Instead, I got myself into bed and he called my dad and brother (both physicians) who made a special, late night house call. OFF TOPIC: Why in the world did we ever move away from the time when doctors made house calls? I mean, let's be honest, when we feel horrible and really shouldn't be out in public anyway (especially when you sound like you're hacking up a lung), doesn't it make more sense for them to come to you in the comfort of your home? I have never been more attune to this fact as I was the night my literal family doctors came to check me out. It was glorious and I would totally pay for that kind of service.
After my dad noticed I was rubbing my right shoulder every time another spasm hit, he diagnosed gallstones and recommended I get an ultrasound. The good news was that my family saved me a trip to the ER. The bad news was that the ultrasound confirmed that I did, indeed, have a gallstone mass. Not a big one, but large enough to make its presence known. Surgery was scheduled, and fees were added up. I had another attack... not a gallstone this time, but my wallet and my budget experienced a searing pain when I realized how much it was going to cost us out of pocket. More talk ensued after we realized I could narrow this issue down to one thing: Peter's amazingly delicious butter sauce.
He had been perfecting it since February. A mixture of butter (and lots of it), even more cream, a pan of steak drippings, some shallots, and the occasional dash of red wine - this sauce was "smack yo' mama good" and I gobbled it up, week after week. The first time he made it, I suffered no ill effects. A couple of weeks later, we had friends over and he made it for them - and later that night, I told him I was feeling a little "full", rubbing a spot about half-way down my torso. Two days later, he made it again (more company), and that time I felt the effects for about 24 hours, no pain, just discomfort. I ate a lot of Tums. This went on each time he made the sauce, but I never made a connection until the night when my gallbladder said, "Hey, YOU! I've been trying to talk to you for a while now, but you're clearly dense, so I'll spell it out for you!"
And so, with surgery looming, I had a heart-to-heart with my gallbladder. I expressed sadness that it couldn't make its peace with the butter sauce (for I have cautiously eaten everything else, and experienced no spasms of any kind). I told it that I would rather it stay where it was, if possible, and promised to take it easy on the butter, if it would only behave itself. So far, we have a truce. The surgery was cancelled, the gallbladder remains, the butter sauce hasn't been made again, and I am spasm-free.
Last week, my husband asked me if it was worth it... eating the sauce. The pain was pretty bad, and for three or four days after the attack, I was sore - like I'd been kicked in the gut repeatedly. But time makes one forget pain, while the memory of the sauce remains. You know, our 14th wedding anniversary is next week... maybe just a little taste...
|Quote from Julia Child, Original Graphic Source