Oh, the Gall (bladder) of it all! (Part I)

Posted: July 19, 2008 in Life Lessons
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I have always been a healthy person…no major diseases, no broken bones. However, it seemed like after I had my daughter, something wasn’t quite right. Unfortunately, she was almost three before I finally figured out what it was…and pretty much destroyed my bank account, too, since at first I had no insurance and then once I was working I had crappy insurance. (Crappy is better than none, but not by much!)

I knew people had gallbladders, but I had not thought one iota about mine or anyone else’s since high school anatomy class. I had a vague idea what one did, but I didn’t much care about my own until I had to have it removed. Only then did I realize how common gallbladder problems in women are, especially women who have been pregnant. So, just because I feel like writing about it, here is the whole sordid tale.

My daughter, Sophie, was a breech baby. She spent the entire nine (ten) months with her head directly below my sternum. She never flipped, never floated around, never dropped into the birth canal, hence my c-section. I was determined to have a natural delivery, so when I was told I would have a c-section, I was really upset. Needless to say, I had no control over the matter, either. Sophie was (and still is) an independent little thing. I knew what I was in for based on how things went from the moment I learned I was pregnant! So, the c-section went off without a hitch, I had a beautiful, demanding baby girl and life went on, busier than ever.

In the summer of 2006, we were living in Arkansas and I was a stay-at-home mom. I started feeling weird sensations in my chest around this time. I was pretty freaked out about weird chest sensations, because my father suffered a heart attack in October of 2005, and had a triple bypass. So, of course, I was terrified it was something to do with my heart or lungs. I finally worked up the nerve to visit the emergency room in August of 2006, which was scary only because I had no insurance. After an entire night spent in a small examining room, I was sent home at 4 a.m. with a diagnosis of bronchitis. I filled the prescription and took all of it, even though I didn’t really feel like I had bronchitis. By the time Christmas rolled around, I still had a weird feeling in my chest off and on, and by then it was more frequent.

I went to a walk-in clinic this time and the doctor was apparently worried when I described the weird chest feelings. He did an EKG, which came out normal, and referred me to a cardiologist. Looking back on it now, I guess he was just covering all bases, but does he know how expensive a cardiologist is?? Especially for someone with no insurance? I was working at this time, but I was hired after “enrollment,” so I only had a crappy AFLAC sickness policy that covered next to nothing. I debated for weeks whether I should actually go through with the cardiologist appointment, weighing pros and cons and fears and money. Here’s what kept running through my mind: “You’re only 28! You have a baby. You can’t let her grow up without a mother. What if there is something wrong, and you didn’t do anything about it?” Arrggghh! I was driving myself crazy. Finally, I decided that even if I went and there was nothing wrong with my heart, at least I would know there was nothing wrong with my heart and I could quit worrying.

When I went to see the cardiologist, I had to get a medical credit card to pay for it, cause testing (just testing) cost $2000.00. Yes, you read that right. I signed my life away and got the full workup. Blood tests, EKG, heart ultrasound, echocardiogram, stress test. The strangest part of the whole thing was sitting in the waiting room with eight other people who were at least eighty years old. I’m sure they wondered what the heck I was doing there.

After waiting in several days of medical purgatory for my results, I finally learned…there was absolutely nothing wrong with my heart. Good cholesterol, all tests were normal, my heart was healthy. My blood pressure was slightly elevated, but they thought that might be from the stress of testing.

Yay! And Crap! What the heck was wrong with me, then?

The Rest of the Story: Gallbladder, Part 2

  1. […] If you didn’t read Part 1, go here: Gallbladder, Part 1 […]

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