I’d kiss my gallstones goodbye but my mouth is full of apple juice.

April 17, 2009

oily-lemonsFor the most part, I get along quite nicely with my major organs. If I don’t bother them too much, they seem willing to let me live in peace.

Oh sure, my heart and lungs tend to be crybabies at times, usually when I attempt any kind of exercise. Considering I have never once abused them with alcohol or nicotine, I’m not sure why they think they have any grounds for complaints.

My spleen still holds a grudge from that bruising it received during a community football game several decades ago, but it seems content to seethe in silence.

And there was that one episode with a kidney stone a number of years ago. For awhile there, it felt like I was Octo-Mom giving birth to 14 children all at the same time. When the attack hit, I literally could not stand up straight.

Worst. Pain. Ever.

I did, however, score a week off work with pay, so, yeah, bonus points for me.

My digestive system also tends to behave itself unless, that is, I consume a creamy sauce. In that case, it’s all hands to the lifeboats. I inherited my guts from my mother which means, rather than the yards and yards of greasy coils that pass for intestines in the vast majority of the population, I possess, instead, a straight tube from entrance to exit. It’s a wonder I gain any weight at all, considering the short amount of time food actually remains in my system.

I have no idea what my appendix is up to but as long as it’s not planning to explode any time soon, I’m just going to continue to ignore it.

It’s a different story when it comes to my gall bladder. It, in fact, detests me with a vengeance. It, in fact, takes great pleasure in waking me up at 1 a.m. (almost to the second each and every time) and tormenting me with the kind of discomfort that makes it impossible to sleep in any position.

It has something to do with gallstones the size of bowling balls trying to squeeze their way out of my gall bladder while that little bastard of an organ is lending a hand to my stomach in its effort to digest fat. Or something like that.

(And by fat, I’m guessing it has something to do with consuming great gobs of fish and chips. Or perhaps too many bags of O’Ryans potato chips. You get the picture.)

I have to take painkillers to make it through the night and, as welcome as a drug-induced haze can be at times, there comes a point where you just have to say no.

Because, obviously, once you start with the pills to relieve the agony of gallstones, it’s not long before you’re seeking out any pain as an excuse to gulp down medication. Your hockey team loses? Pass the pills. Your computer crashes? I’m going to need some pharmaceutical tech support here, people.

You land on the floor beside the bed because you were — allegedly — snoring like a diesel generator and your wife put both feet in the small of your back and pushed hard? Just pour the bloody pills right down my throat, why doncha.

Obviously, something had to change in my life before my addiction forced me onto the streets, holding a sign saying “Will write for drugs.” I needed an intervention. I needed The Super Duper Gallstone Removal Plan of Attack.

It sounded simple enough. You start by drinking a quart of apple juice every day for five straight days, to help soften the gallstones. How difficult can that be? Except, by day five, I never wanted to see another apple in my life. If Johnny Appleseed had happened to meander by, I would have kicked that reckless do-gooder right up the ass.

On the sixth day of the program, you skip supper and, at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. sharp, dissolve a tablespoon of Epsom salts in water and throw it down your throat. At 10 p.m., after the salt has worked its magic and scrubbed your guts of everything you’ve ever eaten in your entire frickin’ life, you mix up a cocktail featuring four ounces of olive oil and four ounces of lemon juice.

And drink it.

Really, really fast.

The trick to avoid actually tasting anything — be it greasy lemon juice, liver or your wife’s new lipstick — is to hold your breath while swallowing. And to continue holding your breath for several more minutes afterwards as you do a frantic little dance in the kitchen while your face puckers into something resembling a cat’s bum.

And then you wait. For the scouring to be completed.

You wait within sprinting distance of the toilet. You wait to set the land speed record. And, should anything happen to be in the way, you set the land speed record with hurdles.

Viking Woman was thoughtful enough to offer her support by trying the remedy at the same time, thinking she too might have the odd gallstone floating around that could use a good dissolving.

The trouble, when it came, was all about math.  As in: one toilet divided by two people. It was always going to be competitive. It was never going to be pretty.

The good news is that neither of us has been bothered by our gall bladders since that night so, yeah, the cleansing appears to have worked.

Just don’t ask me about the kitty litter box.

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