This is a gallbladder. A little organ located just beneath your breastbone and off to the right a little. I don't have one anymore. And so is the story of my vacation.
I flew to Colorado on Wed, June 29, to visit with my sister and to celebrate my birthday on the 30th. My sister, Jacqui, met me at the airport as she was coming in around the same time from a business trip to Florida. We grabbed our bags, stopped at Panera's to pick some stuff up for lunch and headed to her house. We hung around for the afternoon, catching up and relaxing. Later, she took me to the outdoor store
to pick up a pair of light hikers which were my birthday gift from her and her partner. That night, we went over to the local mall for live music and beer.
Friday morning I got up and did a short run around the trails in the area. My sister lives in a development area outside Boulder, but the builders leave loads of open space as part of their plans, and this leads to pleasant running areas. I saw tons of prairie dogs scattering as I did a slow 3.25 miles, just to loosen my legs and start to acclimate to the altitude. It was kind of hot and a little difficult to breathe, but it was much better than I remembered from last year.
After lunch, we headed out to a local park area for a hike. It's gorgeous up there. We hiked for a few hours, saw the remains of a deer, which was probably some mountain lion's dinner and basically enjoyed ourselves.
On the way home, we stopped for a beer at a local establishment to celebrate my birthday. We discussed dinner and it was decided to go for Mexican, which is one of my favorites.
Saturday morning I woke up with a bit of heartburn, which I figured was from the alcohol and meal the night before. I've been getting heartburn, sometimes really bad attacks for years, and hoped it would work itself out. We headed into Boulder to take a stroll on the Boulder Creek pathway and to check out the Farmer's Market. The Boulder Farmer's Market is a pretty good one and they have a nice food court area which serves different ethnic and organic foods. I had some dumplings made with chicken, basil and vegetables which were tasty. I followed that with a big ginger-spice cookie. My tummy was still hurting, but no worse than earlier and I was trying my best to ignore it.
Later on, after doing some further grocery shopping, we headed home. My sister was going to grill for dinner, so she started setting that up. By this time, the stomach was getting worse. I hung around for as long as I could, but decided to try and ease the pain by relaxing in a hot bath. This didn't work and it got progressively worse through the night.
My sister had a bike race the following morning, so I tried not to make too big a deal out of it, but it was excruciating. As soon as she got home on Sunday morning, I went and told her that I thought I should go see a doctor. We headed over to the nearest urgent care facility. As soon as I got there, they started running tests to try and figure out what was going on. It's pretty hazy to me as I was dozing in between and as soon as they thought it was safe, they started giving me painkillers. These didn't actually stop the pain, but I was floating above it. After about 4 hours at the urgent care, they decided to send me over to the hospital emergency room. My main concern by this time was that I was dying of thirst. I wasn't allowed anything. I was begging for ice chips, but due to the stomach upset and the still to be made determination, I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything. I eventually ended up going over 48 hours without food or water by mouth. I was admitted to the hospital just after midnight Sunday night after going through a CAT scan and a sonogram that determined that my gallbladder was completely blocked by a 2.5 centimeter stone. I was set up in a room with a pump to self-administer painkillers (nice!) and put on full assist, which meant I had to ring for help every time I had to go to the bathroom. At least they let me go to the bathroom.
Monday morning, still without food or water, the nurse came in to discuss my options with me. They would release me, if I chose, to have the gallbladder looked at when I got home, or they would operate. She told me that I could probably fly either way, but she thought I'd be much more comfortable post- rather than pre-surgical. Since I was still in some pain and would have had to face dealing with NYC emergency care, I opted to stay in the hospital and have it out already. They operated Monday afternoon. Monday night I got dinner. Jello and clear broth never tasted so good.
Tuesday morning my sister went to the race that we were both supposed to run. Afterwards, I called and told her they were releasing me. I bumped my flight back as my original flyout was on Wednesday. I could have done it, but it wouldn't have been too comfortable. Instead I left on Friday. My sister tried to entertain me for the remainder of the week. We did a little window shopping on Wednesday and Thursday we went to the Denver Science of Museum which was nice, but she wasn't sure what to with someone who couldn't be active and I was in some discomfort and loopy from the painkillers. My flight back sucked in too many ways to get into and I've been kind of depressed due to the whole thing. I'm now trying to decide whether to go to work tomorrow. Physically, I could probably do it but mentally I so don't want to be there. We'll see.