Rosanne Skopp
Rosanne Skopp

Gall Bladders Etc

To those of you fixated on politicians gone crazy,  and governments in turmoil, I urge you to skip my blog.  It’s mundane and will never shake your world.  The words impeachment or indictment are just not covered.

It’s no secret.  I turned 80 in September.  I know…..looking at me you thought I was 90.  Nasty!

My 80s didn’t start as planned.  Oh no.  Not at all.  My doctors discovered my gall bladder and that was not good news.  I never spent any time dwelling on my gall bladder.  It’s a pretty uninteresting organ, or so I thought.  I mean, just tell someone you’re having your gall bladder removed and the yawn is instantly forthcoming, followed by a gazed glaze of utter boredom. Might as well talk about tight shoes or a dental cavity.  I mean, it’s less dramatic than a nose job and usually not a big deal.  Truth is, as I’ve learned, one can live totally normally without a gall bladder (why we’ve got them in the first place requires an answer from someone more medically sophisticated than I) but, like appendix and wisdom teeth, it adds little (note the pun vis a vis appendix) and provides no wisdom.  Just hangs around until it causes trouble. Maybe you can compare it to a hole in your sock.  It’s an annoying phenomenon that absolutely no one wants to hear about.

In my case (and you’ve read this far so maybe you’re not totally uninterested or you’ve got nothing better to do on what might be a snowy winter’s day) the symptoms started months ago with ferocious itching.  The dermatologist gave me moisturizer.  Useless!  The g.p. shrugged her shoulders.  No one was very sympathetic although I was being tortured. And now, every time I get a routine little itch I go into panic mode…..even though I had only one gall bladder and it is gone.  Don’t be rational with a crazy person…..and that itching made me crazy.

The itching stayed with me and then I got some other symptoms but they were all here today, gone tomorrow.  I’d have a minor fever for example.  And by the time I was ready to doctor it up, it was over  Some tummy aches but they were never horrible.

And, at the time our family was heavily into simcha stuff.  Our Benji was getting married to his beautiful, wonderful bride Erica;  so who was going to worry about my itch when my husband was working on building the chuppah (it turned out beautifully) and schlepping it to Detroit (from New Jersey) for the wedding?  Everyone was preoccupied, including me, the very excited savta.  Benji found his bashert at college and even though they’re both very young (22) marriage was the right thing to do and the wedding was floor poundingly beautiful with vibrant dancing and incredible ruach.   Do a cheshbon:  wedding vs. gall bladder and wedding wins….by a lot!

So, after the return from Michigan I finally went to a doctor to discuss these vague symptoms.  And I wound up in the hospital that same day.  By the next day I had sepsis.  It turned out that a gall stone blocked a bile duct and that’s quite enough to cause the sepsis which even the medically really dumb like me know is a bad thing to have.

And then the docs told me that I needed to have the gall bladder taken out…….instead of going on our planned trip back to Israel.  Cancelling the flights was at least a diversion.  Do you actually think that airlines want to give you money back just because you’re good and sick and can’t fly?  Think again.  It’s a tribute to my negotiating skills that we eventually wound up with just about all of our money deposited from whence it came.

So out with the gall bladder and not feeling its loss.  Now awaiting more surprises of old age.  Hope it’s a long wait as I get ready to celebrate my 81st Chanukah!

About the Author
Rosanne Skopp is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of fourteen, and great-grandmother of three. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and travels back and forth between homes in New Jersey and Israel. She is currently writing a family history.
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