Some of you were wondering what happened with that whole missing gallbladder thing. Okay, one of you was, which is more than enough for me to spill my guts. So to speak. Anyway, after the test, I went back to work, probably getting radioactive cooties all over my desk, and an hour later I got a phone call. If you get a phone call from a doctor that quickly, it’s usually not a good sign. My GP’s office informed me that I was to see a specialist and they’d set up the appointment and everything. “Uh, for what?” I asked. And they said “The hospital didn’t tell you?”
Well, of course not. I asked why I was seeing a specialist and the nurse lady said it was because my gallbladder was dead. Look, I realize we’re not talking about hearts or brains or you know, popular organs here, but I still don’t think you should just tell a person a part of their body is dead just willy nilly over the phone. So I was rather shocked, since my doctor was sure they’d find nothing wrong (and he was partly right as they did find nothing), that there was actually something wrong. I told them that the doctor hadn’t even seen my gallbladder and the nurse said “oh” and covered the mouth piece and I heard muffled talking in the background. “She says they didn’t see it?” This did nothing to reassure me.
“Oh a non-visual gallbladder still means it’s not working,” the nurse said. “Your appointment’s on Friday!”
And she went off to get her latte. This test and phone call took place on Monday. Which meant I had until Friday to Google “Non-visual gallbladder”. I don’t recommend doing this. Pretty much everyone recommends NOT doing this, but I am both a masochist and an obsessive researcher, which makes for a good librarian but kind of a nutball otherwise. I found out that gallbladders aren’t visual on scans sometimes because they’ve shrunk all up and stuff. I bet my award-winning liver is just so embarrassed to have that pathetic gallbladder nearby.
I found plenty of tales of people who got their gallbladders out, and their entire lives were ruined forever and ever. Many warned “Do not let them take your gallbladder!” and I pictured Mel Gibson shouting it in a fake Scottish accent. But the thing is, if the organ’s not working, leaving it in your body isn’t exactly going to do you a lot of good either. Because I read, you might want to put that sandwich down, that gallbladders can rot and get gangrene. Delightful!
So I told people about my dead gallbladder and people were about as enthused as if I’d told them about my dead goldfish. “Ah, happens all the time!” they said. “I know like my sister, aunt, dog, etc had theirs out! Why some people just go get it taken out for giggles! Nothing to worry about.” So I spent the week being annoyed at the people who said this was the end of the world, and annoyed at the people who completely dismissed it. I finally went to the doctor on Friday, and mostly spoke to the nurse, who seems like a nice lady. She told me her husband, the doctor, took out her gallbladder. That must have been interesting. I let my husband work on my car all the time, but I’m not sure I’d let him work on my body. What if he put something back wrong? Awk-ward.
I’ve learned so much about gallbladders. I liken our knowledge of our bodily anatomy to our knowledge of foreign geography. There are many organs in the body that we don’t know the name of, the location of, the purpose of, or that they even exist until there is an attack. Sort of like how we never knew anything about the Middle East till we starting bombing them. I had no idea where my gallbladder was, or my liver for that matter. I’m pretty sure the only organs people know much about are the brain, heart, and lungs, since it’s kind of hard to live without any of them, and you don’t need a road map to find them.
The doctor gave me a pamphlet about my surgery that had a picture of this weirdly happy lady on the cover. There were gross pictures inside it of the gallbladder and the liver, and other pictures detailing the surgery. It’s called Laproscopic, meaning they poke four holes in you like a potato before you put it in the microwave, and then they stick a camera in one of the holes, and their operating instruments in the other holes. I have no idea how they do this, or who first thought up the idea, or how they first tried it out. Did some aspiring doctor just feel like poking holes in his cat one day as a kid? No idea.
So they cut your gallbladder off and seal it and then just whoosh, pull it out through one of the holes in a baggie. I’m not even kidding. They stick it in a baggie, like you might bring your sandwich in (I told you to put your food down). And after that, they re-rout your liver to take a right at the intestines and bang, you’re good to go. Recovery from this takes no time at all! Saying they don’t screw it up somehow! Anyway, it has to be done cause that’s why I’m so sick. So naturally the first time they could get me in to do the surgery was in two weeks, which I’m told is actually very fast for doctors. If it blows up (I’ve heard it can) then I might get in faster.
So I’ve made it one week, and am looking forward to preop and more tests, and then the actual surgery next Thursday. You can bet I’ll have a report, saying I survive and all. I have missed a lot of work, so asked the doctors if I could have a note for work. They said they couldn’t write a note for nothing, cause I hadn’t had the surgery yet, their logic being that I was having the surgery for absolutely no reason, and would only need time off to recover from the not-needed surgery. Apparently. At least my Thing Two was concerned about me.
“How long will you be in the hospital, Mommy?” she asked.
“Oh, I’ll probably get out the same day,” I reassured her.
“Then I don’t get to have fun spending the night at Grammy’s, like when you had Pneumonia?”
Thanks, Thing Two.