Back to Normal?

My Drugs of Choice!

Is it possible that only a week of fentanyl and hydromorphone use, prescribed & while in hospital, could result in withdrawal symptoms?

I’m scared of drugs. I mostly choose to put up with a headache, rather than take an over-the-counter medication. I prefer to let a fever run its course, over taking something that might reduce my temperature. I generally try to avoid antibiotics. Don’t get me wrong, I will take prescription drugs if my doctor tells me it’s essential. I just don’t want to mindlessly, nor needlessly, take them. I figure that my body, despite how poorly I treat it, will know best how to handle most minor afflictions. That philosophy went out the window with my recent attack of pancreatitis. I couldn’t wait for the medical professionals to stuff a fire-hose into my vein. The pain was excruciating and I didn’t care what they had to do to make it go away!

After two or three days, I passed on a refill. I wanted to see if the pain was manageable without drugs. The logic being that pain serves a purpose. If I move, and I feel pain, then perhaps I shouldn’t be moving in that particular way. The test worked. I still hurt. Stick that thing back in my arm again, please!

Next day, I skipped another dose. It hurt, but not so much. I was switched to the oral versions. Overnight, inadvertent turns triggered pain and disrupted my sleep. I wanted to be oblivious, so I took the overnight doses too. When I finally came out of hospital, I was depressed. I was missing my gallbladder. I felt sure that if I’d had time, I could have figured out a dietary solution. I regretted not having had a chance to do that. But I couldn’t risk another attack. Imagine if that happened while travelling. I thought the, potentially unnecessary, loss of my gallbladder was the cause of my melancholia.

While I had to get back to grinding through my work days, I wasn’t enthused about much else. It is only a few days ago that I started to feel like my usual self. Notice too, the length of time between this post and my last. That’s just not me. With the return to my “normal”, I can’t help but wonder if, as much as I missed my gallbladder, was I missing those drugs more?

Scary stuff, those drugs. I think I’ll carry on steering clear of them. And, I hope, hospitals.

Now if I could just develop a similar attitude towards cigarettes!

Weight Loss Without a Gallbladder?

Dum Aloo or Dum Paul!?!

Despite being fat, unfit, a smoker, & generally an excellent candidate for all the diseases of western civilization, I’ve done pretty well. Short of an unusual incident, or an occasional accident, I have managed to avoid hospitals for most of my life. It was a little cruel that I found myself curled up, on the ground, in the parking lot in one of Canada’s favourite coffee shops, during the first day of me enjoying a couple of vacation days with the family. Fortunately, these coffee shops are well located in the heart of things, so there was a walk-in medical clinic on one side. And an EMS station on the other.

With some assistance, I made it to the walk-in clinic & immediately assumed the fetal position again. On the floor again. That disrupted things a little but one look & the doctor put out the call for the ambulance. The EMS team arrived in minutes & I was on my way to hospital shortly after. Under less painful circumstances, I might have enjoyed the Code 1 ride, lights flashing & sirens a wailing. Not so much this time. Thanks & kudos to those folk who do the ambulance thing for us, by the way. They were great.

Despite how much I know about what my pancreas does for me, from a dietary perspective, I don’t always treat it well. And while I’d certainly heard of this condition: pancreatitis, along the way, I never paused to learn much about it. After all, it didn’t apply to me, did it? It did now. And it hurt. A lot!

Long story short, after 8 days in hospital, I went home, leaving my gallbladder behind in some garbage can. I’m not sure I made the right call in going ahead with the surgery. And though there were people there with far more serious conditions than mine, I still felt sorry for myself. I’m sad that I lost my gallbladder. I miss it!

But how is the lack of a gallbladder going to impact my way of eating? My diet? My weight loss efforts?

There are varying reports on the impact that this very common (too common?) procedure can have on our lives. Most reports seem pretty benign. From a cursory look, it seems like the recommendations for what to eat after the surgery are as confused as the “best diet” recommendations for our general health & well-being. My biggest fears were that I would no longer be able to tolerate hot & spicy foods. And worse, I might not be able to tolerate fatty meals.

Never one to shirk a challenge, I begged for my first home-cooked meal to be hot & spicy … a seasoned-to-kill Dum Aloo! It crossed my mind that it was a little unusual for me to avoid meat, but that’s what I wanted.

And the result?

I survived! Since then, I’ve tried a few high fat meals. Including bacon & eggs, with cheesy home fries … mmmmm! I’m very conscious of not having that big shot of bile available to attack the fat but otherwise, I seemed to tolerate it reasonably well. There are some weird little aches & pains hanging around my midriff but I’m not sure if that’s just the physical healing after surgery. Or if I’m inducing them with my crazy food choices. I also decided to do a big bread day. There was no logical reason why, but I was hoping that I was miraculously cured of my typically poor reaction to eating bread. I wasn’t. And that was a really bad idea!

So now, I’d like things to carry on healing. I hope they didn’t leave a tea spoon inside me. And, maybe in a couple or so days, I’ll get back to the grind of weight loss … without a gallbladder! Fingers crossed, all will be well.

If you are living life without a gallbladder, let me know how it’s going for you.