Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Acid Test

A week ago I met up with a friend for lunch during the workday. We hit Legal Seafoods in Cambridge – one of my favorite places to eat. Even though I have a shellfish allergy, I love their fish dishes, & thankfully I can eat fish (just as long as they are not the shelled variety!). Bizarrely though, one of my favorite meals there is one of their salads – apple, avocado, tortilla & cheese. And I always ask for chicken with it. Anyway, the point is, I typically get this if I’m there for lunch, since it’s a light-ish meal to eat, & doesn’t tend to put me asleep for the rest of the day. So I’ve eaten this salad dozens of times, with no problems.

So imagine my surprise when about an hour later, I was sitting at my desk & was suddenly hit by a quite severe pain, right in the middle of my chest, behind my sternum. Since I’ve never suffered heartburn in my life, my first thought, seriously, was: “Am I having a heart attack?”. Somehow I managed to stay rational though, & decided that no, I probably wasn’t, and that since it was soon after eating, it was probably heartburn.

It took about an hour to completely disappear, although it did dissipate gradually, thankfully. Then later that evening, after dinner, I experienced some more discomfort. Bummer. Looks like it wasn’t just a one-off. Same thing happened again the following day, mostly after feeding. So it was time to bust out the antacid medication.

Strangely though, a few days worth of antacids didn’t really help. Then a friend told me that she’d had a similar experience years ago, and it had turned out to be her gall bladder.

Next evening, I did get woken up overnight by some burning-type pain, so did a bit of research & it seemed that gall bladder issues were probably more likely than acid issues. Quite interesting. I’m not exactly a text-book candidate for gall bladder issues either, since they typically are people eating poor diets –  high cholesterol/high fat diets – and are often overweight, 40s/50s age group, fair-skinned, Europeans……my lipid panel is consistently just about perfect, and I eat a low-fat/high fiber diet, and I’m not overweight. But I guess I fit the “40s, fair, & European” bits! So I shouldn’t grumble, and also, as a veterinarian, I’m aware that not every patient reads the textbooks!

So, I stopped the antacids & started some painkillers instead. And when I hit the supermarket, I went for an even lower fat party than usual. I’m not a big fan of totally “fat free”, especially for my dairy stuff, since I find much of the foods tasteless when they are zero-fat. But I have to do whatever I have to do.

So the good news is, that after the painkillers and “multiple small meals of minimal fat” feeding habits all week, I’ve been much more comfortable, and I’m now off painkillers. I know a few folk who’ve had their gallbladder removed, and although they are fine, I do know that these days, surgeons prefer not to remove gallbladders because this carries a subsequent increased risk of colon cancer development. This fact, combined with me being a veterinarian, pretty much means that my gastrointestinal tract will probably have to be jumping out of my abdomen before I venture to see a doctor. So in the meantime, I’ll do the self-medicating thing that doctors hate their vets doing!  Hehe!

The good news too though, is that I even managed to enjoy my Easter package from England 🙂

                 White Toblerone – my favorite chocolate!

Hope you had a fun Easter weekend too!

And please do chime in if you’ve ever had any gallbladder issues! Or any other problems where you wondered if you were having a heart attack!



I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last posted anything. I’ve been through an exceptionally busy time at work, with lots of deadlines in quick succession. Combine this with some Exam Committee work that I do (that also has most of its deadlines for exam material submissions between March & May) & I have been left spending all my personal downtime trying to keep up on work-related projects, and just generally gasping for air – especially since my usual life routine of having 7 days a week to myself has been turned upside by spending  my weekends in another state! Not that I’m complaining about having someone nice in my life…..but I’m a creature of habit, & when my habits get knocked out of line, I’m not as quick as some to reach a new equilibrium!

But the good news is that I’ve survived my two busy months of deadlines, & I’m now trying to gradually restore some form of order & routine.

The other good news is that there’s a (seemingly) recovered hoarder in Watertown, NY! You may remember the original scene of carnage that faced me when M’s belongings arrived after his relocation.

The original crime scene - or part of it!

Well after many busy weekends of a constant cycle of “unpack, box up, itemize, donate”, we seem to have made great headway. I have to give M so much credit for how he has been willing to deal with his excess baggage. I must admit that in the beginning I had been devastated by the extent of the belongings he owned – mostly because of the “multiples” of everything that he owned, and the message that it all left me with. I thought I was going to be up against an uphill struggle for sure. But gradually, once he began to see that he didn’t really need multiples, or even much of the single stuff that he had….and when he began to see the benefit of donating (and receiving some tax benefit from it too)…..his mood lifted a lot, and he was extremely receptive to filtering everything. So much so that we’re now really only left with a small pile in the corner to sift through.

The last few stragglers….

So now we’re fortunate enough to be able to have more quality time together at the weekends, instead of just doing Box Patrol. And it’s really nice that our emergence from deadlines & boxes seems to be coinciding nicely with spring’s emergence too.

Last weekend as I drove into Watertown, I caught a glimpse of the Black River & did a double-take. It was the first time I’d seen that particular stretch without any covering of either snow or ice!

The Black River - minus the white!

Despite being overcast on Friday evening, we awoke Saturday to a beautiful blue sky with bright sunshine. And amazingly, no wind! It was too good to be true, and we decided to take full advantage of it, so after a leisurely late breakfast we took a drive into the Adirondacks region. Without the typical winds that we’ve become accustomed to up there, the water in all the lakes was scarily still, and the reflections were just beautiful.

The beauty of the Adirondacks region

M even put his cooking skills to use too – even though he’ll often organize breakfasts or lunches, usually I’m in charge of dinner.  So it was wonderful to have dinner cooked for me for a change! And it was delicious too.

Danger - Men At Work!

So there we are folks……emerging into a new routine in time for the spring! And I must admit that I’m loving the longer daylight hours we have now – although I don’t mind the winter and dark days, I am definitely more productive during the daylight, so I always get more accomplished when the days are longer.

How are you guys all enjoying the emerging spring?