An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Matters of the heart, the finale

I am right this second sitting in the waiting room outside the surgery wing at a local hospital. A few minutes ago I watched a resident wheel Jon down the hall toward the room where he would be put under anesthesia to have his gallbladder removed. Did you guys know they won’t let us keep it when it’s out? I asked, because, you know, KEEPSAKE, and the doctor was like THERE ARE LAWS AGAINST THIS BECAUSE OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU.

Prepping for surgery

What kind of people am I? It’s not like I’m going to do something illegal with Jon’s gallbladder, how is that even possible? You can’t smoke it and get high, right? I just want to dehydrate it and pin it to a linen-lined shadow box. And then print out a vintage-looking label that says, “GALLSIES! JUNE 2, 2011”

Hang that piece of handmade artwork in the entryway, and BOOM, I’m an honorary Mormon.

(Wait, I was baptized into the Mormon church which technically means I’m still a Mormon. OH I HOPE MY BISHOP DOESN’T FIND THIS WEBSITE.)

So, yeah. It’s his gallbladder. That’s been the problem this whole time. A few weeks ago he got a hida scan (a nuclear imaging procedure that evaluates the health of one’s gallbladder), only after he demanded it from his doctor who wanted to wave the whole thing off as a sore muscle. I’ll repeat that: A SORE MUSCLE. If sore muscles feel like a heart attack, then I’m having a heart attack in my hamstrings RIGHT NOW THANK GOD I’M ALREADY AT THE HOSPITAL.

Because that’s what Jon’s been feeling like since January. Like he’s having a heart attack, all the time. All day. And it’s taken this long and this many tests and this many hospital bills to figure out the problem, yet, do you know how common this is? Once we found out the diagnosis it’s like every person who has ever had their gallbladder removed has appeared in my life to say, “Oh that! I had MY gallbladder removed and wow! I no longer feel like I’m having a heart attack!”

My uncle! Cami’s mother! The woman next to me on the treadmill! My chiropractor’s secretary! YOU, probably!

And yet, Jon had to beg for the test. And you know what that test showed? That test showed that while normal gallbladders perform some function at the rate of 35 or higher (some technical/medical gibberish for how it’s supposed to work), Jon’s was barely managing a seven. They were like, WHOA! DUDE! I bet you feel like you’re having a heart attack!

(If ever there were a punch-to-the-ballsack deserving moment.)

So, here we are. Gallbladder surgery has apparently come a long way in recent years, meaning they no longer cut open your entire abdomen and gut all your intestines or something like that. Two incisions. Minimally invasive. He’ll recover for a couple of hours here and then I’ll take him home and rub his head and let him watch episode after episode of “Top Gear” and I won’t tell him once that he’s acting like a total baby.


And then maybe he’ll wake up tomorrow or the next day without feeling like he’s dying.

  • thesoutherngirl

    Oh damn dude. He feel like 100% better after it’s all said and done. I felt like I had a baby foot constantly kicking the shit outta me. My HIDA scan showed mine completely dead, not working at all. So, yeah he will probably feel like a new person tomorrow. Get well soon!

  • Dagmar

    For fuck’s sake, doctors are so strangely and stupidly pigheaded sometimes.

    Here’s to Jon finding the relief he’s been denied for the last six months.

  • edna pooplydoop

    Yeah… I had my Gallbladder removed years ago. It took doctors literally 5 months to figure out what was wrong… The doctors told me I had everything from a pulled muscle to acid reflux. I think my mom ended up diagnosing me. It was the worst pain of my life, I thought I was going to die. It took me about a week to recover. I was so happy to feel well again. I’m sure Jon will understand. 🙂

  • J. Bo

    As a semi-recent hospital refugee (and one who thought maybe gallbladder issues were involved, but I’m just a civilian, so what do I know), I have NOTHING but sympathy and love and compassion for Jon and you and yours.

    PLEASE be well, take care of yourselves/your loves, and keep us posted. You know how we worry.

