What’s a gallbladder got to do with it?

A few days ago (10/8/2015) on Thursday, about an hour after eating a big lunch I felt bad. That’s happened before, but this time it was special. It seemed more like something wrong. There was a specific spot in the very center just below the rib cage that burned and hurt and spread the wealth around the middle to my back. It subsided and I figured, indigestion, or maybe some bug had hit. Friday things got worse. Every meal seemed to bring on more pain and I called my trusty Dr. brother from church, Earnest to ask some questions. He came by, checked my heart, poked a few places and gave me his appraisal: possible gallbladder or worse, pancreatitis.

I looked it up. Hmmm. It won’t kill you quickly, so that’s a bummer (Jenny could collect on my life insurance and I could go to glory). I prayed for some guidance and discussed things with a few other medical experts I know and love. They all pointed me to the hospital. I wanted to be sure it wasn’t just a stomach bug so I tried to wait it out. By the next Wednesday, it was clearly getting worse and not going away on its own.

Memorial Hospital, here we come. We’ve been there every Fall for the past four years with Jenny’s ulcerative colitis. This year, by God’s grace, Jenny found a diet and medical/nutritional guidance that have kept her symptom free! We were so excited to have a Fall without hospitalization! Well, the Lord had other plans. It was my turn at the wheel.

I went in and was admitted when the CT scan showed something at the duodenum where the stomach and small intestine join. From Wednesday to Friday I was scanned, ultrasounded, bled, xrayed, scoped, and radiated. Every test came back saying I was healthy. I was beginning to feel like a wimp for ever coming in! But the pain was real and the tests DID show that I had swelling in my duodenum. The final test showed that my gallbladder was functioning at 24% (they like it to be 35-75%) excretion rate. The GI Dr. thought I should have it removed. The hospitalist said I could go home and do it as an outpatient. The nurse said that some people live fine with a low functioning gallbladder and that I might want to ask the surgeon what the risks were of keeping it before taking it out, since it didn’t seem to be the problem. I could either stay for surgery the next day or go home and think about it. That was a no brainer for me. Homeward bound!

What I learned from the experience:

Jenny was ever at my side, taking great care of me and reminding me of our times together during her hospitalizations. We read together from the Bible and from Joe Beam’s book Seeing the Unseen. I am SO blessed with a wonderful, faithful, Christian wife.

Our Church family came by, called, contacted, and prayed with and for me, bringing loving reminders of what a gift being in Christ together means.

Jenny and I talked about Jesus with everyone we encountered and met fellow followers of Christ who took joy in sharing faith together with us. One young man in particular shared his life story with me as I took my HIDA scan. He was excited to bring up his sons to know and follow Jesus Christ. A nurse, Theresa, shared about her grandson whom she and her husband adopted because of abandonment and abuse, and we prayed with her for them all.

So, we took a little mission trip to Memorial and though it was costly, we were physically and spiritually blessed.

God is so GOOD all the time.

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