Forum:Fledgling Rationalist in desperate need of detailed explanations and clarification (preferably from any medical professionals or experts on human biology in the house).
Hi, I'm a 17 year old male science student from Sri Lanka (a little island south of india), who's just completed his O-Level/High School education. I was recently diagnosed with "multiple thickening calculi" (gallstones) in my gallbladder after an ultrasound scan. I was initially (apparently) misdiagnosed with gastritis after suffering from some considerable abdominal pain which caused me to lose a good amount of sleep. My physician prescribed some "Nexpro" 20mg tablets along with "Gaviscon" syrup. The pain seemed to be kept at bay until I suffered a sudden unbearable surge of it a few days after. I went to the doctor again. We told her about about it and my need to remain 'functional' due to my final exams being a few days away. She prescribed some "Costi" and "Buscopan" tablets after suggesting an ultrasound scan as a precaution. My dad didn't seem to worry much about it and since the scan required making an appointment the day before it along with a period of fasting prior to taking the scan (a few hours) and the apparent success of my new medicine at stopping all the pain (whether it was coincidence or the placebo effect I have no idea), I put it off until after my exams (which lasted a few weeks).
It feels idiotic in hindsight. After stopping my medication (since my body felt fine and since it was apparently the only way to check if the problem was over) the pain came back about a day after stopping my meds. Felt some discomfort at night, took a "Buscopan" tablet slept, woke up with pain building up in my gut, got worse and unbearable again, lasted for more than 5 hours, that's the day I took the scan (in the evening). Went home, showed doctor results the next day, she referred us to a surgeon, he recommended a Cholecystectomy (surgical removal of the gallbladder). It turns out the longer duration of the pain was due to inflammation of the gallbladder and fluid collecting around it. Prescribed "Ciprobid" antibiotics in case of bacterial infection. He said the other methods of removal are inadequate/unsuitable (Lithotripsy, Ursodeoxycholic acid, etc.). The calculi would reform over time and removal of the gallbladder itself was what he recommended. Apparently there is a "safe period" for surgery which lasts only up to 4 days after inflammation. If it is gone, the alternative is to wait 8 weeks or more and then go through surgery. My parents chose the latter, for a number of reasons. 1: They get squeamish whenever surgery (with its possible risks) is mentioned in regards to their only child. 2: They could be hoping for a miracle (one way or another) due to wishful thinking. 3: In vain attempt to delay the inevitable and come to grips with the uncertainty of the situation. 4: (One practical reason) Having it done through a government run hospital instead of through the private sector (I guess it saves money).
The sooner they can get my name on a waiting list for surgery the better (at least that's what I and a qualified, experienced surgeon seem to think). However that would have been too easy. My parents (my dad in particular) seem to have needed a second opinion. Another friendly (apparently genuinely certified) doctor, a nice enough fellow who seems to have a fondness for "Natural" cures and "Ayurvedic" medicine (That's what he calls it, I'm guessing you can see where I'm going with this?). He suggests some kind 'cleansing' diet which consists of: 4 glasses of apple juice a day for 7 days, a cup of one half lime juice and the other half olive oil for 7 days, two tablespoons of magnesium sulphate morning and night for 'bowel cleaning'. The fact that my dad now talks about the 'limits' of "Western Medicine(TM)" is enough to set off my B.S. Meter. My parents are a very pampering and genuinely caring couple, but scientific rigor isn't one of their strongest points. They ask me to 'believe' that everything will be alright which I honestly can't if my I care about my health.
I may be paranoid or not taking this seriously enough (not sure which), the alt-doc says there's 'no need' for antibiotics, which doesn't fill me with confidence about the guy. I need advice on how to make it clear to my folks that postponing the recommended operation isn't wise (I highly doubt calling law enforcement/child services is necessary) and how to refute the woo. In addition I'd also like to educate myself more on the potential risks and benefits (if any) of not taking the operation versus taking it (nice n' concise explanation instead of encyclopedic if possible). Already asked my docs but the explanations they gave aren't detailed enough, and the net barrages me with info. I'm mainly asking this to settle my own doubts as I've already consulted doctors. Any effort is appreciated. Sorry for the length and any grammatical errors, typed this in a rush.
P.S. Anyone know any good OTC painkillers with minimal side effects for abdominal pain? It's a real mean S.O.B. when it hits.
- Do anything you can to get surgery as fast as possible. Nothing should be off limits, including lying to your parents and calling the police. The infection from the gallstones could kill you if left untreated, and your alt-doc should have his head lopped off for saying something that criminally stupid. Once you have the damn thing surgically removed, you can make up with your family later. You won't be able to do that once your dead from a pancreas infection.