    J. Bo

  • catwalk

    I had my gallbladder removed last November one week before Thanksgiving. Four little incisions, 2 days of pain meds and just took it easy for a week. My fiance and I shopped for 7 hrs on Black Fri. the day after Thanksgiving! I’m a 54 yr. lady and do 200 situps a day. I am thankful it was an easy surgery and recovery for me. Speedy recovery Jon!

  • Badger

    Wishing a speedy recovery to Jon…

    That doctor is FIT!

  • justlittleoleme

    Best wishes on a speedy recovery!

    There is a medication you can take for the after effects of gall bladder removal. I suffered for a year before I knew that. It is chlorestyramine (sp?) it bonds with the excess bile which is what gives you the trouble. I don’t care if I have to take it the rest of my life!

  • PeachKiss

    So happy they figured it out!
    Just as an aside…I had chopped my finger off making ice cream (seriously) and in my drugged stupor I asked the OR nurse if I could take it home with me and do you know what she did??? She put it in a little jar with some solution (not sure what it was) that she had in the OR and I got to take it home! I still have it in my memory box in the basement. And (!), it still has the flecks of red nail polish on it from when it was severed. I thought my mom was going to pass out when I showed her. It was hilarious.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

  • CherryBop

    Glad to hear he’s doing well! I also think it’s a scam that you’re not allowed to keep your own internal organs. If I were a lawyer I’d be all over that!

    This reminds me of when my mom had surgery for a hernia. They removed the old hernia mesh that had been installed during a previous surgery because it had been rejected by her body. My stepdad, a family friend and I met with the surgeon post-op for a debriefing of her recovery and whatnot, and he assured us that the procedure had gone well, etc. Then he casually reached into his pocket and took out a jar. The jar contained my mom’s old hernia mesh, and I was impressed by his nonchalance.

    When the debriefing was over he asked us if we had any questions and I couldn’t resist. “What ELSE do you have in your pockets?”

    No one else thought this was as funny as I did though. I’m terrible at being the Very Serious And Concerned Daughter.

  • iPattie

    Glad the docs finally figured out the problem. Here’s to a speedy recovery for Jon!

  • Kimberly

    This was totally me too. Thought I was having a heart attack and/or panic attacks off and on for about FIVE YEARS. But I was used to people telling me it was nothing and to lose some weight. And then the pain became unbearable and I went to the right emergency room where the triage nurse had been seeing gallbladder issues all night. They have me an ultrasound and found a stone. Recovery from laparoscopic surgery was not a picnic but it was sure a hell of a lot better than gallbladder pain!

  • tunderwood

    A friend in her-mid-twenties had her gallbladder removed. While the doctor did not let her keep the gallbladder itself, he did save all the gallstones. She used a dentist drill to turn them into beads, then mixed them with some other interesting stones/beads and turned it into a necklace that she occasionally wears.

    Since there were a lot of gallstones jam-packed in her gallbladder, they were square – almost like mini-blocks – surprisingly pretty and yes, a little weird.

    Best wishes to Jon…

  • Handflapper

    Yep. Same thing happened to my husband. He also went months before someone said, well, okay, let’s look at the gall bladder, and then only because we kept insisting MAYBE IT’S HIS GALL BLADDER since it hasn’t been anything else. Sometimes medicine is just like “House.”

  • anniavee

    Wishing y’all a speedy recovery!

  • Rogue Rooster

    That Dr. in the background seems to be really concerned about how his surgical cap looks.

  • maureenp

    Yes, I’m one of those people. I had mine out after losing 40+ pounds in my second pregnancy (and how was my daughter still 9.8 pounds at birth???) and many trips to the ER during which I thought I was dying from pain. I can say from experience that my gallbladder attacks were FAR more painful than labor.

    I hope this surgery does the trick for Jon.

  • GratefultobeofthisWorld

    Same thing with my mom – kind of – although hers was so bad that she also had pancreatitis (sp?). The first time she went to the ER they checked for heart attack or a heart episode and when they didn’t find any evidence of that – THEY SENT HER HOME IN EXCURIATING PAIN! With the pancreatitis is was pretty severe – untreated it can kill you. So a day later back to the ER – this time a doctor decided to do another scan of her digestive system and saw an incredibily inflamed panceas, liver, and gallbadder – and all her systems show signs of shutting down. It was scary. I still can’t believe they sent my mom home in that kind of pain because they ruled out heart attack.

