The Unmitigated Gall

Alright, you’re all  probably wondering why there’s going to be such a long break between now and the next review. So I thought I’d do what I usually do in these situations; hold a hypothetical conversation with a mysterious person who only speaks in boldface.
Hey Mouse, why you no review long time?
Good, if rather ungrammatically worded, question MPWOSIB.
To answer that I need to explain something about me.
If the only information you were provided about me was a list of what I eat in a given week, you would conclude the following: This person is not merely fat. He is SO fat that he can neither lift his arms nor fit in a bathtub, meaning that the only way he can bathe is to get the elephants in the carnival that he tours with as an attraction to stand in a circle around him and douse him with their trunks. The delivery guys know me by name, sight and scent. You name it, I have had it delivered to my door; Chinese Food, Pizza, Fish and Chips, this new restaurant down the road that just brings a barrel of lard to your house and pumps it straight into your stomach…
But, oddly enough, I’m pretty much at my ideal weight for a male of my age and height and have been for pretty much all my adult life. For whatever reason, I kinda just don’t put on weight and you hate me now and that’s good.
"Hate keeps a man alive."

“Hate keeps a man alive.”


But don’t worry. Karma has got your back. See, a few months ago my wife and I had the following conversation:
“Um, sweetie? You know that pain you get where it feels like a school of piranhas is chewing its way through your abdomen?”

“Um, sweetie? You know that pain you get where it feels like a school of piranhas is chewing its way through your abdomen?”

“Are you having a period?”

“Are you having a period?”

“Um…yes? That’s not right, right?

“Um…yes? That’s not right, right?

“Yeah, you should probably get that checked out.”

“Yeah, you should probably get that checked out.”

(Let me just spoil the ending to this story real quick: I’M FINE.)
Anyway, I got it checked out and it turns out that my gallbladder, which is the part of your digestive system that helps digest fatty foods, has thrown on a red bandana and started screaming about revolution and the liberation of the masses. This, coupled with my appendix’s treasonous attempt on my life in my college years, has convinced me that I’ve been far too trusting of my lower organs.
"So, Liver. You mean to tell me that you were right on top of the gallbladder and yet knew nothing of his traitorous schemes?"

“So, Liver. You mean to tell me that you were right on top of the gallbladder and yet knew nothing of his traitorous schemes?”

"I…I…he always kept to himself. We never spoke!"

“I…I…he always kept to himself. We never spoke!”

"So you won’t talk. Well. