Not Dead Yet

So...  I've not been writing that much on my blog mainly because I feel like I'm repeating myself regarding the back stuff and then I worry about my blog turning into one big buzzkill.  Well I'm going to try and rectify that for everyone that hasn't seen on social media.

On September 1st, I called Teladoc because I had some pain in my upper right abdominal area and wasn't sure whether that was a "Go to your PCP" type of issue or "Go to ER, you're about to explode" issue.  Teladoc went with the former so I called my PCP and asked if I could come in sometime that week.  I get a call back to come in immediately.

She poked around a bit.  She knows that I live on the higher end of the pain scale, so for me to say that something is painful means that it's (1) new pain and (2) above my regular threshold.  She wants me to get tests, but says that I can get them faster if I go to the hospital.  So that's what I did.

I got in a cab and took myself to the hospital where I had blood drawn by a really hot nurse (and almost threw up on him/fainted).  In addition to the blood tests, they sent me for an ultrasound, and a CT scan.  Everything came back pretty unremarkable except for a few elevated blood levels that could be explained by having thrown up the night before.  So they decided to admit me to run a test the next morning.

The most frustrating part of being in the hospital was the lack of communication between the ER doctors, the surgeon, the nurses.  They would ask me what the other ones said.  Um. Don't you have my chart?  

Second most frustrating part was the speculation.  They were throwing out possibilities of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.  For a good 20 minutes I was having a serious talk with myself about my own mortality and what I had yet to do in my life.

At that point, I called my brother and asked him to bring me a change of clothes and my glasses (so I could take my contacts out), my external phone battery, and of course my otter. He sat with me in the ER for a bit and we had a really good talk about life and stuff.

The test the next morning was pretty effing cool.  It's called a HIDA.  They inject me with a radioactive isotope (technetium 99) while lying underneath a Geiger counter.  They record how well my liver passes the 99Tc to my gallbladder. So yeah... for 6 hours I was radioactive. Sadly, no spidey powers. (notice the metal syringe in the photo below -- that's so the technician limits his exposure)

Fortunately/unfortunately, my liver and gallbladder did their job.  We were no closer to an answer. Odd thing was that I was in quite a bit of pain before the scan (they couldn't give me anything stronger than Tylenol the night before the test and I hadn't eaten in 24 hours at that point) and after the test I was in less pain.  They offered to keep me at the hospital and give me more fluids, but at that point, we still didn't have a diagnosis. I was discharged with instructions to follow up with a gastroenterologist.

I went to the gastroenterologist on 9/11 and he reviewed my blood work and test results. He wants to do an endoscopy (on October 9th) of my upper GI tract to get a better idea of why I'm still in pain (and can't really handle meat, fats, alcohol, carbonation). He thinks I may have some biliary sludge that just didn't show up on the tests.

My gut instinct (see what I did there?) is that my gallbladder will be removed.
I just want to get this over and done with because I'm just tired, irritable, and hungry.

But not dead yet.

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<3 Robby