  • pixelator4

    I’m sure the docs told y’all, but Jon’s shoulders are going to ache for about a week. They pump up the abdomen with gas to have more room with for the camera and the instruments. The gas will work it’s way out of the body via the shoulders. It’s not bad, just feels like you’ve worked out a bit too much.

  • Susan Shapiro

    If my gallbladder surgeon had looked like Dr. McHotty there I don’t think I’d have ever let him see me basically naked.

    Chiming in with gallbladder recovery news – I had mine removed laparascopically (along with my appendix as a surprise added bonus- I got the Benihana Special). Unlike many here it was an amazingly easy surgery and recovery. Had it done on a Friday, was grocery shopping on Saturday (well, pointing at things and the husband put them in the cart and lifted all the bags), and was back at work on Monday. I feel like walking around right away was key.

    Best wishes to Jon for a speedy, speedy recovery so those kids don’t outnumber you for too long.

  • CapableGirl

    Yeah, I thought I needed a hysterectomy for a couple years because of constant pain in my back, and then found out it was gallstones. One gall bladder-ectomy and three years later, and my digestive system is pretty effin’ reactive. Oh, and though the surgery seems simple, it’s a pretty tough recovery. Good luck to Jon in his recovery.

  • wendee

    OH Yeah!! I have had three babies and three c-sections and a gallbladder attack was the most painful thing I have ever experienced and that was 10 years ago! I had just had my first son, he was 2 weeks old and I thought I was having a heart attack. I kept telling myself in the car (on the way to the ER) that I can’t die, I have a 2 week old son!! Hope he feels better soon, I was more than a little relieved when I got out of surgery and there was no more pain. It was so bad that the night before surgery Morphine was doing nothing for the pain.

  • chailatte please

    Hey, I had my gallbladder out too!

    I’m usually a “No, I’ll be fine” kind of person, but my husband came home one day to find me literally curled up on the floor in the corner. He made me get it looked at, so now he has a blank check for those kinds of things – if he says something’s wrong, I don’t bother to argue anymore.

    We went to the emergency room, and they would have had me sit there until I actually died of old age, but my (do they all?) emergency room has a rule that if someone complains of chest pains, they go to the head of the waiting line, and my pain felt like it was in my chest.

    I had gallstones blocking the exit from my gallbladder, it turns out, and they let me look at them afterward. GRAPE-sized! I’ve had three kids, with the labor for my first lasting almost two days, and my gallbladder caused me the worst pain that I’ve ever felt (don’t tell Jon!).

    Speedy recovery!

  • Pastrana199

    Yeah, my 19 year old daughter had to have her gallbladder out. The pain from the gas they used to pump her stomach up was excruciating when she started waking up! And she felt so nauseous too! The nurse put alcohol prep pads over her nose to help with the nausea. She recovered from that surgery; and then had to have her wisdom teeth removed, and then TMJ surgery. She has been through the wringer this past year. She is finally feeling better now. Although she has had a bloating problem that will make her go from thin to looking like she is 5 months pregnant in a just a couple hours. It is crazy!! Apparently she has a sluggish colon, but she is working on that with some meds and a bit of a diet change.

    I have a 15 year old son who, within the same time frame of all of my daughter’s problems, started having choking/feel like I can’t breathe problem. After going from doctor to doctor, we found out that he had a floppy epiglottis that would flop over his windpipe even when he wasn’t swallowing anything. It’s extremely rare for his age. He had robotic surgery with his laryngologist maneuvering a control paddle (like from a video game) to make the robot move and cut. The doctor trimmed his epiglottis and removed the tonsil tissue behind his tongue. They gave him a feeding tube going in from his nose down to his stomach. All of his medicine and feedings went through that tube for 10 days. On that 10th day, he started spitting out blood. He ended up losing 2-3 pints of blood. It was the scariest parenting moment I have ever had. An artery had burst. Waiting in the emergency room for the laryngologist to show up was excruciating! While we were waiting, the ER doctor started giving him blood. And then he threw up his feeding tube. It was so gruesome! He is doing okay now, but his throat is still sore.

