Friday, May 31, 2013

Gary's Bile

A Tale of Gallbladder Woes

            “Beep, beep, beep, beep..…Unggh!” blasted the alarm throughout the factory, signaling the start of another work day.  Workers began taking up their posts and the sounds of various machines powering up reverberated through the air.  With a rumble here and a jiggle there, the entire workplace came alive with activity.

             “Morning Larry!”

            “Good morning Gary.”

            “Back to the grind eh? Morning Sam!”

            “Hey there Gary.  Why do the mornings have to come so early?” grumbled Sam. 

“Time to punch in and get this day a-rollin,” cheerfully continued Gary.  “I can’t wait to see what’s going to break our fast this morning.  Do you think it will be really fatty today?  I can’t wait to try the new stuff Larry cooked up for me last night” 

“And here’s some more of that batch of bile for you Gary.  If I don’t send it down to you now, I’m libel to forget.  Seems like management is planning for a busy night of partying,” Larry piped in. 

            “Well, they don’t call you Larry “Workhorse” Liver for nothing, now do they.  Thanks a bunch!  Any news on your front Sam?  I’m just dying to try this stuff out!”

 “I don’t know Gary, you really should try to be more patient.  He’s up and moving around so I’ll give a good rumble to let him know that we’re all ready for him.”

 “Perfect, thanks Sam.  While we’re waiting, anybody want to hear the new song I made up to pass the time?  Anybody?  Well, here it goes anyway,
I’m a little gallbladder, small and round,
Here is my bile, here is my duct spout,
When I get all worked up, hear me shout,
“Tip me over and squeeze me out!”
What do you guys think?!?”
           “Umm… yeah, that’s nice Gary… can you keep it down?  I’m trying to hear what’s going on out there,” answered Sam distractedly, grumbling a bit more for good measure.

“Well, it was worth a try anyway.  Oo, oo, how about, ‘This is the bile that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend… somebody started making it, not knowing what it was, but they’ll continue making it forever just because, this is the bile….”


“Ok, ok… I’ll just sit here and be patient,” Gary muttered to himself. “I can be patient.  Really I can.  Hmmm... Ninety-nine bottles of bile on the wall, ninety-nine bottles of bile, take one down, squeeze it around, ninety-eight bottles of bile on the wall.  Ninety-eight bottles of…”

“Gary, I can still hear you!  You’re going to give me an ulcer if you keep all that up.  Besides, your songs don’t even rhyme!  Just pipe down and get to work.  I think I see some business coming our way!” announced Sam. 

Surely enough, the long wait was over and a big load of food came travelling down the esophageal pipeline to keep them all busy for a while.  All excited to be a part of the intricate process, Gary gave a big push, but nothing came out.  In fact, suddenly he wasn’t feeling his best. 

“Ok Gary, can we get some of those enzymes sent over here?  Gary?  Gary?!”
            “Yeah, yeah Sam.  I’m trying, I just… am starting to feel a little green.”
             “Come on BileBoy, just give me a squirt and you’ll feel better.”

            “No, I mean, I can’t push anything out!  I don’t feel so good Sam.  I’m starting to feel a little nauseous.”

            “Don’t you quit on me now Gary, we need some of that bile to finish up the production line.  Why don’t you alert management to the problem?”

            “Oh, good idea.  Help! Help!!”

            Up above, a deep voice came over the loud speaker, “Ouch, my shoulder hurts!  I don’t remember pulling anything when I was playing golf the other day, but maybe I was a little rough on my right side.”

            “No, no.  Shesh, management these days…  Down here silly!  We need help down here!” Gary cried out.

            “Ugh, my stomach hurts and I’m really starting to feel queasy.  I think I’ll go visit the doctor to get this looked at,” scratched the loud speaker.

            “Ok Gary, hold on.  The mechanic’s on his way so we’ll get you fixed up in no time.  Gary?”

            “Yeah Sam.  Thanks.”

            “No problem buddy.”

            “Hey Sam?”

            “Yeah Gary?”

            “I’m a little gallbladder, all stopped up…”


Medical Morales to Remember:

  • Larry “Workhorse” Liver – many different functions including manufacturing of bile for storage in the gallbladder and processing of alcohol
  • Grumpy Sam Stomach – breaks down food
  • Overeager Gary Gallbladder – stores bile, excretes bile through the common bile duct into the small intestine to help break down food, especially fatty foods
  • Cholecystitis – inflammation (-itis) of the gallbladder
  • Cholelithiasis – gallstone disease, cause problems when blocking the flow of bile through the common bile duct
  • Signs and Symptoms of Gallstones – pain after eating, nausea/vomiting, pain in upper abdomen, back, under right shoulder

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