My "Cut for the Stone" Anniversary

Last year, I got many people’s hopes up when I said “They’re going to remove my gall–” and I see the disappointment when I finished the word “–bladder.”  I have enough gall for 10 people, so the news that I was going to have a cholecystectomy was anticlimactic.  Exactly a year ago, at this time, I was back home from Grant Hospital, watching Criminal Minds and taking oxycodone.  I awoke in my own bed that morning with a gallbladder–complete with stone.  Twelve hours later, I was home, and the stone was in a small, orange-lidded plastic jar (where it sits right now, right in front of me).  I slept in my own bed that night.

Here is the account of the actual experience, written two days later on my old LiveJournal account.  I’m not celebrating the event with the same intensity as when Samuel Pepys (a hero to all diarists) celebrated being “cut for the stone”.  His procedure, removing stones from his urinary bladder, was in 1657 with no anesthesia and no sterile equipment.  (Pepys ended up sterile because of the operation, but the instruments most definitely were not.)

A year later, I have to look to find the scars.  Had I undergone the procedure about 40 years ago, I would have recovered in the hospital for about a week afterwards, and I would have borne a very visible scar for the rest of my life.

President Lyndon Johnson shows off his gallbladder surgery scar.  One journalist said, “Thank God he didn’t have a hemorrhoidectomy!”  LBJ opened the door for Dan Rather to show cross sections of Reagan’s colon and prostate on the CBS Evening News during the 1980s.

About all I did to celebrate was take off from work 2½ hours early.  It wasn’t to mark the event, but because there was so little to do.  I’ve begun the Books on Tape recording of William Landay’s The Strangler, and I’m on the third disk (of 11), but I couldn’t listen to it while I re-indexed scanned documents (a very hazardous task–the death rate from boredom rivals fatalities in coal mines) because my headphones disappeared sometime during the evening yesterday.  Luckily, no doctors’ reports were in the on-deck circle for me to transcribe.  I took some mini-walks.  The ice storm seems to be behind us (this one, anyway), but there are still many sidewalks that are rough and slippery.  I’m still fall-free so far, but each time I lose my balance, even for a microsecond, I’m less sure I’ll be able to right myself before going down.  Clintonville’s electricity only returned this evening, which means Susie will be back in school for the first time since Monday.

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Another Reason January 22 is Significant

This is the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, legalizing abortion nationwide.  However, for me, January 22 is significant for another reason.  On the same day as the decision, Lyndon Johnson died in Texas.  The Court’s ruling on abortion dominated the news for the first part of the half hour, and then the focus shifted abruptly.

Here is an excerpt from The CBS Evening News that night.