    The end…I pray!!!!!

  • Buddahkat

    Ahhh. Some of my favorite doctors in those pictures! Yeah, even I got my gallbladder out. It was years ago and at another hospital, but I work at the one you were at so that in and of itself, makes it awesome. I was in the hospital maybe 4 hour’ish. Went home to my moms (because I was single and my kids were with their dad) and then my brother made me do laps around the kitchen to get rid of the gas pain in my shoulder. Then my sister made me broth and flower toast, which still means the world to me because she died a few years later.
    It was 2 months before I didn’t feel pregnant and stopped farting like a 90 year old. Get him some sweat pants and a can of febreze and in a few days it will be all good! Or what I like to say to my patients….”Buck up little buck-a-roo”!!

  • Twin Mom

    I had my gallbladder out a few years ago, and it took them forever to diagnose me too. It was about 7 months and I was in agony! The recovery wiped me out for a few weeks. It was the worst pain of my life, up until that point. I hope Jon feels better soon. I recommend a very bland diet until his body adjusts and he figures out what he can handle.

  • nyll

    Add me to the GB-Free club! Reading everyone’s stories, I feel really lucky- I didn’t have any heart attack type pain. Mine was mostly in my back. Though one fun thing is that I first started having the pain while traveling in SOUTH AFRICA. I thought I was having psychosomatic pain from travel anxiety! But luckily when I got home I got diagnosed right away and had my gallbladder out a couple weeks later.

    I also had shoulder pain from the CO2- not fun. And for me, I can eat anything, but if it’s really fatty, food will go right through me. It’s like a natural fat-blocking diet pill!

  • mbluesky

    Hope Jon feels much better now. Glad it really wasn’t his heart!

    Too bad about not letting you have the gallstone, though. When my son was 10, he had a very major orthopedic surgery that involved cutting away pieces of his tibias and the doctor snuck him a bone section in a little sealed pharmaceutical jar. He kept it until I threw it away when he went to college, impressing and grossing out his friends. Right after the surgery, he took it to school & shared it with his class. It was awesome. Took about a year for him to completely recover from the surgery, but he needed it to walk. The bone section was about the only fun part of the whole thing.

  • Laura B

    Glad to hear y’all are on the road to recovery! Hope all is just ducky soon!

  • telechick

    I just wanted to jump in and say that I, too, had my gallbladder out (1998) after suffering through 11 years of attacks, starting when I was 16. I had to carry painkillers and Maylox around with me at all times b/c I never knew when I was going to have one.

    Anyway, it was the best decision I ever made and I haven’t had any lasting side effects (some people can’t eat fatty foods afterwards). I also got to keep my gallstones and have them in a bottle in my underwear drawer. It grosses my husband out, but oh well.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

  • annegirl80

    I started having attack when I was 17 and after three trips to the emergency room, they finally did an ultrasound and guess what they found…..?


    Yes, I am a giant freak. They both had gallstones. And yes, as I recall, it was more painful than childbirth, ‘cept maybe recovering from a cesarean. About equal, minus hemorrhoids. (Did I just say that?)

    I didn’t get to keep either the stone or said gallbladders but they did get the whole thing on film and I have some nifty pictures in my scrapbook.

    I also had laproscopic surgery but I had only two incisions — one through the belly button and one on the side. You might not have heard wrong…

    Best recovery for Jon! I feel your pain! Relax, enjoy your pain meds, and don’t laugh too much.

  • Coelecanth

    All surgery damages the body, that’s how it works. Recovery can be really hard even from “minor” surgeries. And that difficulty can be as much mental as physical.

