One night, fifteen years ago, Wil rushed me to the hospital because I was having horrible stabbing pain in my side. I got an ultrasound and the doctor could see that my gall bladder was stuck in a spasmed position. That happened as a result of it trying to digest a little ball of raw cookie dough that I had eaten earlier. (This is the part where we all replay our mothers’ voice in our heads, telling us how bad raw cookie dough is for us. But seriously, that’s some tasty stuff right there.)
I’ve never been one for eating things that are fried or high in fat because it has always made me nauseous. But when the E.R. doctor told me to basically cut out fatty things all together or I’ll need my gall bladder out, I took his advice. His mean, cookie dough depriving advice. Ever since then, I’ve been really careful about what I eat. Occasionally, I’d forget and eat one piece of orange chicken the kids would get from a Chinese restaurant, or a doughnut or something buttery. I wouldn’t have gall bladder pain, but my gall bladder wasn’t digesting the fat in it, and I always ended up puking it up. (That’s right, kids. NO MYSTERY.) I used to joke that I had a cow stomach, able to sort out the thing that made me sick, which would just eject that one thing.
Several times since about August of 2013, I’ve had (what I didn’t realize at first) were for reals gall bladder attacks. Not only was I not digesting even the smallest amount of fat, (something with butter or olive oil in it) but I was having hot stabby burny pain (that’s a technical term, you know) on my side. There were even a couple of times when the stabby pain woke me up multiple times during the night, then I’d get up the next morning with a rash on the right side of my torso. The last time this happened was on Christmas night, all because I had a tiny bit of gravy with dinner.
I had seen a gastrointestinal specialist in November after a particularly bad attack from eating a tiny bowl of chili. He said I really needed to get my gall bladder taken out before it turned into a ball of infection. Mmm…sexy… Still hesitant to agree to surgery, I told him I’d think about it, and left.
A couple of weeks ago, we committed to going on a super fun, nerd-filled adventure on a Caribbean cruise at the end of February. (We’ve already been on it three times in the past. That’s how I know it’s super fun.) I thought back to the pain I experienced all night long on Christmas, and had the horrifying thought of needing emergency surgery while on the cruise, particularly while in Haiti. I’m sure the people of Haiti are lovely, but I’m a little hesitant to put my life and medical care in the hands of a third world country doctor. I scheduled one more consultation with the gastrointestinal specialist, bringing with me a big list of questions I needed answers to regarding the surgery before I made my decision.
When I told my doctor that I was going on a cruise at the end of February, he really encouraged me to get this thing out before I go. As healthy as I try to eat, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid anything that isn’t cooked with butter or oil on a cruise. Over the years, I’ve learned to carry ginger capsules and Zantac with me at all times, because it’s inevitable that I’m going to end up eating something that makes me nauseous. Knowing the countries I was going to be visiting, he said it was a risk I shouldn’t take, and I knew he was right. I scheduled the surgery for January 21st. Tomorrow.
People who have had their own gall bladder out have told me that I may have new digestion issues, mainly becoming lactose intolerant. I already am, so that’s not a big deal to me. Pretty much my entire adult life has been filled with a little fear of what I’m eating and how I’ll feel from it, so that’s nothing new to me. Now that I’ve committed to the surgery, I’m ready to have it done so I can feel better. It’s not a free pass to eat fatty foods, I don’t like them anyway, but I know I’ll feel better once this toxic thing is out of me. It’s a laparoscopic procedure, which has a camera, so you KNOW I’m going to ask for pictures of it before and after it’s removed. It’s fascinating to me when there’s an opportunity to see my insides. I know. Gross.
I have to be at the hospital at are -you- fucking- serious o’clock in the morning, but I can come home at the end of the day. As much as it freaks me out that I’m getting an organ removed from my body and they’re sending me home the same day, it’s pretty remarkable that medicine has come so far where that’s ok.
Since I’ve never had my gall bladder removed before, I don’t know how I’ll feel in the days that will follow the surgery. I’m pretty sure I won’t be up for much online interaction, so I’ll just tell you now that I will be on a new episode of TableTop on the Geek & Sundry channel on YouTube this Thursday, January 23rd. We played Ticket To Ride Europe, and no, I’m not going to tell you what happens, you’ll just have to watch it for yourself. I will tell you that it was a lot of fun playing this game with Wil, Emma Caulfield, and John Kovalic. I love that I get to be part of such a fun show and I hope you enjoy the episode!