“Ms. Sensitivity, Ms. Sensitivity! Are you listening? I need you to focus.” Overthinker presses both palms against Ms. Sensitivity’s cheeks, causing her lips to poof out into a sloppy ‘kiss’ shape. Ms. Sensitivity’s eyes are wide and googling back and forth in their sockets, looking for Overtryer to come rescue her from Overthinker’s clutches.
This occurred March of 2017. We all had just visited the doctor in Kuala Lumpur, and the doctor delivered the disturbing news that I am filled with rocks – at least my gallbladder is filled with rocks. At the time, things were comfortably asymptomatic, and the Doctor explained so long as it stayed that way, she saw no reason to undergo a surgery. “But,” she cautioned, “with this many stones at this size, it’s usually just a matter of time.”
Focusing on the phrase “you’re fine for now,” I say “Fantastic!” and merrily take my leave until later that night I’m snuggled between the sheets at our fancy hotel and my dear Overthinker realizes something:
The Indian Ocean.
Its just a matter of time…
What about the Indian Ocean?
Its just a matter of time…
We have to cross the Indian Ocean.
After tossing and turning on this topic, at 2:00 a.m. Overthinker can’t take it anymore. She grabs my cell phone and starts scrolling through WebMD, Livestrong, and www.OtherCockamamieRemedies.com. What can go wrong? What is worst case scenario? What is the likelihood of the worst-case scenario arising? What’s the alternative? What are the possible solutions?
Overthinker’s Conclusion: It’s anyone’s guess whether any diet, exercise, Reiki Healing, or other medical intervention short of surgery will stave off problems, but if it fails, an acute gallbladder attack in the middle of the Indian Ocean could be a catastrophic health problem. She calls an Emergency Meeting of “The Minds” at first light the next morning.
Back at the front of the room with her whiteboard and pointer stick, Overthinker presents the situation to Overtryer who gulps free hotel coffee from her to-go mug and Ms. Sensitivity, who listens attentively while clinking a small spoon against her mug of green tea as she stirs. Overthinker tries to call Andrew to the meeting, but he’s scrolling through Facebook and listening with only half of one ear.
Overthinker charges onward with her presentation: “A gallbladder attack occurs when a stone made of either minerals or hardened cholesterol wedges itself into the gallbladder’s bile a duct. This prevents the flow of digestive chemicals created by the pancreas and liver and sent over to the gallbladder for use. I like to think of the gallbladder as one of those cupcake icing dispensers with the frilly flower metal points on top: it squeezes out just the right amount of digestive stuff at just the right time. ‘Apple, okay – blurp blurp… dry cabbage salad – blurp… Oh, you just ate a whole tub of cream cheese? Open the flood gates!’” Overthinker swings her hands wide to emphasize her point about floodgates.
“When the stone blocks the icing dispenser, the chemicals continue to get made in the liver and pancreas, but they have nowhere to go. Everything in the production line gets stopped, inflamed, infected, and in a worst-case scenario, your pancreas ruptures. This can kill you. Turns out, though, you don’t especially need your gallbladder. So, when things go awry, doctors cut the whole thing out to save the liver and pancreas. The question we must consider is: when you are planning to cross the Indian Ocean with no real medical help for days, possibly weeks and pre-departure medical tests show “it’s just a matter of time” until things go awry with your gallbladder - what do you do?”
Overthinker stops mid hand-wave, hoping a general consensus will overtake her audience. Overtryer yawns. Ms. Sensitivity looks on, waiting for some answer to Overthinker’s hyperbolic question. After a long, awkward pause Overthinker says, “Ms. Sensitivity!” Overthinker rushes to the table, leans across and squeezes Ms. Sensitivity cheeks between her palms: “I think we have to convince a doctor to do elective surgery. Don’t you?”
Ms. Sensitivity squeaks, unable to respond intelligably through Overthinker’s sweaty-palmed grasp. Overtryer doodles in her notepad, and without looking up says; “she can’t respond to you while you have her face in lock-down like that.”
Overthinker backs away and wipes her palms on her pencil skirt. She straightens her crooked hair bun and looks at Ms. Sensitivity. “Well?”
“I hate elective surgeries.” Ms. Sensitivity says, refusing to consider the possibility of going under the knife without a clear and unambiguous reason to do so. Overthinker starts waving her hands at charts demonstrating the horrors of pancreatic ruptures. Ms. Sensitivity continues, “What did the Chinese medicine site say about this? Surely, they have some herb or another that will help?”
Overthinker pauses and opens her mouth to say something, but then realizes even this opens an opportunity for an argument in her favor. “Chinese medicine says the gallbladder is where you store repressed anger and resentment! Surely, it should just come out, then.”
But Ms. Sensitivity just shakes her head. “No. What are you worried about, anyway? The Indian Ocean passage is almost a year away from now. Life will tell us what to do as the time gets closer.”
With this conclusion, Overtryer considers the “Emergency Meeting of the Minds” over, hops up from her place behind the colored pencil bin, and carries on toward the Adventure-of-the-Day. Ms. Sensitivity gives Overthinker a “not to worry” pat on the arm and pulls her along-side as they amble along behind Over-tryer. “Faith, Overthinker. Just have faith.”
I’m amazed Ms. Sensitivity was able to calm Overthinker like that; usually, Overthinker hates the “F” word, and she rarely makes key decisions based thereon. Yet, for the last eleven months she’s let this issue rest. Though, I can hear her muttering “it’s just a matter of time” in the manner of a mother reminding her offspring of a looming key deadline.
To Be Continued….