May 25, 2005

The Mitigated Gall

WELL. I NEVER thought I would see the day when I would have trouble summoning up enough bile to function. In fact, I daresay all those who know me would be shocked at the very thought. I mean, don't "Benjamin Kepple" and "bile" go hand in hand?

Not anymore, perhaps.

It appears I've developed Some Sort of Trouble with my gall bladder, although it's not entirely clear what's causing that. While it's still possible something other than the gall bladder could be causing the trouble, my doctors and I strongly suspect the gall bladder is the source of the problem. To make a long story short, it looks as if not enough bile is getting where it needs to go.

Unfortunately, this has caused and is causing me a bit of pain, particularly when it comes to eating. There's nothing like an onslaught of horrible shooting pain in your gut to ruin lunch. The most serious incident thus far happened on Tuesday afternoon, and that began even before I started into the second Big Mac. A few hours later, I was in the doctor's office.

I'd been experiencing pain for several days prior to my bad experience on Tuesday, and in some cases that pain was quite prolonged. Still, I had never thought to connect it up with my gall bladder. After all, I'd had my appendix out, and the pain wasn't bad enough to really cause me concern. Then came Tuesday.

In any event, it wasn't really clear on Tuesday what was causing the trouble, although the gall bladder was a significant possibility. As the gall bladder releases bile to aid the digestion of fatty foods, my doctor sternly warned me against eating fatty foods after I left the clinic.

Naturally, I completely disregarded this advice. But I had a good reason, or so I thought.

Well, I did! I figured that if it WAS my gall bladder causing me trouble, there was one good way for me to ascertain that. Namely, eat fatty foods. So, when I came home, I had a slice of bread with some peanut butter on it. Then I had another slice. Then I was in significant pain for several minutes -- not bad enough to cause me to collapse or scream in agony, but bad enough to elicit some gasping.

Anyway, I still think it was a pretty slick idea. You see, a few hours later, I repeated the experiment. This time, though, I had a big heaping bowl of Cream of Rice cereal. Cream of Rice has no fat at all, no cholesterol, no sugar and no salt. It also has no taste, really, of which to speak. But I was able to eat it with only a little bit of unpleasantness.

But hey. If one good thing comes out of this, it's that I'll improve my diet. As part of the diagnostic work today, I had an ultrasound test (it's a boy) and learned, in so many words, that I had too much gut fat for it to work.

Oh, don't worry. They didn't actually tell me that, of course. But because the test didn't work, I had to go to one of the local hospitals to take other tests, and I naturally read my ultrasound report on the way over. And it seems to me that having one's ultrasound "compromised due to habitus in body" is a $100,000 term for saying: "Patient is a lardass."

And because patient is a lardass (well, I'm 6'4" and 250 lbs.), I had to go over to one of the local hospitals and have even more tests done. My reaction to this news was somewhat akin to Ren Hoek's sense of resignation upon seeing the eye chart. You remember the eye chart from "Ren and Stimpy," right?


Remember that episode? God, I loved that show. Anyway, the worst of these was a test in which the doctors chemically induce the gall bladder to work to see if there's a problem with it. So it was like my experiment, except worse, because the chemical test also induces a great deal of nausea. Plus, there's this (admittedly nifty) camera equipment which requires the patient to stay absolutely still. What really got to me, though, was that right during the middle of it, somebody switched channels on the exam room television!

Admittedly, I couldn't see the television, but I had been listening to the news on and off during the test. You know, because cable news is always so calming. Anyway, as my nausea slowly worsened, it eventually dawned on me that I was now listening to something new. Instead of Wolf Blitzer, there were ads for barbecued ribs ... and more barbecued things ... and then an ad for that show with Rachael Ray ... OH, NO THEY DIDN'T. I mean, I'm having trouble with eating basic staples, and I'm stuck listening to the Food Network? NOOOOOOOOO ---

But ah well. In all seriousness, I can only express a great deal of gratitude to the doctors, nurses and other support staff who have helped me out during my latest brush with physical unpleasantness. They really have done first-class work and I have been amazed at both the results and speed of the process thus far.

Besides, I am going to look on the Bright Side of Things. Today's tests were successful, which means I hopefully don't have to have any more tests in the future. Plus, I'll start to eat a lot healthier, because eating a severe diet helps eliminate most of the pain I've been experiencing.

Based on my "avoid oils, dairy products and fatty foods" diet, that means pizza's out and subs are out and hamburgers are right bloody out, while dressing-free salads, dry pasta and other goodies are in! Yes, with my Practically Vegetarian Diet, I'm certain to start feeling better and looking better soon enough!

I consult with the surgeon on Friday.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at May 25, 2005 10:31 PM | TrackBack


Remember back in high school when I boldly predicted that you would live to be 108 just out of spite, even though you would be tortured repeatedly by various and sundry maladies? Go ahead, tell my I was wrong.....I didn't think so....enjoy 2079, should be a good one.

Posted by: simon from jersey at May 26, 2005 09:59 AM

Hang in there Ben and keep up the positive attitude. Dealing with this latest brush with medical unpleasantness will go smoothly and will soon be behind you. Still I wish you would find easier ways to lose weight in the future such as eating a healthy diet on a regular basis. Odering two Big Macs (one of the world's most leathal foods)for lunch ... that's just plain wrong!!

Posted by: Swammi in Solon at May 26, 2005 10:36 AM

Simon: You ain't wrong so far! Funny how things are turning out that way, eh?

As for the Big Macs -- well, yeah, but I didn't have any fries. Working at the place will do that. Odd, though, how the burgers always seemed to taste so much better back in the day.

Posted by: Benjamin Kepple at May 26, 2005 07:43 PM

Your SECOND big mac?
Come on, Kepple, are you serious?

Posted by: Matt Schwartz at May 31, 2005 01:09 PM