Kickin’ Stones

I met with my surgeon today, it was interesting. My surgeon is a female which I think is kind of cool. I think every doctor I’ve had in my life save the Obstetrician I got assigned last minute during my last weeks of pregnancy with Sean has been a man so it is refreshing to see a woman excelling.

Her office is in an older building fairly close to the hospital I will be having the surgery at. It had a small waiting room, I think five chairs so there was always someone standing. I think she books her appointments fairly close together too. Tom waited downstairs to give someone waiting for the doctor sitting room. I sat there fidgeting nervously. We got there way early. That is just who I am, I HATE being late for appointments, who needs the stress? So instead I’m usually there tapping my fingers and cursing the slow moving hands of time.

When I’m nervous I tend to laugh at the most inappropriate things and I had the WORST time with a poor fellow sitting next to me who I will call Mr. Twitch and click. He was VERY nice and I know he couldn’t help it (the poor guy!) but he was talking incessantly on his cell phone and his arm would involuntarily jab outwards and his teeth would click together. After a while the sound of the clicks just had a burble of laughter forming in my chest and I had to keep clearing my throat to stop it from popping out. See! I’m awful! Normally I would be sitting there feeling sorry for the guy and somewhat annoyed by the elbow jabs and the two ladies who insisted on talking loudly the whole time, not to mention the fact that I mean HELLO doctor’s office! Cell phones shouldn’t be used! But instead no, I tried to quash inappropriate giggles.

So when they finally called my name and set me up in the exam room at the end of the hall I fidgeted some more, paced a bit and snapped a picture of myself..(yeah I’m a dork).
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And the picture of the digestive system on the wall..
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Lovely eh? Is the gallbladder really green? I don’t remember my basic anatomy and I’m not sure if we covered the colour of organs in biology class… anyway I digress.

The surgeon comes in and introduces herself and flips open my chart. I take it my GP had faxed over the details of my tests along with some notes of his own and the first thing she says is “Well, I don’t like those levels!” gazing at the blood tests I had done. She said it was missing the most important test, the one for bilirubin levels. She asked if I had that done, umm I dunno. She asked me if I had turned yellow at all. (Again with the yellow question, I’m thinking the fact I WASN’T yellow at some point is making me a freak!) I said no. She asked me if I had gone to emergency with any of my attacks, thinking that the blood work was done there after a particularly nasty attack where she feels that the stones for a time were blocking my duct (hence the high liver enzymes) and was surprised when I told her no, that I had them done after a doctor visit. I guess normal people go to emergency for these things?

She asked me when my first and subsequent attacks were and how long they lasted. She nodded and made notes. She asked me if I was in any pain now and I told her that it has been, oh I’d say a week and a half where I didn’t feel like I had been sucker punched in my liver. She smiled and nodded and said good. She figures that my levels should be down a little now. I’m all for lower levels. That shit kind of scared me.

She asked me about any operations I’ve had if any (just a tubal ligation) and if there is any cancer in the family. I told her yes indeed, my Mother had cancer of the gallbladder. She paused and looked up and exclaimed “REALLY? That is very rare!”. She asked if it was incidental discovery (during routine GB surgery). Yes indeed it was and I told her what went down and the complication from her surgery. She asked if they did a liver resection. I told her that they remove some tumors from the liver, but that my Mom 4 years later is still kicking. She scribbled a few things down. I have a feeling she’s gonna be asking my doc for the family history. I didn’t even get a chance to elaborate on the fact my Dad died of cancer.. oh well.

She pulled up a chair beside me and started to draw the digestive system and what exactly was happening. She said that the gallbladder was squeezing the stones would pop up into the duct and if a couple went together would cause a blockage for a while, the stones dislodged and she figures moved on down the duct which caused all the back up and then moved on umm out. The gallbladder then emptied of bile and the next little suckers lined up for the journey (bastards!)

She said what could happen if a blockage occurs and it isn’t dealt with was pancreatitis which she said is something altogether different and that we would want to avoid at all costs. (deal!) She said that there were some risks with surgery which I already knew about (thanks innernets!) where I could get the chronic diarrhea or during surgery they could have complications like bleeding from the ducts or duct damage etc but small risks. There is also some kind of pain after they come out that some people get that they can’t really explain but that is rare too. She figures around 95% of the surgeries are camera and 5% turn into full on open surgeries based on complications that can occur. Still pretty good odds.

She said “Well that gallbladder should come out based on what I see!” She asked if I had any objection (I didn’t!) and then said, “ok now for the bad news…”

“It will take a while?” I guessed.

Alas yes. The summer has been allocated at the hospital for other cases and even though I don’t need a bed (day surgery and all) that the operating rooms are spoken for. She said there is a chance that they have scheduled an operating room and there are no beds available so I could sneak in there with pretty short notice. Hey dude, I’m there!

She said she guarantees that it will be done before Christmas and said she would do what she can to get me in before that. I guess I can’t ask for much more than that. Short of turning yellow and completely blocking my duct I’m on a waiting list. I guess the good news is that I’m a higher priority than some person who has had only one attack. Four within a short window makes me a bit more of a big deal.

So after the consult she gave me some papers to fill in for pre-surgical admission and a form to take to my doctor for exam to clear me for surgery (routine) along with an updated blood work requirement. He faxes that stuff over and then they will contact me with my tentative surgery date. I guess it will be the one unless something opens up last minute or I get bumped. Crossing my fingers that this goes by quickly.

So other bad news is, no traveling for me until this is taken care of. She did confirm that insurance would treat this as a preexisting condition and would not cover me for any attacks or any hospitalization while out of BC. Sooo, we put travel plans on hold for now. IF by some miracle I get in before August we can plan a trip to Cali but if not, it’s a trip to the Island for a few days and then we can plan a trip to say Florida or something maybe in January or Feb. At any rate, we’re not gonna take any chances with my health of the health of our finances!

So tomorrow I call Dr. Giggles and set the rest of this stuff in motion. Not that I’m looking forward to being cut open (even just a few holes) or the lovely post surgery pukes from the anesthetic but I AM looking forward to not being grossed out by the thought that I’m carrying around those sick looking stones in my body. Never ever google image that stuff I tell ya it will HAUNT you for days.

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