Tuesday, March 13, 2012

gallbladders suck.

Disclaimer: I realize it has been a solid week since I blogged about watching the Mumfords rock and ralph the Ryman. That kind of lag in writing is inexcusable, but I would like to plead my case.

Friday afternoon was swimming along as usual, looking forward to a busy weekend and making a mental list of things to do once I was off the clock: Go to grocery and buy something to whip together so I can appear domestic for an A.R.E Potluck and grab a bottle of wine for a bridal shower. Seemed simple enough, however my seemingly healthy lunch of a Jimmy Johns turkey, avocado and cucumber hoagie was about to bite me in the ass. [Tangent: Yes, you are reading this correctly...my inner fatty boombatty was actually taking a day off. Well, not entirely, because the following was my shameful facebook status minutes after cramming it in my pie hole...]

Minutes later, that old familiar feeling started [Tangent: I've been over it before.]....that churning and burning that meant I had about a ten minute window before the shit hit the fan in my abdominal cavity. I alerted my supervisor that I was cutting out and pulled into my driveway just as I started feeling as if my intestines were being twisted out through my belly button like spaghetti on a sadist's fork. [Tangent: Oh yeah, by the way...this may get graphic. I seriously felt like I may be giving birth to quintuplet narwhal babies.]
this is what I felt was happening in my stomach.
Coming in the doorway, I threw my visiting brother the other half of my Jimmy John's sandwich [Tangent: My scientific mind took over...I needed Mikey to be the control variable in this experiment of "what the hell is wrong with me?"] and heading straight to my bed to assume the most comfortable position: obviously fetal clench spooning a heating pad. After about 45 minutes of some decidedly unsexy moans and feedback from my Primary Care Physician [AKA my sister-in-law who is a Doctor in California and who is my medical consult on all things. It's very cost effective.], we concluded it sounded like a gallbladder issue so I was heading to the ER.

The emergency room in the largest hospital in a metropolitan city is apparently a hoppin' place to be on a late Friday afternoon. I  reckon if I hadn't been so busy being "that girl who is crying and rocking by herself in a public place," I may have played "ugly tattoo bingo" or "name that language being spoken" with my concerned parents/chaperones in sanity. Instead I was just focusing on how the hell I was going to be a single parent to four baby narwhals.

The pain started to die down a bit and all I wanted to do was lay down. I was minutes away from clearing the abandoned Burger King bags and half drank 20 ounce Coca-Colas off a nearby table so I could have somewhere to curl back into a ball like a hedgehog. Thankfully a kindly nurse intervened and  called me back and told me to go back to CH-2; H stood for hallway.  [Tangent: To be more specific the hallway area right by the nurse's station and staring directly across from the community bathroom so I looked like a perv whenever anyone in a hospital gown hobbled by to give a urine sample. Oh, did I mention that I was also one hallway stretcher over from a drunk who snored considerably? Twas blissful.]

I laid there all evening until about 2 AM...intermittently getting a morphine boost, an EKG, an ultrasound or a threat of a hallway pelvic exam. [Tangent: Perhaps they confused this with an I Didn't Know I was Pregnant scenario. It's not. ] They finally concluded after seeing little rocky fellas in my belly that I had symptomatic gallstones and I had a gallbladder attack, which I have probably had in smaller doses before.  In the midst of my morphine and exhaustian induced haze, I was moved  into an available room where I wouldn't have to serve as hall monitor. I had no swelling and no fever, so the pain was not my gallbladder trying to rupture, therefore they didn't have to yank it from me in dramatic Grey's Anatomy style. It was simply these little bastards trying to shove themselves through bile ducts. 

this is what they look like. Yikes. Like I have been eating out of an aquarium.

I woke up comparatively rejuvinated and felt about 3/4 of the way back to normal, so they released me after I had drank some broth from a straw. I wasn't gonna get my gallbladder out immediately...I could buy myself some time. But how could I keep the narwahl births at bay until then?  To the internwebz I went!

It looked pretty bleak. All I could see was:

Foods to eat:  
flax seed

Food not to eat:  
Fowl (turkey, chicken)
Dairy (milk, cheese, cream)
Gluten (wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, etc.)
Oranges, grapefruit
Trans fats,
Hydrogenated, partially-hydrogenated oils
Fried Foods
Saturated fats
Red meats
Spicy foods
Ice cream
Black tea
Alcohol, beer, wine, liqueur
Fruit juice
Carbonated water
Tap water
Cabbage, cauliflower
Colas and all sodas
Oats (for some people)
Avoid all artificial sweeteners, sugar, preservatives, refined and bleached foods (like white flour)
My inner fatty, with the mayonaise on her computer mouse was crying a bit. However there was light at the end of the tunnel. One study show coffee drinkers are significantly less likely to suffer from gallstone attacks. [Tangent: I really didn't give a damn if it was John Hopkins University or Dunkin Donuts that commissioned the study...I was onboard.] Guess who is gonna be a bad Catholic. Bye bye Lenten promise, my Gallbladder wants some effin' coffee. [Tangent: It's a good thing I am a terrible Catholic to start with.]


  1. Damn....that sounds horrible. And god, being sick...and terribly sick...and having to wait in the hospital waiting room is the worst. First off, it's filthy. Secondly, everyone stares openly at each other, breaking the cardinal rule out in the rest of society that says that if you stare, do it covertly. And third, nobody does their feet before coming there and those same people wear flip-flops.

    Um, that list of things not to eat is like.. everything. If it makes you feel any better, I hear that gallbladder removal isn't as bad as it used to be. My Mom had hers out in the 90's and was laid up in bed for two weeks from the invasive surgery. My brother had his two years ago and it was done through a tiny slit. I'm still wondering if they pulled it out through there - or if they blasted it into a million pieces..either or, he was back at work after a long weekend.

    1. i always get so grossed out by the bad feet because what are they doing to make them so bad? I don't really do anything to my feet (i clip my toenails? and i guess they get washed when i shower?) and my feet look totally normal! gross feet make me want to barf!

  2. jane who i work with has gallbladder issues a lot. it is mostly important t o stay away from REALLY rich foods and things with lots of fat. she keeps beet pills with her for when she eats something she really isn't suposed to. i can attest that they are awesome because i had a cheese bender once and was HURTING and she gave me some beet pills and it was all better. a bottle is like, 8 bucks maybe? i would definately sheck it out.

  3. Glad you're feeling somewhat better! You and I should write a book on hospitals, a travel book of sorts.


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