A Riddle Solved, or, How to Lose Weight by Fear of Pain

Well, it’s been a bit since I had opportunity to update here. I’m still unpacking the new apartment and feeling the press of time as we only have a week to vacate the old apartment completely. There are some random odds and ends still there, mostly books and the like. We were going to work on it this weekend but we had the kids for all three days, and time was, of course, very limited.

We’ve decided to do some nightly moving after Hottie gets home from work. It’s too hot in the daytime for me to worry about packing up the Snugglebug and driving to the new place while I try to pack things and then haul it all back. Summer. Florida. Humidity. Enough said. Of course, since the Snugglebug is sleeping through the night, there is that anxiety I have about leaving him sleeping alone anywhere for any length of time. However, I came upon the bright idea of using our cell phones as a baby monitor. I’d call Hottie’s phone, and we’d leave it next to Snugglebug on the bed, while we used mine on speaker to hear anything.

Since our new apartment and old apartment are in the same complex, it would take us less than 2 or 3 minutes to get from one to the other if he did happen to wake up. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

I’ve lost five pounds. After the horrible experiences of the previous week, including the aftermath of Texas de Brazil and Red Lobster, which I’ll elaborate on in a moment, I’ve been afraid to eat anything more serious than french toast. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

Thursday before last (15th) I woke up shortly after I went to bed in the worst pain of my life. This was worse than labor pain, because at least with labor pain I could threaten bodily harm on a nurse if she did not get me some pain killers RIGHT FUCKING NOW! Oh no. This was agony without relief. The pain was centered right below my breastbone, and I truly thought it was only heartburn, or MAYBE an ulcer, and revenge for the ketchup and tomatoes I had eaten earlier. I should be so lucky. For a couple hours I writhed on the floor, crying, with Hottie worriedly hovering over me and asking me if I wanted to go to the hospital. He looked up home remedies for ulcers and went to the store, returning with more Pepto, this time in liquid form, and bananas. But nothing helped. About half an hour after the Pepto, my stomach rebelled. After that, the pain too-slowly receeded to a manageable ache, something I’ve been living with since then.

I called my doctor the next morning and begged to be seen ASAP. She fortunately was able to see me the following day. She thought it was ulcers as well, and handed me a box of Prilosec. However, I was unable to start taking them as nursing while taking that kind of medication is a HUGE no-no. So the Prilosec sits unopened, which actually works out, because I end up not needing it anyway.

She gives me a referral to have an abdominal ultrasound and a barium swallow. I’ve heard things about barium, so I’m a little concerned but I make the appointment. Anything is better than the pain. They also draw my blood to check for the bacteria that causes ulcers. The nurse was amazingly gentle, and despite the huge bruise I had later, the draw went easy for me. Fast forward to the other diagnostics.

I could TELL when the tech was doing my ultrasound that she’d found something. You just know. They keep going over the same spot and measuring things, have you roll around a bit, go back to the same spot and measure some more. Yeah, I was suspecting something. The barium was a lot easier than I expected. They stand you against a large machine, have you drink some fizzy, THEN have you drink the barium. Now, the fizzy is typical carbonate that tastes vagely of orange and isn’t so bad. The barium, though… I could tell they TRIED to make it taste … well, I hesitate to use the word “good” so I’ll settle for “not bad”. They tried to make it taste it not bad. It was thick like a bad smoothie and tasted like… well I can’t remember, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. They watched everything go down, had me turn, took x-rays, had me turn some more. Then they told me to lean my head against the back of the contraption, whereupon they FLIPPED the whole thing backwards so instead of standing, I was laying on my back. They sloshed me around a little more and took more pictures.

The blood tests came back perfectly fine, everything normal on that end. But I KNEW that the technician had found something. Sure enough, the next day, the nurse calls me and says my ultrasound came back positive for gallstones and mild reflux.

Well! The reflux I’m not worried about. I tend to watch what I eat anyway, drink low acid orange juice and whatnot, but I’m glad it wasn’t ulcers. But gallstones? Oy. I called my mom with the news and she says “Oh yeah! Your brother and aunt both had theirs removed.” Oh, so there’s precedent! Well that makes me feel better. My doctor refers me to a surgeon to have things explained to me.

Today I went to see that surgeon. He’s the type of guy who blinks with his whole face, I’m sure you’ve seen that. He explains laparoscopy for me, even though I knew what it was already, and went over the reports with me. Turns out I have a 2cm gallstone sitting at the top of the gallbladder. 2cm, for those not well-versed in metrics, is a little less than an inch… about the size of a quarter. Doesn’t seem TOO big, but when you consider that the gallblader is about the size of a thumb… no WONDER I was in pain.

He then says there’s no rush, relieving one of my biggest worries. Obviously I cannot nurse the Snugglebug if I’m to be doped up and put under for a surgery, then spend an overnight in the hospital for observation. However, if I can wait a few weeks or a couple months, Snugglebug will be on his way to being weaned a bit and eating cereal. Recovery takes about a week on average. I’m hoping that someone other than Hottie will be able to stay here and help me for that period of time.

I’ve never had surgery in my entire life, but I can think of worse things to need removed. Maybe I’ll have surgery for my birthday in August!

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