Surgery Gone Bad

What an interesting week. Shortly after I posted on Monday regarding my recovery, things started to go downhill. By 10pm I was experiencing severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, chest pain, a fever and uncontrollable shaking. At that point I knew that something was terribly wrong and called my good Dr friend Hilary to take me to the ER. She’s a pediatrician with our local hospital and I was hoping that I would get expedited service with her, and that way Craig could stay home with Ella.

For the record, I am not a fan of the ER and would only go there as a last resort as I would much rather try to recover in my comfortable home rather than a waiting room for 3 hours.

As luck would have it, they weren’t that busy and I was seen pretty quickly. They did the usual monitoring and ran some blood work while they sedated me with some pretty cool drugs. I maintained my sense of humor (explaining to everyone that I look much better with make-up), and even noticed an engagement ring on the ER Dr and asked her about her plans… did she have a photographer, etc. (I never stop thinking about weddings).

Hilary took these pictures with her phone to document the event. I think that she actually took them because this is the one instance where she looks better than me. I know I look like death, and trust me, that is exactly how I felt.

When the ER Dr returned with the results of my blood work, the news was not good. Apparently, there was a component that was significantly higher than normal. This component, the Dr indicated, “could be an indicator of several things.” The most serious was a blood clot in the lungs, which they quickly ruled out with a CAT scan. That was a scary half hour as a clot in the lungs is not a good thing. She also indicated that the level could be due to a leak in my liver or some gall stones that were blocking something or other. Either way, they would not be able to determine the cause until they were able to run more tests in the morning. So at 3:00am they decided to admit me. At this point tears are streaming down my face and I ask the Dr to please tell me that this isn’t the end of the road for me. Of course I said it with my usual quip, so everyone was laughing.

I’ll try to abbreviate the rest of the story…

The scan they did in the morning showed that my liver was not leaking, nor did I have gall stones. My liver, however, was very inflamed and quite discontent. My theory is that it was missing it’s best friend, the gall bladder. You see, they had been living in harmony for 32 years when all of a sudden the gall bladder was taken away. At that point, my liver said, “that’s it, I’m done! no bile for you, come back, one year!” LOL

I remained in the hospital for four days while they tried to figure out what was/is going on. I had three different roommates… two of which were over the age of 90 and were sent home when it appeared to me that they were about to die. My point is that they don’t keep anyone in the hospital for very long these days, so it was very frightening to me that they weren’t letting me go home. I also missed my family tremendously. Craig and/or my Mom were with me all day and would bring Ella to see me in the evenings, but when they would leave I would just cry and cry. Being in the hospital is not good for ones spirits.

As of this writing, they are still not sure what happened, which is very disturbing. My levels have returned to normal, but my liver is still not happy so I am on a no-fat, no-dairy diet. Do you know what I can eat? N-O-T-H-I-N-G. I am freaking starving. Although I shouldn’t complain too much because for the first 24 hours in the hospital I wasn’t allowed anything because they thought that they might have to operate again. And when they did let me eat, it was a clear liquid diet.

I am recovering comfortably at home, but unable to do much else. Laying in a hospital bed for four days without much nourishment will suck the life out of you. Not only do I not have ANY energy, but I also lack brain power and I hate feeling stupid. LOL I have follow-up appointments with my surgeon and gastroenterologist, so we’ll see what they say.

I would like to thank everyone for their love, support and understanding through this difficult time. I hope to be back to normal within the next few weeks.

Please send any menu ideas to

Heather Lahtinen – alive and kicking in Pittsburgh

  • Anonymous

    You're welcome Heather. And I'm glad to see that your expertise in photoshop has no boundaries.


  • Anonymous

    By the way, I am soooo much hotter than you.


  • becky

    no-fat, no-dairy…hmmm… celery sticks?… 😉 YUMMY! Well, glad to hear you are back home… (you still crack me up-even blogging sick!) i know you must be going crazy without things to do, but get your rest! Hope you are feeling better soon.

  • Marilyn


    So sorry you are going through this crazy ordeal! Wishing you a speedy recovery! Hang in there and take it easy!!

    Marilyn & Bill

  • Anonymous

    Heather … you need to eat fruits, vegetables and legumes (pinto beans, etc.) You might want to check into some vegan recipes.

    Call me if I can do anything for you!

    ~ Nancy

  • Cory Ann

    I'm so sad to hear all of this. I hope you are feeling better soon.

  • David Amos

    Oh, Heather, please get better, I feel you are a distant relative….. I am going to pray for you… You must feel so crapy, especially a girl like yourself that is so nimble on your feet when you shoot weddings.

  • Charlotte Geary

    Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear that you've been sick, Heather! I hope you are feeling better now, and that the worst is behind you.

    — Charlotte Geary

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