Column: Writing on the Wall

Writing on the gall

(Or What I did on my Easter vacation)


What fun would it be, as a serious journalist, to have an emergency surgical procedure and not write about it at length and in anatomical detail? Not one to disappoint, here are the gory details.

This was my first surgical procedure, and I had little warning — other than a terrible gut pain that was unrelenting. It woke me up at 4 a.m. on Easter morning (I was waiting for the bunny, honestly, not gall stones.) I woke my husband, and moaned, groaned and cried, hunched over and clutching my belly. He mumbled something of concern, and something about my extra helping of lasagna the night before — and I knew he was thinking of the brisket that had to come out of the oven in a few hours for our holiday dinner. But after more unintelligible vocalizations from me and a death-like grip on his forearm, he realized I was serious, and we were off to the local hospital.

I am no stranger to emergency rooms — I have four children, after all. Bumps, bruises, stitches, swollen ankles and high fevers I had made my share of hospital trips. But other than to give birth to those four bundles of joy in this very same hospital, I have never actually been admitted — until that morning. The only blessing was that my husband went to park the car when the nurse asked my weight. Close call there. Some things are sacred. I have no other secrets from him but that one.

Ever been to a hospital emergency room at 5 a.m.? Now that is a study in human nature. A young man came in beat up, goose egg on his head, chest scratched up, blood dripping, exclaiming, “It’s my birthday!” For him, his all-night party seemed to be over — until next year.

Probably due to the thick skin that I have built up over the years, the nurses couldn’t find a vein — but damn, they poked until they found one, tenacious as they were. I was hooked up to an IV and given a morphine drip —ahhh, there’s the Easter Bunny — but what’s he doing with Santa Claus? Nice stuff, I was feeling better already. And so I was sent home with a prescription for a pain killer (baby stuff compared to that morphine.)

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