It wasn't too bad. I had pain for about 5 days afterwards, so I was taking a good amount of Hydrocodone. The first couple nights of sleeping at home are difficult, because laying flat is not comfortable. The one thing they did not tell me was that I would be LOADED with fluids and bloated from the gas. (Apparently when they do the laparoscopy, they shoot some gas into your abdomen to puff it out so that they can see/work in there.) I was about 10 pounds heavier when I came home, but all the fluid and bloating has gone away, and I'm back to my pre-surgery weight. You'll probably get up 3-4 times in the night to pee (to get rid of all that fluid). My feet were swollen in the beginning from the fluids, but that went away, too. The incisions are small, so they use a glue instead of stiches.
As for returning to work, I would say it depends on what you do. I'm a stay-at-home mom of a two-year-old, so I needed help for 3-4 days because of the lifting, running around. You will be tired, and the painkillers will make you drowsy. There is definitely soreness for about a week, but if you have a desk job it may be tolerable.
With all that said, I've read that people respond to this surgery very differently. Some people feel great right away, but a friend of mine told me she was out of commission for a couple weeks. The surgery recovery can be hard to plan for because of this. I've also heard from several people that having the gallbladder removed improved they're overall health dramatically. A friend of mine with IBS said her symptoms all but disappeared after surgery. My doctor did tell me that my ulcerative colitis would not be affected/improved by the removal, but some of us with UC may also have IBS or other underlying issues that may get resolved, so who's to say?
Hope I'm not boring you with details, and I hope you get these issues resolved soon. I know how hellish the hospital can be. They didn't let me eat anything but clear liquids for three days, and it felt like absolute torture. Good luck with everything, and let us know what happens!
Katie, 30. Chicago 'burbs.
Current Treament: Asacol 1200 MG 3X daily, Cortenama 100 ML nightly, Iron 325 MG 3X daily, Zoloft 50 MG daily, Bentyl 20 MG and Tylenol (as needed).
Diet/Exercise: Avoiding trigger foods, eating very healthy. Yoga or walking, when possible.
Previous Treatment: Canasa suppositories, Cortifoam, Prednisone, Colazal, Symex DuoTabs, Rowasa.