Thirty years ago I experienced a full-blown gallbladder attack. It was pretty bad. So, I went to the local hospital and they said they’d schedule me in for immediate surgery. I declined, “Unh, I would prefer to keep my organs, ya know?”
The ER doc replied, “You won’t feel that way at 2:00 in the morning.”
At 2:00 a.m. the pain was so intense, I cancelled the ambulance Sal called because I was sure I’d be dead within minutes. I lay prostrate before the great Porcelain God and passed out. But instead of my passing really out (dead), I only passed the stone and fully recuperated. Mind you, it felt like I had experienced a hot spear stuck in my chest for the better part of six hours prior to that. All in, from start to finish, my first encounter with Gall stones was something like 8, maybe 10 hours.
Last week I got some kind of chest pain/inflammation and that, coupled with inexplicably intense bursts of pain, made me think about Shingles! Don’t ask why…that was my first thought. The next few thoughts got impressively bleaker. But, after a few days of increasing discomfort, I realized that I was experiencing yet another gall bladder attack. And every day the pain got worse. By last Saturday night, I was not surprised when the hot spear feeling returned…with a vengeance. I called the local doctor.
Long story short: a ton of heavy drugs (with a large handful of Oxycodone before midnight and Morphine injected at 3:00 am) and I ‘rode out the worst of the storm’. But this time I did not pass the stone…..probably just dislodged it back into the bladder…..only to have it likely rise again another day.
You do not want to eat anything at a time like that. And that has been going on now for almost four days. I drink only mint tea. Sal gave me the shots (and two other injected muscle relaxants as well). On the superficial face of it, it was kinda macho, true grit, OTG stuff.
“OOooohh…I could never live way out there without a hospital nearby or something…”
But here’s the surprise: my local doctor said that common initial therapy has the patient infused with pain killers and relaxants for a period of time (72 hours max) and this often results in the stone passing of it’s own accord. If the stone does NOT pass, they go in and take out the gallbladder.
In other words; if you had a gall bladder attack in the city they would ‘process you’ the exact same way as I was. The only difference is that my stone eventually subsided and I stayed home the whole time. You would be first going to see a doctor and waiting patiently in the waiting room, then going to the hospital, then you would have waited patiently in the hospital emergency room forever and then you’d be on some gurney for a few hours and then they would have sent you home or, in 10% of the cases, to the surgery.
I dunno…I’ve been down both roads now on gallbladders and this way strikes me as the more sane.
I do not feel good enough yet to feel ‘pleased’ about whatever the outcome might eventually be and I still have to go for scans and ultrasounds and crap but medicine OTG is not a great deal harder or worse than in the city*. And that is NOT the way we think about it, is it?
* I think it is actually better because our local doctor knows us all personally and acts in a manner logical and consistent with the circumstances and constraints we are all under. And he never wanders off during an examination. During those same days, we had the ‘big storm’ and even tho I would go anyway if I had to, he was aware that traveling in a storm using small boat and logging roads would be uncomfortable. He simply transferred the hospital treatments to me and Sal. The ‘drug deal’ took place half-way from his house to Sal in the middle of the forest just before dark. It helps that Sal worked in a hospital for decades. That kind of relationship is HUGE!!!!