- You should have little to worry about. Gallbladder removal's among the easiest surgeries known to man. Right up there with circumcisions and appendectomies. There's zero reason for anyone to die of gallbladder problems. That said, the risks that do exist with the procedure'll only get worse as time passes, but they'll never get as bad as keeping the damn thing inside.
- Sadly, I don't know of any painkillers that help with stomach pain. As a matter of fact, most of the ones I know of are more likely to make stomach pains worse. *Asterisk* (talk) 08:37, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
- R0derick, medical advice is what you need, and I hope you can get your issue resolved locally. I am sorry to read that your parents are resisting a proper standard of care. Be aware that RationalWiki cannot give medical advice, and that Asterisk does not speak for RationalWiki in this matter.
- Asterisk, are you a doctor? If not, kindly do not go dispensing medical advice on Rationalwiki. In anecdotal evidence, 100% of the patients I've known to have gall bladder surgery have died that night. Of course, that patient was elderly, and had other health problems which compromised his resilience. Still, if you don't know what you're talking about, please don't go playing the helpful internet guy. You aren't helping. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 14:52, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
- You really just have it in for me, don't you? This isn't like telling someone how to perform chemo over the internet, this is telling someone weather to have their cancer healed by chemotherapy, or spirit magic. The specific reason medical advice is discouraged from being given online is because it keeps people from seeing real doctors, which is the exact opposite of what I'm doing.
- The facts are in. Get to a real doctor and have it removed. Don't listen to the witch. I would never give out instructions like how to perform the operation or what antibiotics to prescribe and I'm insulted you'd suggest otherwise.
- In anecdotal evidence, 100% of the patients I've known to have gall bladder surgery have died that night. Of course, that patient was elderly, and had other health problems which compromised his resilience.
- Where the hell do you go off saying this? By that standard, you might as well say he should decline anti-biotics for pneumonia because 100% of the patients you've known antecdotally died from it anyway.
Without giving medical advice - my wife was repeatedly misdiagnosed with GURD, but during a major, acute gallstone attack, had her gallbladder removed in what was basically an emergency procedure (inflammation lasted 2 days and showed no signs of going down, with treatment, which led them to fear infection). She no longer has any pain at all. Her surgery was minor - basically outpatient, and the surgeon said that she had one of the largest, hardest gallbladders he had ever removed (he was almost forced to convert to an open from a laproscopic procedure). She was on her feet the next day, and basically recovered in a week. Hipocrite (talk) 16:43, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
- So now we have two samples in our study, and unsurprisingly the odds are getting better. I suspect there is a high likelihood of any patient surviving the procedure, and having a quick recovery. but saying, as Asterisk did, "There's zero reason for anyone to die of gallbladder problems." is demonstrably untrue. Not based in fact. Bullshit. Also not supported by the link he showed.
- I was making an analogy because I thought your point was idiotic. As for what I meant by there being zero reason for anyone to die of gallbladder problems is the same thing I'd mean by people having zero reason to die of papercuts. It's easily treated by modern medicine, and drinking tea as an attempted cure for the problem's practically suicidal.
I don't have much time and I am not a doctor but I can tell you my personal experience and opinion. I declined to have my gallbladder removed due to gallstones ten years ago and I am fine. I had very painful attacks and infection but I didn't have the surgery and I am fine. As far as I know, gallstones can be controlled by diet and drinking lots of water. Ask your doctor about this. I am not pushing woo alt-med but it's a fact and if you are young you should be doubly able to control your gallstone problems via diet and maybe some effective herbal treatment. No more fried or greasy food for you! I don't have time but if you have questions, let me know.LMM (talk) 06:33, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
Hey again! Original poster. Sorry about the incredibly late reply. This may come a bit late, but the problem was (fortunately for me) resolved with no quackery involved. One small thing though... The last thing the 'ALT-Doc' recommended was ingesting "S.M. Salts". What the hell is that anyway? Is he talking about bath salts (and which kind 0_o)? I think I may have *GASP* stumbled across a never before heard form of quackery! D: But seriously, even almighty Google doesn't turn up anything specific about this topic (or maybe I just entered the wrong keywords), only some links that seem to suggest a pharmaceutical chemical of some kind? Anyone else come across this? 'S.M.' salts? Anyone? R0derick (talk) 11:47, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
an actual medical description
http://www.healthline.com/health/calculus-gallbladder-acute-cholecystitis I simply advise you to read, abd possibly call child services (or whoever) for a health advocate. Hamster (talk) 01:06, 13 March 2015 (UTC)