O What Fun

(This was written two months ago. Reading my account now, it's almost hard to believe that all happened. My grandmother - apparently malfunctioning gallbladders are genetic, so if you're related to me, look out ;) - said the pain is worse than child labor. Good to know. Babies should be a cinch! :) I am now 1 month post surgery, happily well on the road to recovery. After this experience my heart goes out so much more to those who experience chronic pain, every day, with no surgery or medicine capable of relief. While surgery is not the most fun I've ever had, I was so thankful I had that option.)

Last night we were visited again by the ferocious, you’ll never quite know when it will pounce, gallbladder attack. I thought Round 1 was rough. Round 2 was worse. However, after surviving Round 1, we already had all the supplies needed to counter the attack. Supplies obtained by a husband who walked two miles in the cold at 4 am to get to a 24 hour drug store. The medicine that offered the only hope of some small relief. Because of Round 1, at least we knew now more what to expect. I jumped out of bed, that wild, fearful look in my eyes, knowing what was to come. 

I stripped as quickly as I could and jumped into the shower, doubled over, powerless to stop the cries of pain escaping my lips. I huddled under the hot water, longing for the relief of my childhood, that the cure-all shower could always bring. But relief does not come. It cannot happen here because this time it's not a tummy ache or congested head. It’s uncontrollable, pounding pain that starts in my side and floods my chest. I struggle to stand as the vomiting starts. My husband is waiting there with a pot, trying to save the shower drain from the demise of a dinner that never had the chance to be digested. I shudder and hack, watching food that was delicious only hours ago, leave my body in a rancid form of what it once was. I hand the pot back and my husband goes to get the pain killers. The pill goes down, and stays down. I stand in the water again, wishing I could will the ache away. I turn then, and find my husband standing in the shower with me. At that moment, a new sensation momentarily overrides the pain - the quiet reassuring presence of the man who is ready to ride this out with me. While the pain rips anew through my side, my strength is bolstered. 

He holds me as I cry dry, shallow sobs, my body’s feeble attempt to vent pain that has nowhere to go. I cry, “O God, O God!,” over and over, surprised and ashamed at my own profanities, and yet nothing else comes to my mind to say. My husband jokingly suggests trying another language which makes me smile despite the pain. I try to laugh, then realize with a gasp I cannot. Somehow, I land on trees, tree names, list them all, every one I could think of, North American to exotic! Anything to get my mind off of the pain. Spruce, Ginkgo, Iron Wood, Maple, Red Oak... Another round of medicine goes down, this one to stave off the nausea. I hold onto the consolation, my only consolation, that the pain will subside. Given time, it will pass. I start to grow sleepy now, my body struggling to reconcile weariness and pain. It’s been two hours and finally, relief starts to come. My limbs are shaking. At last, at last, the pain is subsiding. 

I crawl into bed, naked, wet and cold. My husband props me up on pillows. The pain ebbs, I drift to sleep.... I awake, 7 hours later, stiff and sore, cold and achy, but free from the nightmarish pain. I snuggle into my husband’s back as he lays next to me, also spent from the ordeal. I wrap my arms around him and whisper, “Thank you. Thank you so much for what you did last night.”

I get out my laptop and start the hunt for a local surgeon. It’s time to get this thing out.


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