Before last Monday, I can’t say that I gave much thought to my pancreas. Asked about its location, I would have pointed to the general area of my stomach. Asked about its function, I might have sounded like one of those unfortunate people that are asked in a street interview where certain countries are in the world, for the rest of the population to watch and mock. These are things that I now humbly admit, because my pancreas declared war on me.
I just completed a 5 day stay in the hospital for pancreatitis. I suppose as I get closer to and pass 40, more of these types of things will be commonplace for me and my friends. I have a friend who just recently had to deal with gout. Next up I’ll be talking about the black lung a la Derek Zoolander. But back to the topic-pancreatitis is no joke. Your pancreas, fed up with being outside of the spotlight for your whole life, demands your attention by making your stomach an active volcano of pain. It will no longer be related to second citizen internal organ status. Basically, your pancreas is George Harrison towards the end of the Beatles and pancreatitis is his first solo album All Things Must Pass-A double album of pain.
The main causes of pancreatitis are gall stones and alcohol consumption. They checked for gall stones and I don’t have any, so that was eliminated. And since I have a drink maybe twice a year (one is usually a White Russian in honor of The Dude and the other may or may not involve an umbrella) that too was eliminated. So I just hit the internal organ malady lottery-woo hoo! Included in my prizes was a stay at a local hospital, with all the benefits you can imagine: multiple needle sticks, a new flattering wardrobe, and people visiting at all hours of the night to take my vital signs and steal my blood. At least they give you some pretty good medicine-it definitely took away most of the pain, even if it also took away my ability to fully comprehend the difference between night and day. One night I woke up and felt like it was morning, so I turned on the TV and sat up, ready to face the day. I looked at my watch to discover that it was 3:30am. Dilaudid-for when you want the clock to no longer apply to you!
Thankfully, I got a little better each day and I am on the mend now. Going to go for a follow up to try and determine what may have caused it. In the meantime it is good to be home, although there are new pitfalls to beware of. Thought for the medical/scientific community-come up with some sort of bubble wrap contraption for people that have small children to wear when they come home from the hospital, so they can climb all over you without further angering your pancreas or any of its neighbors. I believe in you, science!