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Avoiding the Gall of Bitterness

On November 8, 2011 in Travel Nursing

Fifteen years ago, when I was about a week from expecting my first child, I began having excruciating pain underneath my right rib cage.  My OB doctor sent me for an ultrasound to check on my gallbladder.  The ultrasound didn’t find any problems with my gallbladder.  They attributed the pain to the kicking of  two very large feet jammed tightly up against my gallbladder.  A week later, my son was born weighing a whopping 10 lbs 2 oz!  After the delivery, the pain was gone.  What a relief!  I didn’t really think about it again until I got prego with baby #2.  I ended up having the same exact same scenario with all four pregnancies.

Everytime I would lay on my right side, sure enough, about three minutes later there would be that familiar, sharp stabbing pain just under my right rib cage.   I am not sure what it is about pregnancy and gall bladders.  All I know is that the two do not get along well at all!

Each time I would tell the doctor.  Each time he dismissed it as usual pregnancy pain.

I remember learning in nursing school about the four F’s regarding gallbladder patients…Fat, Fair, Forty and Female.  Although I may have pushed maximum density a few times while I was prego, I didn’t really consider myself to be “fat.”   I will be turning “the big 40″ at the end of this year, so I definitely fit the mold for the other three now.  With all this in mind, I finally decided to refer myself to a GI doctor last week.  After a HIDA scan my doctor determined that my gallbladder is only functioning at 23%.  I’ve been really healthy all my life.  I am actually thankful this is the first real health issue I’ve ever had.

I have always felt bad for my patients suffering from gallbladder issues.  It can get really ugly.  One lady I took care of sat up on the side of the bed, doubled over in pain and just vomited bile the entire shift.  She felt so horrible that she actually welcomed the NG tube I had to put down.  I don’t know if you’ve ever thrown-up bile before, but apparently it is extremely bitter tasting.  I think that’s where the term “the gall of bitterness” comes from in Acts 8:23.

I am so thankful that other than a few “twinges” of pain after eating a fatty meal, and some reflux, I don’t feel too bad (when not prego).  But to avoid “the gall of bitterness!” I am going to schedule the surgery really soon.

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