Ok, so there is this dirty little word that I have managed to keep out of my vocabulary for all of my life, actually, until now – surgery. It is a simple, seven-letter word with a very broad meaning that can cover a multitude of issues. Unfortunately, for me, it was not by choice, it was by emergency.
Webster’s primary definition calls it “the art, practice, or work of treating diseases, injuries, or deformities by manual or operative procedures.” Well, that makes it perfectly clear, right? In my case, it was the art of ripping a malfunctioning organ out of the body while hosting a roller derby party inside my abdomen. At least, that is what it feels like.
So, what is a gallbladder? How many of you could either identify this organ inside of the body or its purpose and function without research? (Point worthy of note - I am not convinced a lot of hands are raised right now.) As this emergency unfolded, I was berated by a medical professional as to how I could not possibly have recognized severe symptoms months ago. Really, Doc? I do not even know what this 3.15-inch x 1.57-inch demon tool does. How would I identify symptoms?
Ok, so I have been suffering notable progressive pain for what I thought was degenerative spinal osteoarthritis. But there was no external tenderness or any reason to think it was anything otherwise. Pain is pain; it is relative. I have learned to suck it up and move on.
Turns out that this little pear-shaped organ located below the liver stores bile secreted by the liver. During and after a fatty meal, the gallbladder contracts, delivering the bile through the bile ducts into the intestines to help with digestion.
So, I guess the ungodly pain I experienced after my Sunday night meal of a Spanish Coney dog with onions, fried onion rings, and full-fat soft-serve ice cream should have been a clue. How could I not know I had just gotten a bad dog?
Thankfully, I am recovering very comfortably. Watching every gram of fat ingested for a while is my new challenge. I am told eventually my digestive system will adjust and my life-long love of cheesy pepperoni pizza, BBQ ribs, lemon pound cake with buttercream frosting, and ice cream will be accepted without a raging attack by a vengefully sadistic bowel.
Officially, at the ripe old age of never-you-mind, I am now a resident expert on the gallbladder. Isn’t that fabulous knowing I will never again need this knowledge? Life is just a jokester on steroids. Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.
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