Not that long ago, my family doctor asked me if I’d ever had a history of gallstones.
“Sure,” I said, “They first told me about them when I was about 18.”
“How often do you get attacks?” he asked.
“Once, and that was about 20yrs ago. Put me in the hospital for ten days looped out of my mind on painkillers.”
“Do they bother you now?”
“Do you ever get a feeling of pressure or discomfort?”
“No.” [not strictly true but pretty much]
“I think I’ll send you in for an ultrasound, just in case.” I shrugged.
I go for the ultrasound and about a week later, I get a call: “I’m referring you to a specialist.”
A day or two later, I get a phone call: “Can you be in next Friday?”
The specialist said “I don’t like the look of your ultrasound – I’ve booked you for surgery on Tuesday.”
“Sure, whatev- wait, what!?”
He said I’d be “right as rain” in a week or so, then another week before I could lift anything heavy again.
Then during surgery, they discovered an umbilical hernia I certainly never knew I had (but it explained the curious shape of my stomach that I’d never asked the doctor about, figuring it didn’t really matter). I asked if that changed anything and was told “not especially”.
You know what? They lied! Those really nice nurses and the super sweet anaesthesiologist and the specialist – they lied to me!
It’s been six days and while the all-day pain has gone away, I still double over when I have to stand up, sit down, get up out of bed (which I can do now in about five minutes – the first few mornings, we’re talking nearly half an hour!). Thursday, the staples come out (like, fourteen of them!) and that so does not sound like fun: the remover is a funky little deal with one blade top centred centred over two on the bottom. They crimp the staple, which causes the ends to flare up and out they come.
Like this, only on my stomach and IN my belly button – IN it! As in, “IN”! Six of them! My poor bellybutton. The discovery that they were able to fit six freakin’ staples IN my bellybutton makes me feel…. I dunno, “violated” somehow.
This week is gonna suck.