Getting Stoned, Part One: The Day My Gallbladder Betrayed Me

That’s it. Tomorrow I’m calling the doctor and we’re going to figure this shit out.

I say this to myself while I lie in our guest bed, clutching my belly and moaning with every breath.

Inhale. Moanexhale. Inhale. Moanexhale.

It feels like my insides are being simultaneously inflated and twisted. Sharp pains pierce different areas, like a hot poker is being thrust into my midsection. Dodo is trying to lie on me, possibly to comfort me, but at this moment I’m more convinced that she’s one of those cats who can sense when someone’s about to die and sits with them as they cross the bridge into the next realm of existence. But she can’t lie on me, because the weight of her on top of me makes it feel like the lava-filled balloon that is my gut will pop under the added pressure.

I haven’t slept at all tonight. Thank God we’ve got a guest bed now, so Joe can get a good night’s sleep while I watch 24 episodes of Frasier on Netflix and try not to think about the fact that I’m almost certainly dying. Although I’ve survived this attack several times, this is the worst one I’ve had — there’s clearly something wrong with me.

I’ve had five or six attacks before this one, all starting at exactly 2:00 a.m. The pain wakes me up, and then I sit there writhing in pain for exactly four hours, at which point the pain dies away and I feel fine, albeit exhausted.

This attack, however, started at about 10:00 p.m. last night. I had a feeling it was coming, and sure enough, the pain slowly crescendoed until it reached its typical 2:00 a.m. glory. Ah yes, here we are, I think. It’s oddly comforting that I know this pain — that we’re like old friends instead of strangers. Because if I’ve felt this before, it means I’ve also survived this before. But I’ve had enough of it. I consider waking up Joe and telling him to take me to the hospital, but ultimately decide to grit my teeth and hope to God it passes at 6:00 a.m. like the other times. Thankfully, it does. And as soon as the doctor’s office opens, I call and make an appointment.

When I get to the doctor, she orders a slew of tests. Blood work, an abdominal ultrasound — even a poo test (collecting that specimen is a lovely at-home procedure, by the way). I go in the next day for the ultrasound. The tech spends a lot of time taking pictures of my right side. Not so much on the left. I find out why a couple days later.

My upper right abdomen currently houses a ginormous gallstone. Time for more tests.

{Disclaimer: The ultrasound pictured isn’t mine}

{Ready for Part Two? Go here.}

← Previous post

Next post →

1 Comment

  1. Karen Michaelson

    Have it out and be done with it. If you put it off you can get complications (like I did) and then you will have a giant scar all the way up your middle instead of a tiny slit.

Tell me what you think