The Gall of That Bladder!
My sister had her gall bladder removed last week. Twenty years ago, this would have been major surgery. Last week it was an outpatient laparoscopic procedure.
That still astounds me. A few holes were cut into her abdomen … her gall bladder was removed … and she was home by lunch hour.
I lucked out with the Tuesday Nightingale shift, while her husband went to the office. It was a tough shift, including laborious tasks such as sitting with her on the deck, watching the TiVO’ed Oprah/Letterman interview together, talking to the dog and cat, reading and chatting and laughing and napping. Spending time with the sister is always fun.
Hanging with the sister: the early years. I’m on the right.
Having a gall bladder removed is almost a rite of passage among the Coffey clan. My dad had his removed, as did his mother and a brother (and possibly his sister; she can’t remember), and a couple of my cousins.
So, the sister no longer has a gall bladder. With our family history, I stand a chance of losing the organ, so I think it’s time for us to learn just what that li’l ol’ pear-shaped organ does. Thanks to Google, we can all hit biology class while slaving away at our office desks.
The gall bladder stores bile, a fluid made by your liver to digest fat. As your stomach and intestines digest food, your gall bladder releases bile through a tube called the common bile duct. The duct connects your gall bladder and liver to your small intestine.
Your gall bladder is most likely to give you trouble if something blocks the flow of bile through the bile ducts. That is usually a gallstone. Gallstones form when substances in bile harden. Gallstone attacks usually happen after you eat. Signs of a gallstone attack may include nausea, vomiting, or pain in the abdomen, back, or just under the right arm.
Fortunately, the gall bladder is an organ that you can live without. Bile has other ways to reach your small intestine.
Pop quiz: Can you find the gall bladder? Bonus points if you can name all parts — without Googling, of course.
Your Digestive System
The sister’s stitches were removed this morning, and she’s thriving. I wish she’d have something else removed; I like hanging out on her deck all day.
* * * * * *