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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Goodbye Gall Bladder

Three years ago I started having pain in the upper right portion of my stomach.  It was very sore but I didn't think much of it the first couple of times I had it.

Let me take a step back and give some history.  When I was in 6th grade I had some pain in my upper right abdominal area.  It hurt to eat or drink and I was out of school for probably about 6 weeks or so.  I had test after test in the hospital but the doctors never found anything wrong.  Eventually it was chalked up to stress or poor digestion or something.  I grew out of it and didn't have any pain for years until about three years ago.

This pain was different from what I remember from when I was 11.  The first couple of times I had it I thought it was indigestion.  I used some online symptom checkers and the pain was consistant with gall bladder pain, or cancer, or gas.  That's the problem with the Internet as a diagnostic tool, it doesn't really narrow down your disease it just gives you a range of best and worst case scenarios.

Since I assumed it was either minor gall bladder attacks or indigestion or potentially a whole lot of nothing like the pain from years before I ignored it.  I probably had about one attack per month from then on out.  Eliminating significant amounts of fat from my diet pretty much controlled it so I wasn't too worried about it.  About six months ago the attacks started happening more regularly and were much more severe in duration and severity.  I finally decided to seek medical attention when I was in bed all day on Christmas.  I did want to wait until after the first of the year though because I was out of sick and vacation time, I could of course get FMLA time but it's unpaid so waiting a week made sense.

I went through January with no attacks and had one around Valentine's day.  I finally decided to call the doctor and get whatever it was taken care of.  My physician just suggested that I go into the emergency room because they would do testing right away so I did that.  The sonogram showed stones and my blood tests were normal but my gall bladder wasn't inflamed so they didn't operate right away and suggested I see a surgeon ASAP.

I went to see the surgeon the next week, he reviewed the charts and said that my pain was "consistent" with gall bladder symptoms and suggested I get it removed sometime.  He suggested I lose some weight and come back in 2 to three months but that it could be done sooner if I needed it.  The day after I saw him I had my worst attack ever, it lasted for three days.  It was time to get it out.

Thursday I went into the hospital to get it taken out.  I was super worried as to whether or not I'd be able to have it taken out with open surgery or with the laproscopic method .  I felt good when I woke up from surgery.  Better than I'd felt in months.  My blood pressure had been super high whenever I'd had it checked in the months before the surgery but when I came to it was normal.  I felt a whole good sense of well being and I'm sure I made the right choice.

So now I'm at home recovering.  I'm still on pain pills and from time to time I feel crazily high.  I went off them last night for a few hours and the pain got pretty severe.  However I'm up and walking, I even did a shopping trip with the family to Wal Mart today so I'm feeling much better than I feared I would and even somewhat better than I expected I would.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cannery Row

Man I love Steinbeck, love him!

This book was not a disappointment.  It wasn't as much of a novel as a group of short stories with a thin novel thread running through it.  It's like the Canterbury Tales on steroids.

The characters are all so interesting, almost each one has a chapter or two devoted to them.  You could probably read the stories in any order, they're arranged chronologically but you could probably put them in a deck and shuffle them and come out with something unique and powerful.

This book is written about the period right after the depression but right before WWII, this time period was still considered to be in the depression but the economy was past the low point.  Things weren't as bad as they were but they certainly hadn't picked up.

So I say yes yes yes read this book.  it's a rewarding experience.