Wednesday, September 29, 2010

pain in the... side

Last Friday I started feeling kind of icky and stomach achey and I thought I'd eaten something bad. So I switched to mild food (no grease, etc.) and it was a little better. But by Monday I was really in bad shape. It was this constant squeezing pain under my stomach and across my ribs. I took the day off of work because I had a low fever and just was feeling lousy.

Tuesday morning I had a big meeting at work, so I had to be at the office early but after the meeting was done, I left to go home and moan and whine by myself. I ended up going to the walk-in clinic (I've been sick so infrequently that I don't have a regular doctor that I go to). They stuck me in a room that was a blend of storage (check out all those crutches!) and an emergency operating room. I had to sit on a gurney, surrounded by crazy surgical lights and various monitoring machines. Naturally, to pass the time, I brought an embroidery project.


After my exam, the doctor sent me across the hall to radiology to get an ultrasound. The technician was a very nice Asian lady with this tiny, soothing voice that would coo at me "take a deep breath.... hold it... goooooooood. Very goooooooood." and it took everything I had not to laugh. She was like a relaxation tape or hypnotist or something.

When she started scanning my gallbladder, I could see the problem myself. She didn't say anything (the technicians don't diagnose, they have to send the images to be read by a doctor) but I could clearly see two stones sitting in there. Lucky me! Gallstones!

Stitching & sonograms

After that, I went back to the doctor who basically said that I could "wait and see" -- essentially, try to manage the pain and avoid "trigger" foods (generally, foods with fat) and see if it calms down on its own. Unless it's extremely painful or I have a high fever, there's not an immediate danger. So basically, I can just grin and bear it or make an appointment with a surgeon. Because the gallbladder isn't a required organ, usually it is just removed if there are stones inside. But since this is my first "attack" and generally the pain is more or less bearable, I'm not in a rush to schedule surgery. I'll be seeing an internist, so hopefully we'll get it all settled and I'll be back to 100% soon!

Instead of surgery, I'm now being spurred to action on eating better. Plus, there's lots of reasons to think this is tied to some other endocrine system hiccups that are causing me problems (like triggering all the migraines that I've had recently). So, as soon as I'm feeling a wee bit better, I'm going to be getting my butt back in action (more bike riding! More walks around the lake!).


kym said...

Glad you are better and you know what the problem is.

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Chris Jepsen said...

One more bit of evidence to prove my theory about the link between adorable orange kittens and gall stones.

Drucilla Pettibone said...

so sorry to hear! sounds like an awful episode. healthcare gives me a big pain in the ... side too. take good care of yourself :)

can't help but love the stitching at the doc photos. did they ask about it?

bascom hogue said...

I will not allow you to be ill. Away demons of the gallbladder.

ponyinarope said...

I had my gallbladder removed a few years back. Since I didn't have insurance when my problems started, I waited until it got to the "extremely painful" stage (a long time later) before seeing a doctor. By the time I had my surgery, they had to make the incisions twice as big because the stone was so large. But everything worked out just fine and I even stitched myself a new one. As a bonus, my other organs now have more room!


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