I wish I could have had the laparoscope. They told me my GB was too far gone and was liable to disintegrate at any time. So I had to get the regular old incision and was left with a 2-inch scar. My wife, when it was her turn, got the laparoscope and her scar is tiny, nearly invisible.
When I was 31, I started getting drastic abdominal pains. I thought it was stomach ache. In my experience, the quickest way to bring relief to stomach ache is to defecate. I tried that method and to my dismay found that it didn’t help. It was no ordinary stomach ache, but I had no idea what it could be. I got several attacks over a period of weeks, but never knew what it was. The only thing that helped ease the pain was to drum a steady rhythm on my drum. Shamanistic self-medication?
One morning I was about to go to work. Suddenly the pains attacked far worse than ever. It was alarming. When I felt my extremities turning cold and numb, I called the ambulance. I asked the ambulance guy what could be happening to me. He said: “Sounds like an aneurysm.”
An aneurysm?! :eek: That meant I was a goner.
Although completely mistaken, the thought was valuable for one thing. I seriously believed I was looking into the face of death. I felt no fear or horror, only a sweet inner peace and surrender. I felt perfectly happy to enter the afterlife right then and there. I will never forget that moment. It was a rare gift. I hope to relive it consciously when it’s my time to die for real.
When I got to the hospital, the doc told me it was just my GB. Oh, big deal. What an anticlimax! He advised that the laparoscopic surgery was preferable, but I had to wait until my condition stabilized, because my GB was too messed up or something right then. I spent a week in the hospital and when I felt better, I was discharged. The same evening, the attacks returned. I drove back. The doc was waiting to me at the ER. When the staff was too slow in getting me a wheelchair to get me to my room, he hollered at them that I needed immediate care, got me a wheelchair, and rushed me to my room himself. I really liked that doc. He was a good, caring human being.
For about 24 hours after surgery I was in so much pain I was heavily sedated. But I preferred consciousness, so when I came to I refused further sedation and chose to deal with the pain. At first I couldn’t even get up, it hurt so bad. But I kept practicing and in a couple days was able to walk up and down the hall and went home. A week later I was just about fully recovered.
My wife had a baby late in 1992 and a couple months later her GB went bad. She caught it in time and so had laparoscopic surgery. Coincidentally, Benazir Bhutto, who was the prime minister of Pakistan at that time, also had a baby and had her GB out about the same time as my wife. Something about pregnancy increases the production of gallstones.
When I found out that Andy Warhol died following gallstone surgery, it gave me a slightly eerie feeling. But I’m glad I survived, and not too much the worse for wear.