Put a gallstone over here and a gallstone over there

Put a lot of mid-sized gallstones sitting at the bottom of your gallbladder everywhere everywhere,

It’s a let’s take your gallbladder out kind of day kind of day,
It’s a gallbladder kind of day.
So, there’s about 8 mid-sized gallstones sitting in the bottom of my gallbladder.
Don’t be alarmed, apparently about 1 in 10 adults has gallstones and the best way to deal with them is to whip that pesky pear-shaped organ out.
Pay attention, there’ll be a quiz later. First prize will be one of my gallstones. Bronzed.
Anyway, the gallbladder sits on the underside of your liver on the upper right hand side of your stomach. If you get a fairly regular pain on that side, up under your ribs, a gnawing kind of discomfort pain where you feel like you can’t really get a good deep breath, go on and make an appointment with your GP.
What happens is the gallbladder squeezes bile into the small intestine every time we eat. If you have gallstones then that bile can’t flow smoothly as they block what’s called the cystic duct and you get associated pain in the upper abdomen, back pain, nausea, vomiting and other delights.
Things can go significantly awry if the stone moves down to the common bile duct and you’ll end up with jaundice and pancreatitis, by which time you’re in real trouble.
So what’s in these little stones of joy?
Cholesterol apparently.
Which is interesting considering my cholesterol is sub-normally low at 2.7.
But get this, gallstones have been linked to:
– multiple pregnancies (tick)
– obesity (tick)
– rapid weight loss (tick)
– ageing (sigh. tick)
– gender – more women than men get them (tick)
– some ethnic groups (brrrrr)
Apparently, when you’re pregnant the consistency of your bile changes (it gets thicker and more crystalline) and makes it more predisposed to form stones.
Combine that with the fact you need eostrogen to make gallstones and voila! here you go Ms allconsuming, your gallstones are ready. My surgeon suspects that I’ve produced a couple with each pregnancy. Awesome. Stretch marks, weight I can’t shift, droopage of everything and gallstones.
Because I’ve had pain on and off for the last 10 years (shut up, I just thought it was because I’d over-eaten or was too fat or something) and that this year the symptoms have been a lot more pronounced and consistent (the pain, the nausea, the vomiting, the bloating, the my GOD I am so attractive right now) these puppies have to come out sooner rather than later.
So basically, they make four small incisions, pump you full of carbon dioxide, dig around your insides and suck all the relevant parts out, hopefully don’t leave any medical gear in there and then stitch me up. This is called a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. I call it one of the many miracles of modern surgery.
If the stones were smaller and floating around, then my surgeon would have whipped me in next week due to the whole risk of pancreatitis but as mine are mid-sized and are all having a snuggle together at the bottom of my gallbladder it’s when it suits me.
Yeah, like any surgical procedure of any nature whatsoever is ever going to ‘fit in’ with my life.
Combine this with the fact I’d only just upped our health insurance to cover private hospital as well as public (which meant we took a much higher excess) so they won’t cover me in a private hospital and I was going to be hit for the higher excess (more than double our previous cover) to go to a public hospital, I was all ‘so I’m screwed’.
Then – after a delightful hour on the phone with my insurer – when we reworked the new cover to a lower excess I rang the surgeon’s secretary to say we’d have to do it at the local public hospital and she was all ‘oh, well you’ve got a bit of a wait’ – to which I was thinking, no shit sherlock – and then gave me a date in August.
Sweet. In that oh my goodness I have to go to hospital and have a general but at least I’ll stop feeling so crook after eating anything kind of way.
Then I asked her about some plan which would mean I wouldn’t be hit for any of the surgeon’s fees and she said it didn’t matter anyway as I’d be in as a public patient. Oh right. Sure.
Sweet. In that awesome I don’t have to even fork out my excess kind of way.
And that, my dear friends, is that.