First, apparently it’s “gallbladder” or “gall bladder,” not “gal bladder.” Good to know.
Second, a little more info on what has been going on.
The gallbladder is used as sort of a digestive backup: it stores bile produced elsewhere and, when hard-to-digest food is introduced to the digestive tract – the gallbladder will send in the reinforcements. That means it’s useful, but not critical.
Gallstones are formed out of normal bile components that somehow solidify and get stuck in obnoxious (and potentially dangerous) places.
So today, Tuesday, they’ll be doing an endoscopy (through my mouth – ICK!) to find and remove gallstones. They’ll also use the procedure as an opportunity to check out my gallbladder and see if it’s inflamed. If it’s not inflamed, they’ll (either later today, or sometime on Wednesday or Thursday) perform an arthroscopic procedure to remove my gallbladder. If the gallbladder is inflamed, they’ll schedule an appointment with me for 4 to 6 weeks from now, when it’ll hopefully not be inflamed anymore.
(I’ve been told that an arthroscopic removal of the gallbladder is very difficult if it’s inflamed, which is why they want to make sure the gallbladder is as happy as possible before it’s yanked forcibly from the body. Tricky doctors.)
The nice ‘bringing it all together’ part of this is that my painful stomach problems have been happening around rich food: deep-dish pizza, really fatty and delicious soup, too many cupcakes, and so on. Those are exactly the types of situations where the gallbladder would kick in, but if there have been gallstones it would be incredibly painful. Which is what I’ve been experiencing.
So hopefully this will not only resolve the pain I’ve had this weekend, but will help stop it from occurring again in the future.
(I’m going to devote a future post to talking about my gender- and trans-related interactions and experiences during this hospital stay, but did want to reassure y’all that it has been nothing but smooth sailing so far. Knock on wood and all that.)