When something goes wrong inside, for most of us it’s no big deal; just an off day in the old innards, whether physically or emotionally, and it’ll pass. But when something goes wrong in a more complicated way, I tend to think it’s pretty good luck if “all” one has to do to get well is remove a malfunctioning part and either replace it or live without. Modern life makes that possible: a swift appendectomy with a tiny scar to show for it, a manufactured hip here, a transplanted kidney there. Lots of things that, if not chronic, are reparable and survivable when they used to lead to long, slow, miserable declines or instant death.
There’s still plenty of the latter kind of illness and injury to keep doctors busy and patients unhappy and money funneling from the latter to the former in ever-widening streams, and that’s no joke. But I think it remarkably good that I live in an era when far less stuff is fatal by default. I was especially glad that when my poor brother-in-law was violently attacked by his own gallbladder recently and it tried to stone him to death, there was adequate artillery to fight back and win. What did he ever do to it, to deserve such lousy treatment! I can tell you from (supposed) experience that gallbladder pain is horrendous. I can’t tell you what it’s like to have the offending organ removed, or even have the stones destroyed and extracted, because either I don’t have a gallbladder at all or it is an expat living in a foreign part of my body from where they are normally located: the doctor and ultrasound technician spent a lot of time hunting and could never find the little hunk of meanness before the pain, thankfully, dissipated on its own.
My BIL was not such a fortunate escapee, and the pain persisted and worsened until he ended up with several exceedingly un-fun procedures to zap the stones and remove the offending organ, which if you ask me did have a heck of a lot of gall to treat him like that. I am ever so glad he has already begun a full recovery! I wrote him a silly poem, ’cause I love him.
Parting with Parts
is Such Sweet Sorrow
Can anything be worse, or sadder,
Than to give up one’s gallbladder?
Well, perhaps one worser quirk:
Still having one that doesn’t work…
And one worse yet: the wails and groans
Induced by one that’s filled with stones.
So I’ll amend Assertion One:
Having a gallbladder’s no fun.
But then again, I must concede
That surgery is bad indeed.
It all comes down, if I should guess
To what will save my happiness
More fruitfully: intact gallbladder?
None? Can’t say: it doesn’t matter,
Since the choice will not be mine—
‘Til then, I s’pose I’ll be just fine—
I hope. Of course, I still don’t know
Whether I even have one, though.