Gallbladder? I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Gallbladder!












It all started about midnight Monday. I couldn’t sleep. The pain started on the right and moved around and then settled in the upper right abdominal. I decided to take some aspirin. Bad idea. That was when the vomiting started.

About 2 pm on Tuesday I decided to do some serious Internet investigating. You have probably gathered by now that doctors are a last resort. I really don’t like to go to the doctor. So I was reading about kidney stones, gastritis, and then I came across gallbladders. That was when it got interesting. It sounded like it could be very bad if not treated.

Okay, so I called the nurse. She said I should probably see the doctor. The doctor was fully booked so they sent me to urgent care. At this point I was in a lot of pain. The kind where you can’t sit still because it is too much to handle. I had stopped vomiting because I already ejected everything possible and then some.

I did not eat anything from Monday evening on. I stopped liquids Tuesday afternoon.

5:30 pm Tuesday – Urgent care gave me morphine and an anti nausea drug and had me start drinking barium for the CT scan. The morphine knocked me out. I was all spacey but not feeling any pain. I managed to keep down the barium and survived my CT scan. This took 4 hours.

The verdict – I had one gallstone and some “sludge” in there with it. Apparently this was not good. The gallbladder had to come out. At midnight I was on my way to the hospital.

2 am – Tucked into my hospital bed with a saline drip and an antibiotic drip hooked up. More morphine. My mouth felt like the Sahara desert. I could not muster a drop of saliva.

There were no operating rooms available the next day but they were hoping to squeeze me in someplace. I slept the whole day…between morphine doses. Unfortunately the morphine gave me a horrible headache. Or maybe it was because I hadn’t eaten in two days. Anyway, more pain. I was miserable.

At 8 pm on Wednesday the call came for the operating room. My anesthesiologist liked my nail polish. Not sure how it happened but somehow they slipped me something and four hours later I was returned to my hospital bed, gallbladder- free.

My gallbladder was in really bad shape. They said it must have been deteriorating for quite some time and I was a really tough person to put up with it so long. I started thinking about it. I had been having aches and pains for a long time. I thought it was just part of getting old or maybe I needed a new bed. I was thinking I might mention it to the doctor next time I went because it never seemed to get any better. But it was tolerable.

The major revelation was I felt so much better after that darn thing came out I couldn’t believe it. I mean right away. I felt good.

I have to put in a plug for all the caretakers involved from the surgeon to the cleaning lady. I had amazing, attentive, involved care. I could go on about all the great people I met. Truly wonderful people. I hear lots of comments and complaints about The American Healthcare System. I know it has its problems. But wait till you get sick! You might change your mind.

Of course I have good insurance and don’t know yet what my cost will be but for now I am basking in the afterglow!

A few interesting facts I learned about gallbladders:

It is a small thing right under the liver
It stores bile produced by the liver
After eating, the gallbladder squeezes bile into the small intestine where it helps digest fat
Once removed, your body needs to figure out other ways to digest the fat
Usually it can, but the diet needs to be low fat at least until it figures it out

Isn’t science interesting?


  1. Oh gosh, Kathleen, you’ve had tough days! I wish you a speedy recovery. I’m glad that you’re already well enough to write πŸ˜‰ I love your positive way you write about all that happened.

  2. Went through something like this a few weeks ago; turned out to be diverticulitis. I was in the ER for tests, including CT Scan, etc….Just got the bill (paid by my insurance, thank God) = $14,000.00. The time spent in the ER was about six hours.

  3. OMG, what a harrowing experience, but so glad you are feeling so much better now. How does a gallbladder get in such bad shape? Guess I should do some Internet research to find out. I’m just like youβ€”hate to go to the doctor, and so I let things go too long. Best wishes to you for a speedy total recovery.

  4. Welcome to the club!! Mine came out last year, but at least it was planned. On a positive note, you will feel a lot better, but watch your diet – not just the fat. I’m having tests done now to find causes for digestive issues!!

  5. okay, the obvious upside to all of this has to be that you lived thru all the pain and waiting and craziness..and clearly fell in ‘fatuated’ with your caregivers. We are all collectively relieved. But jeez louise, Kath….whaddaya mean ‘a low fat diet’???!!

  6. whoa! so pleased to hear you are feeling much better now the darn things gone!
    I’m booked into have mine out this Friday!!! My biggest fear being ‘put to sleep’ but you have eased my fears… looks like they do it quite sneakily!! πŸ˜‰

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