The wife is home again. A little sore, a little groggy, but home.
Modern medicine can be amazing!
But you have to pay attention to your body.
The wife had been feeling pain in her midsection after eating for about the last six months.
The thought it was tension or nervous stomach and didn’t want to be a complainer, so she stopped mentioning it to me.
I had been worried but since she stopped talking about it, I mostly forgot about it.
Last Thursday at work she had an attack so bad that she almost couldn’t drive home. She’d called me and let me know and I told her I would come pick her up, but she thought she could make it. She did. And came home and curled up in bed in agony. This continued for about four more hours.
I talked to a friend, a retired RN, and he told me probably gall bladder but take her to the ER. I managed to talk the wife into it and off we went.
Back when we lived in Los Angeles trips to the ER were nightmares! Crowded and long waits were the norm and that was the good visits. We had to take a kid to a county hospital ER once… A six hour wait I believe.
Now we live in a smallish town in the southwest Washington state. We have a Providence Hospital within twenty minutes. So, we got to the ER and they talked to us right away, taking her name and our insurance. Five minutes later a nurse had her in a room taking vitals and getting info. Five more minutes and we were in a room. Five more minutes and a very nice doctor was examining her.
Gall bladder, probably. She should have an ultrasound to check things out. Half an hour later the wife is getting an ultrasound and I got to watch.
“Can you tell if it’s a boy or a girl?” I asked.
“That’s her liver,” was the response.
Everything looked good, no blockages, no weird lumpy things. By the way, the gall bladder isn’t green, it’s red. If it is green, like in the above diagram, that is a bad thing, it’s probably dead, maybe gangrene.
Back to the room and another very nice doctor. He gave us great explanations about what was probably going on, drew us diagrams and told us what was next. Pain pills and a new exam, a HIDA scan. It’s a gamma ray camera that tracks radioactive particles injected. See here for more info: HIDA scan That was scheduled for Friday, the next day.
But the doctor took an extra step, he also scheduled an appointment with a surgeon, just to talk with him in case things went that far.
So we got sent home, did some more internet investigations and showed up the next day at Nuclear Medicine. The HIDA scan is a 2+ hour procedure. It’s not supposed to be painful, but you have to lie still for two hours. The painful part was when they injected a hormone, cholecystokinin, that stimulates the gall bladder into thinking that fatty food has been eaten and go to work. It’s the going to work part that was causing the wife the pain, and it kicked right in again, as bad as the night before.
B, as I’ll call B****, said that he’d only seen that happen a few times in the thousands of times he’d run this test. B was very good and informative throughout the whole procedure. He’s ex-army and sounds like it. Other than the pain, everything looked normal, but in his opinion the pain was the key. He implied that surgery was probably the answer, and we went home looking forward to our appointment with the surgeon next Tuesday, four days from now.
To be continued…