Thursday, March 21, 2013

Define: Gallbladder

Quick—can you tell me the function of the gallbladder? I had noooo idea. I pride myself on having been raised by a doctor and a nurse and living a relatively healthy life. But I don't recall ever having had a discussion about gallbladders.

I do get headaches. All sorts of headaches. You name the type of headache and I've probably experienced it at least once. Lately—living in Northeast Ohio where the weather rolls across the Great Lakes and slaps us in the face—I get frequent weather-related headaches. Over the past eight days there were four high/low/whatever systems that blew across. With each one of them, I got a horrible sick headache that made me sick to my stomach and wouldn't go away all day.

When I get a sick headache like that, there are a couple of foods I can eat that make me feel better. Now, this may seem silly, but I'll make a bowl of cheese grits (yes, I'm a Southerner) or nuke a frozen pizza. Those foods sit lightly on my roiling stomach and help me feel better.

Monday I was sick all day. Horrific pain in my head and stomach that had ten-foot waves. I did what I had to do, including a run to the grocery store to get lunch stuff for the Jazzman. While there, I picked up a Red Baron 4-Cheese personal-size frozen pizza. When I got home, I put the groceries away and then nuked my pizza. Heaven! Finally, when coated by cheese grits and then pizza (yeah, okay, and a little b&J's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch on top), my stomach felt like it would be settled enough for me to sleep through the night so I might wake up pain-free in the morning.

And then 12:30 a.m. came and the pain in my chest woke me from a sound sleep and made me start googling "heart attack symptoms women". After lying there worrying for over half an hour, I finally woke up the jazzman and told him we needed to go around the corner to the ER.

As you've probably already figured out from the lead-in, the problem was a very unhappy gallbladder. Very. The word "distended" was used as were the words "surgery" and "remove."

Early next Monday morning I'll undergo a HIDA scan and then have a mid-morning appointment with the surgeon. We'll see what happens next.

You can bet I'm reading everything I can lay my hands on and watching everything I put into my mouth. That kind of pain? I hope never to experience that again.