some wise words that would help, but apart from recommending that you keep your diet as low fat as possible, avoid foods that trigger attacks, and keep on at your dr etc, there's not much more to be added.

I will say though, get some good strong painkillers from your gp in case you have another attack.

Also - have a look at this en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphincter_of_Oddi_dysfunction

It's another possible cause of pain, especially if you're taking co-codamol for pain relief.

giraffesCantPluckTheirEyebrows Wed 27-May-15 23:43:35

I have no idea at all. But am up in pain with my chest and just wanted to reply. Will check back in morning. take care x

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