Alice and the Case of the Missing Gallbladder

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?”

Eh, oh!

Eh, oh!

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.

These guys will have all the answers!

These guys will have all the answers!

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.

He still hasn't put all the organs back in the car he's working on.

He still hasn’t put all the organs back in the car he’s working on.

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.

And they suck it all out through drinking straws!

And they suck it all out through drinking straws!

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.



30 responses

  1. Sorry to hear you need surgery but happy to see you haven’t lost your sense of humor. 🙂 Best of luck to you with it!

    1. Thanks! I just read List of X’s comments and will be laughing about Donald Trump being an Oompa Loompa for days.

      1. He’s just so orange…

  2. Sounds like what happened to a friend of mine with her gall bladder, only in her case it took her collapsing in pain at work (she works in an A&E dept – ER for you Americans) for her to agree to have someone find out what the problem actually was. Some people find that they do recover quickly, some people take a bit longer, it’s one of those things that is different for everyone. But I hope and pray that once the surgery is done (and that it’ll be done well) that you recover quickly and feel a million times better than you do now.

    ❤ to you. Not so much to Thing Two. 😉 :p

    1. My friend suggested I eat my second-favorite food (not my first since she didn’t want me to die) then go to the ER and puke all over the place thus prompting an immediate gallbladder removal! It was tempting, but I refrained. And thanks for always being faithful, faith. 🙂

  3. My phone died so i didn’t know about this. What a massive clusterfck. I hope it all goes well and can’t wait to read how this all turns out.

  4. I’m sorry to hear that. I hope you would end up as one of those examples of “oh, they took Alice’s gallbladder out, and nothing bad happened to her. In fact, her kids started being nicer to her and her job gave her a big promotion. And she’s a big blogging celebrity now, too.”

    1. That would be awesome. I bet there are not many radioactive bloggers out there. I could use my money from my promotion to hire bloggers to tell everyone how great I am and thus get more readers. Genius!

      1. Oh yeah, you’re already radioactive, i forgot! But I wonder, if you bite a regular person, would your bite turn them into a blogger with special powers?

        1. I’m always willing to try it out on a willing blogger. I just have to make sure they aren’t Republican first, because they are scary enough without superpowers.

          1. I say go for it, because there’s a good chance that your bite would turn them into a liberal (after all, you’re a liberal, too).

          2. I have a lot of bloggers to bite. Also political candidates. But wait, if they are stupid, will I just turn them into stupid liberals? Still it’s an improvement.

          3. Don’t you sometimes just want to bite them first and worry about the consequences later?

          4. I’m afraid of the rabies virus – does it cause stupidity?

          5. I guess I could go on WebMD and read about it, but I worry that it will end with me realizing that I have rabies myself.

  5. Leave it to you to make surgery funny. Love you gurl. ❤

  6. Sometimes I think those WebMD people are deliberately messing with us

    1. Me too. I bet it’s written by secret Cobra spies.

  7. I can’t imagine anything I’d want less than to have a camera shoved up my belly button. And what is after all that, your gallbladder is still “non-visual?” Do they just start cutting out random bits like in Operation? “We’ll find it eventually…. here, nurse, put this spleen in that baggie… and this time, don’t put it in the break room fridge!”

  8. Had my hysterectomy done laproscopically, loved it. Good luck sweetie!

    1. Thank you! It’s tomorrow so no nerves at all nope nope nope.

      1. You’ll be just fine. Only the good die young, remember? 😉

  9. I absolutely hate people who listen to your medical story then, barely stopping to breathe, launch into their always-more-significant tale of their own maladies.
    So I’m doing that, but just saying that the surgery was pretty easy-peasy for me, the recovery was OK, and life without a gallbladder still has meaning.

    But word of caution – if you overdo it on fatty foods from here on out, you get a “we really could have used a gallbladder to help digest this stuff” attack, which feels about as painful as the pre-surgery ones.

    1. Thanks for the info! It helps to hear good stories. I suppose it’s better for me not to do such fatty stuff anyway (grumble). 🙂

  10. Was thinking about you and so decided to finally read the blog post. It’s reassuring. If you die, I’ll have to make sure I have all your blog posts to read when I miss you. Which reminds me, can I have a copy of your thesis? Oh, and when you told me about the missing gall bladder I Googled it and learned that it’s possible to be born without one and be asymptomatic for decades, so if the don’t find it by cutting a hole in you and going in with a camera, I hope they figure that out before they cut the other 3 holes, because all that surgery for nothing would bite. And I suppose it’s too late to ask you to get pictures? I’ve never seen the inside of your abdomen before, unless you count ultrasound pictures of Thing 1 in utero.

    1. You want a doctor, to take my picture, so you can look at me from inside as well? I think I’m turning Japanese.

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