Did I tell you I've been passing gall stones? I didn't, did I. I'm not hiding things from you! I just didn't want you to worry.

Remember back in April I mentioned that I had this weird ache on my right side, like I wanted to lift up my ribs and massage my liver? So I went to the HMO and wondered aloud about gallstones and Dr. White Hair said, "Gall bladder! We can remove that. No problem." And I said, "What about those little pills that dissolve gallstones, so I can keep my gall bladder, even though it's just there storing bile, because I kind of like having a bile middleman between my liver and my stomach?" And Dr. Old-timey Paternalistic Chatter said, "No, that takes forever! And what if you pass a gallstone? That's very painful! You don't need your gall bladder. We'll just take it out." And he scheduled me for a sonogram.

Meanwhile, I had also gone to my acupuncturist, who looked at my tongue and found darkness! And stagnation! And gave me gallstone dissolving herbs and liver cleansing herbs, and told me that if I was going to drink I should only drink distilled alcohol, which was great because then I could tell everyone I was cleansing my liver with tequila.

But then I had to switch acupuncturists, due to health insurance, and I went to my new L.Ac. and she was like "Tequila? To help your liver? He told you that?" Then she told me to start eating lots of green apples and radishes. Sure, lady! Fruits and vegetables! That's a good one! If you'll excuse me, I have an appointment with Dr. Margarita Mix.

Anyway, she gave me more herbs to take*, and my $15 copay qualified me for one hour of tongue examination, pulse feeling, and gall bladder channel poking per week. Over time the pain reduced and reduced, and then it went away! And then it came back! And then one day I was all (squeamish readers please skip to the next paragraph) Hey! There's a cut on my butt! Like, inside my anus. Not normally being a bleeder from the ass, I put two and two together and said, Hey! Maybe I pooped out a gallstone and it cut my butt! But it was too late to go digging through my poo, and really, I've never been a poo-digger, like most people I prefer to hand off the poo-digging to trained professionals.

Meanwhile, I'd never *ahem* gone to my sonogram appointment, because I can put two and two together, Dr. Fatherly Advice! If you see a sonogram of my gall stones, then you will call me and tell me you need to operate! And then I'd have to shout "No! No!" at you and say "I'm taking herbs!" and hear you cackle with barely disguised disgust while I insist "The gallbladder's simple function may be hiding deeper mysteries that you cannot see with your disaster-based, nonpreventive, black-and-white Western medical training!" And also, being a pure coward, I didn't want to have to fight a doctor about keeping my gall bladder. So I never had the sonogram.

So I kind of don't know if I'm passing gall stones.

But if I'm to believe this, passing a gall stone is, like crucifixion, a doddle. But I need at least another week to screw up the nerve to drink a pint of olive oil and really flush that fucker out.

*God am I sick of taking herbs.