Health is wealth (my trip to the emergency department)
Pain lets you know that something is wrong. Who knew gallbladder attacks could be so painful? Definitely not me. Aside from giving birth to my little one about 18 months ago, I’ve never been admitted to hospital. I’ve not had surgery. I used to be very active and quite in tune with my body and what it was telling me. It’s taken emergency surgery for me to realise that I have to pay attention to my body more.
These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them.Rumi
The gallbladder stores bile that is produced by the liver. Bile helps the body digest fat. I’ve read that women are more likely than men to have gallstones. Pregnant women are at an especially high risk because during this time, their body is making more estrogen. Apparently, like your appendix, you can continue living a healthy life without your gallbladder. Anyway, my doctor was telling me that it was likely that I formed gallstones during pregnancy. One of those stones would have then blocked the duct which is what was causing the excruciating pain. Apparently, when I presented to the emergency department, the bilirubin levels in my blood were 125. My GP told me post-surgery that anything over 20 is considered high. She said I must have been in a lot of pain.
Pain is your friend, your ally, it will tell you when you are seriously injured, it will keep you awake and angry, and remind you to finish the job and get the hell home. But you know the best thing about pain? It lets you know you’re not dead yet.From the film, G.I. Jane
Now, because there were a lot of major things happening, I attributed the pain I was feeling in my gut, to stress. I thought if I went to bed a bit earlier that night that the pain would be gone in the morning. The pain was so bad though, I hardly managed any sleep. 72 hours after, the pain seemed to intensify instead of weaken. Now, to cut quite a long story short, let’s just say I put up with the relentless pain for over seven days. My body was trying to tell me something important, but I refused to listen to it because I thought I couldn’t stop anything I was doing as a mother, a student, and an employee. The reality is, without my body, none of the things I accomplish as part of those roles would be possible at all. The morbid, but very true realisation dawned on me, that for the sake of my darling little one, I need to look after myself more.
I’m what you would call a mature-aged student now, but I still remember my younger years. Youth allows you this feeling of invincibility, but as the years fly past, things happen that remind you to take care of yourself. My heart’s not stopped beating all these years. I also became starkly aware of how good our public health care system is compared to other places. I know there are so many areas for improvement, but right now, I am feeling very grateful for the care I received.
When pain is over, the remembrance of it often becomes a pleasure. Jane Austen
It also became very clear to me that I have a very solid support system. As a solo parent, you tend to feel like you’re alone and that you’re operating on your own. The fact is, I’m not alone. I have family and community. I also have this body to be very grateful for. I need to start listening to it more
Health is not valued until sickness comes.Thomas Fuller