The Soapbox Papers

The Soapbox Papers is my two-cents worth.

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Location: Beloit, Wisconsin, United States

I am a cross between Tinkerbell and Calamity Jane.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

What I Did on my Saturday ..

It’s called a gallbladder. It is situated somewhere in the abdomen around where the liver is, because it has ducts that go to the liver (or from it) and excess cholesterol gathers there, often forming crystals of varying sizes – commonly referred to as ‘stones.’

I didn’t know much about it, really. A few years ago a friend of mine went in for same-day surgery, the removal of hers. It was done laproscopically – which means the surgeon makes a small cut somewhere over here, inserts these remarkable instruments that include a teeny tiny camera to allow the surgeon to see ‘way over there, where the gallbladder waits to be removed. All in all, it is supposed to be fairly easy. It is, I have learned, one of the most common surgeries in grown ups these days. And I am about to pencil the date of mine in on my calendar. I was the designated driver for my friend's surgery, and she seemed to enjoy herself immensely.

Yesterday I had what they call a ‘gallbladder attack’ – which is not a warlike thing at all. Rather, it is a sort of crushing gripping spasm pain that compares with no other – except maybe labor. And there is nothing good to show for such discomfort, as opposed to labor, wherein you are presented with the blessing of the day.

I have a very high pain threshold. When something hurts that much, I know there is something really wrong. But I didn’t know what it was. It started early in the morning, and by noon I decided to go to the emergency room, where they kept me half undressed and hooked me up to an EKG (I am still finding stray patches on my person – and soap does not remove the glue) then there was the IV for six hours, through which they poured increasingly large doses of Demerol – which did nothing – until the last dose, which must have been enough to put a horse to sleep. I got drowsy, but the pain didn’t go away. I even had an ultrasound done. I saw it. There’s this pouch – not unlike a small purse – and it was full of large irregular stones. My good doctor-of-the moment suggested I stay overnight so they could keep pumping me full of stuff. Or, she said, she could send me home with large dosages of prescription drugs. I opted for the latter – I prefer my own bed. It comes complete with a solicitous cat. However, finding a pharmacy open at 6:30 on a Saturday night was tricky. Fortunately I had enough cash on me to pay for the drug – normally I don’t carry money at all, just my bank card, and since I hadn’t balanced my checkbook yet, that was uncertain.

I was again reminded that pain – be it physical pain or pain of the spirit – is exhausting. But it is temperate in Florida now, the windows are open and a soft breeze comes in – and I have my own bed, complete with cat. And I know that it is something that can be fixed. Now if I can just convince the surgeon to take out some of the fat whilst he is burrowing around in there. At least, while he is in my innards, the surgeon may be able to fix the hiatial hernia that I never knew I had until 2 months ago, but which I must have had all my life.

So now I am behind in everything I had hoped to get done – but I am older now, and I can blame lapses in production to such things without batting an eye.

So here’s to pain pills!



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