Last month, I went to Kern Medical Hospital to have my gallbladder removed, as I had been diagnosed with gallstones and was suffering from gallbladder attacks. My anxiety was through the roof that morning. I woke up three times before my alarm. To relieve some of my anxiety, I watched videos of my son because thinking of him always takes my mind to a happy place.

Although I am not a religious person, I have learned that in situations like this, you must have some hope. As a result, I began praying that I would make it out of surgery alive and be reunited with my family afterward.

After arriving at the hospital, I told my partner, “I don’t feel well, my stomach hurts, I’m really nervous.” His response calmed some of my nerves and said, “You don’t have to worry; everything will be just fine,” as he continued to hug me. It made me feel better, but I was still scared of the procedure.

Surgery registration

We went inside the room and registered for the day’s surgery. We waited about 90 minutes for the nurses to prep the room. Later, when they called my name, I went alone to another area where they had several beds and nurses. My partner had to wait in the waiting room. A pregnancy test was immediately requested, which came back negative to no surprise to me at all. A nurse asked me to take off my clothes and change into a hospital gown along with, high gray socks and a blue hair net, which made me look kind of funny. 

The Nurse asked me to change into the hospital gown and to wear the blue hair net.

Next, I was asked a long list of questions about my health and then they checked my vitals. Everything was fine, thank goodness. Then another nurse came in and started to insert the intravenous needle into me. She was having a hard time finding my veins, and after looking at both of my arms, she decided to go with my left arm and unfortunately, she couldn’t get it in on the first try.

The process hurt and left a bad bruise. I let her know that, if she was having a hard time, she could always poke my hand. The first nurse who asked questions at the beginning was the one who inserted the second needle in my hand. That hurt much worse than the first needle; I even heard my skin pop.

Laparoscopic procedure

Then the wait started again. I had various doctors come in to talk to me about the surgery, as did a resident who was very excited to be present at my surgery. Jerry Cheriyan, MD, is a specialist in general surgery at Kern Medical Hospital and explained that the gallbladder removal would be done through laparoscopic surgery.

According to UCLA Health, Laparoscopic surgery “uses small incisions on the abdomen through which the surgeon passes a camera and instruments to complete a procedure. This type of surgery involves being placed under general anesthesia and using carbon dioxide gas to fill in the abdomen.”

As part of the procedure, Doctor Cheriyan also explained to me that four or five small incisions would be made in my stomach, each no larger than one centimeter in diameter, and that the surgery would last about an hour and a half. After he left, approximately 30 minutes before surgery, my anesthesiologist asked me a few more questions about my health. All those questions were very important so that she could give me the right dose of anesthesia.

After that, the nurses returned to my room to transport me to the operating room. They didn’t even let my partner say his goodbyes, which was a little upsetting. I remember going into the operating room, and it looked nothing like I had imagined. The lights were brighter than usual. There was a white machine that looked like a robot and a lot more equipment. The last thing I remember before I was put under anesthesia was a nurse asking me to transfer to a different bed. After that, I don’t recall anything.

As I woke up from the anesthesia, I realized that the surgery was over and I was getting moved into the post-operative room. I remember feeling a sense of relief, fear and pain all at the same time … it was overwhelming. I immediately burst into tears.

A nurse came in after and gave me medication for the pain. Within 15 minutes, I was discharged from the hospital. I was in so much pain and felt discomfort. After we left the hospital, we went over to my pharmacy to pick up all my medication. I was super nauseous and in a bad mood. I was not feeling well at all.


When I got home, I tried to eat chicken soup, but it was making me more nauseous, so I decided to eat fruit, and I was fine. After I ate, I took my medication and received a phone call from my doctor to let me know that the surgery was a success. He also let me know that I needed to walk as much as I could to help with the recovery process. And that I’m wasn’t allowed to bend over or pick up anything heavier than 20 pounds for about four weeks.

On the second day of my recovery, I had shoulder pain from the carbon dioxide gas that was put into my body during the procedure.

It’s been four weeks since surgery, and I’m feeling way better than I did in the first three days of recovery. I still have some soreness in my biggest incision and minimal pain in different parts of my body, but nothing compares to the pain I had before with the gallbladder attacks.

The doctor actually made five incisions in my stomach. They are small, so it’s nothing I’m really worried about. I like to think of them as my battle scars. As a mom of a toddler and someone who went through surgery twice in the last two years, I can tell you that these experiences are scary but sometimes necessary. I always worry about how much my 21-month-old son needs me. I think this second surgery was definitely a wake-up call … to look out for my health, to start eating healthier and to really consider what I put into my body.

If there is anything I can help young mothers and fathers with, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Follow my Mami & Me columns here.

Amairani Hernandez is a native of Los Angeles and a graduate of the California State University of Los Angeles with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She is a staff multimedia journalist, who focuses on...