    I broke my arm pretty badly and they had to bolt it back together. I was in immense pain on waking up. The shot me up with morphine and a half an hour after I puked on my wife I was right back in the same pain. The nurse said they weren’t going to discharge me until the pain was under control but the doctor came down and said I was good to go and that was that. Out the door with a prescription for Tylenol 3’s for me. That night was one of the longest of my life. The pain went on and on and on. The next day I got a better pain killer from the local clinic but as it was an inner city one they refused to prescribe heavy duty opiates. I’m not sure why I didn’t go somewhere else, I think I was just too tired to fight it anymore.

    I spent two weeks not really sleeping from the pain before it started to let up. At one point I slipped on the stairs and slid to the bottom, bouncing on my ass desperately trying to keep my broken arm in the air. As I lay at the bottom of the stairs sobbing because I couldn’t take this anymore my wife came over and yelled at me for scaring her. We laugh about it now but at the time it was not funny at all.

    My takeaway from this is to always remember that I can’t know exactly how injured person is feeling. My wife knew I was suffering but couldn’t possibly know just how close to the edge I was. Hell, I didn’t know how close I was until I tipped over it. Compassion above all else is needed by those around the person recovering and an assumption that maybe it’s actually worse than it appears will go a long way to preventing stupid misunderstandings.

    I hope Jon’s recovery goes well. All the best to the whole Blurbodoocery family.

  • carepackagegirl

    God bless you guys (whether you believe or not it can’t hurt to have some extra support here). I went through a similar experience with my husband 3 years ago, but with him it was a completely common tick disease THAT I HAD TO GOOGLE TO DIAGNOSE. Stupid doctors.

    Jon- speedy recovery.
    Heather- (my crazy-ass heart goes out to you) deep breaths. He’s ok.


  • Ashlae

    I had the same surgical procedure. To have my ovary removed. At 20. 3 years before that I had a surgery to remove a large tumor that was essentially eating that same ovary. I can attest to the fact that the minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure was far more painful than the laparotomy, where they sliced open half of my lower abdomen. I think it was because of the gas they used to pump up my stomach – my god, it was the worst. pain. ever. I feel for John, totally. Make him some cookies! And rub his head.

  • mybottlesup

    i’m fairly certain that 2011 is the year of the gallbladder, seeing as every 4th person i speak with has or is in the process of having theirs taken out… which then makes me wonder “why?” and “what are we doing to ourselves?” and “what if it’s environmental?” and then thinking all of it leads back to the rapture.

    hope the recovery goes smoothly, for all of you.

  • MainelyMama

    Milk for all it’s worth Jon! Seriously though, I hope you get well fast. I had mine out at 18, was in the middle of a horrible attack in the ER and it still took them forever to figure out what it was. Be thankful they couldn’t consider Ectopic Pregnancy for you and make you wait some more. The first 3 days post op are kind of rough, but after that it gets easier Just try not to laugh too much, or cough, or yell, or play a wind instrument. Heal up!

  • kristy3

    After I got my gall bladder out, it was the most pain i have ever been in! I literally could not walk or breathe at the same time! No joke! I was surprised the doc called me the next day asking how i was, and i asked if it was normal i couldn’t walk or breathe at the same time, and of course yes was the answer, i was down for a full week! Seems everyone has their gall bladders out these days, and that is the solution doctors turn to everytime! well ever since i’ve had mine out, i have had non stop stomach aches, lots of people i know have the exact problem since it’s been removed, so good luck!!! 🙂

  • g.b.

    Lots of good, healing, feel-better-soon thoughts to you both!!

  • Ommax3

    So glad you finally have answers, and hopefully he recovers quickly. Darn Docs, think they are so smart…but I didn’t read all the comments, but doc leaning against wall in the last picture…I may swoon all day, print the pic and pin it up…hawt doc for sure!

  • science fair

    When the hubs had his gall bladder attack the doctor rattled off the problem – blahblahblah necroblahblahblahblahblah… The hubs said, “I didn’t understand any of that except for necro and I know that means dead. Is my gall bladder dead?” And of course, it was. I wanted to keep the stones, but that was a no no. Sucked.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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