It’s probably not a good idea to cut out your own organs. I’ll make an exception for my gall bladder.

December 22, 2009

One night when I was in Grade 8, my parents returned from an outing to find me sitting at the kitchen table, clad in my pajamas and poring over the first volume of our encyclopedia set.

I was studying the entry under Appendix and seeing if anything there applied to the searing pain in my abdomen. For some reason, my 13-year-old self had a profound fear of said organ rupturing one day and consequently sending me to my grave before I’d had the opportunity to fully appreciate the onslaught of puberty.

Turns out the pain in my side that had roused me from sleep and sent me downstairs to the bookshelf was not my appendix come calling with the ace of spades in hand but, rather, my spleen, having been bruised by a particularly robust tackle during a community football game I played that weekend.

A visit to the local hospital, a caution to stay off the cleats for a few days, and I was good as gold.

They say you can’t buy your health, which is a good thing considering my lack of fundage. Working in a seniors’ residence only reinforces that notion. Once Nature decides we are no longer of any use as far as perpetuating the species, our bodies quickly begin to deteriorate.

I’m touching wood as I write this, but I count myself lucky as far as health problems go. Oh sure, there was that stay in a hospital necessitated by a peptic ulcer, the result of taking full advantage of the employees-eat-for-free policy at the fried chicken joint where I was working.

I sprained both knees playing hockey and now no longer entertain any thoughts of running marathons. And an errant kidney stone once nearly brought me to my knees and resulted in yet another hospital stay. Only this one saw me being paid in full as part of my benefits package, so I read in bed for a week while women attended to my every need. So, yeah, totally worth the excruciating pain.

What’s now keeping me awake at night, literally, is my gall bladder. Or, rather, the gall stones that rattle around in said bladder, becoming more and more agitated as I shovel fatty substances into my pie hole, until one of the little bastards becomes jammed in the entrance.

This invariably happens at 1 a.m. and results in me on the bathroom floor, blinded by the light, fumbling under the sink for anything that will ease the pain.

A number of my relatives have had their gall bladders removed and report no adverse effects. But, unlike the abovementioned useless appendix, I’m pretty sure, when it’s not playing silly buggers, your gall bladder has a purpose.

Mine, for instance, is designed to remind me that eating Christmas cake is fine. Eating Christmas cake smothered in dollops of whipped cream? Not so much.

So, yeah, it’s been a rough start to my workday. I’m tired from a restless night and, unlike other attacks, this time my gall bladder is still throbbing well into the morning. In fact, I’ve just now returned from the toilet, where I recycled a bowl of cereal and fruit, along with several cups of perfectly decent coffee.

In my body’s haste to rid itself of anything that might be annoying my gall bladder, I managed to spew all over the floor, the door and my pant legs. It’s going to be a long, hot day here in the laundry room and I can only imagine the stench that will soon envelop me.

On second thought, maybe I will have the offending organ removed. In fact, if it gives me any more trouble today, I’m going to march straight down to the facility’s kitchen, borrow a steak knife and cut out the bastard myself.

And while I’m schlurping around in the old body cavity, I may even pay a visit to Mr. Appendix. A bit of payback, as it were, for scaring 13-year-old boys half to death.

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