Feeling Like a 900-Year-Old Woman

As a good friend of mine says, anything worth doing is worth overdoing. In my case, that means I went from what I thought was really impressive heartburn (something totally normal for teacher types with too much to do and too little time to do it in) to an inflamed gall bladder.

lbj-gall-bladderThere’s nothing like “gall bladder surgery” to make you feel like a 900-year-old woman. Seriously, who gets their gall bladder out? Isn’t this what you picture when you hear “gall bladder surgery”? And really–that’s all I need at this age–feeling like LBJ. Next thing you know I’ll be picking up beagles by their ears and deciding not to run for a second term as president. But I digress.

Considering how cavalier I am about eating and exercising, I’m actually surprisingly healthy. A couple of sprains, one broken toe, one mole removal, one filling, one tonsillectomy. That’s it so far. No wonder “your gall bladder needs to come out” was such a left-field surprise. Turns out it’s not as unexpected a procedure as I’d thought. One stat estimates that 20-30% of women my age have had it done, and I was surprised at the number of folks I knew who came out of the woodwork to assure me how much their lives had improved after their surgeries.

That, plus another gallstone attack that had me whimpering in the shower at 2 am, got me to say yes (what can I say? stubbornness is a family trait). And it wasn’t nearly as awful as I thought. The nurses and staff at Winter Park Memorial are knowledgeable, kind, and amazing. My surgeon looks like a benevolent uncle and sounds like Javier Bardem (not a bad combo). Friends have brought me flowers, black cherry soda, meals, and support. My students have been wonderful and patient.

But you know how it is. I don’t relax well when I’m told to relax. I fidget. Instead of wallowing in the opportunity to read and watch endless episodes of Gilmore girls, I fret. What’s the use of coming through a surgery beautifully just to die of embarrassment at how awful your house looks when those kind souls drop by with a pizza for the family so you don’t have to cook? Argh.

On the whole, though, I can’t complain. Many thanks–for black cherry sodas, for cheerful bouquets, for nurses who get your jokes, for doctors who call to check on you (he did!), for Netflix, for sleep, for friends who look past the messes, for colleagues who hold the fort down. I’m down one gall bladder but up a whole pile of blessings. Lucky me!


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