It is interesting how some men [such as me] will avoid the hospital at all costs. I am in the Kaiser building on average once ever two weeks waiting with my wife for her pregnancy appointments. Yet when I know something is wrong with me, I refuse to get a check up.
About three weeks ago I had a some major pain in the upper right side of my abdomen, right under the rib cage. It hurt so bad, that I made sure the phone was near.. Just in case the ambulance needed to be called. This was followed by a noticeable swelling in the affected area.
Ever since then the discomfort has been pretty steady. This results in me getting up and pacing about ever 40 minutes or so. Needless to say, this is rather inconvenient, and tends to interrupt my day.
Fast forward to last Friday. Ashley and I were at a pregnancy checkup when the doctor was going through her list of questions. One of the questions involved the doctor pointing at Ashley’s gall bladder. A light went on in my head, and quickly the pain I was having had a culprit. The first thing I did when I got home was to get on google, and do some research. I had about 95 percent of the symptoms of gall bladder stones.
On Saturday Ashley made me go to the hospital. The doctor confirmed our research, and scheduled a sonogram to check for gall stones. So this pretty much ruined my Saturday. Although the doc did give me some pain relievers, which makes things a bit better.
Sunday was spent researching gall bladder disease. I have learned pretty much all the gory details, and will give you a 10 cent summary. The gall bladder is a muscle surrounded sack that collects bile from the liver.
This “bile” also known as “gall” contains additional enzymes and salts to break down fat. The gall bladder concentrates the key elements in bile until they reach between four and eight times the amount per volume that exited the liver. Sometimes in certain people that concentration process goes a bit overboard. This can cause the salts and other elements to form into stones.
These stone pool up at the bottom of the Gall bladder like waiting time bombs. When you eat a fatty meal, the Gall bladder receives a signal to dump its contents into the bile duct, which empties into the small intestine.
Sometimes if there are stones present they can become lodged into the bile ducts when the Gall bladder is emptied. This can cause pain under the rib cage, back pain, cold sweats, and nausea. The worst thing is, that once you start having Gall stones, you are pretty much prone to get them again.
It seems the most popular solution to Gall stones is the removal of the Gall bladder. Now I try to pretend I am a rough tough man, but surgery scares the living daylights out of me. However, pain for the rest of my life isn’t high on my list either. Considering both sides, I think surgery is going to win.
There are 2 types of Gall bladder removal surgery. The first involves cutting up the abdomen and ripping the problem child out. This method involves up to 6 weeks of recovery. I am not especially thrilled with this. Luckily there is a laproscopic surgery. This has a 2 day required stay, along with a week recovery time. The surgery involves cutting a few 1/2 inch incisions. ASmall tools are inserted into the abdomen, one blows up the abdominal cavity with carbon dioxide, while the others cut the bile duct, and bring the Gall bladder opening to the outside of the body. The Gall bladder is then emptied through that opening. Once empty the deflated bladder is then pulled out of the body. The hole left in the bile duct is then sewn up, the abdominal cavity deflated, and the access holes sewn shut.
I am really hoping that I will get the 2nd surgery. I am a big fan of the shorter recovery time. And since both require that I get knocked out, the risk is the same. The one thing that gets me the most, is that that I am going to have to go on a special diet for the rest of my life.
I will actually have to eat healthy. Holy crap… actually eat healthy.. I don’t know what I am going to do. The bile in the Gall bladder is a key player in the process of digesting fats. So I will basically be without a large majority of the tools needed to process fat. I am guessing this will equal emergency shits after a fatty meal. Now that I have to choose between diarea and healthy food, with much diliberation I choose to eat a low fat diet. With that being said, the even harder thing is that Ashley is going to have to live on that same diet. And she cant eat healthy to save her life.. or mine.
I’ll keep you updated,
“The difficult we do immediately, the impossible just takes a little longer.”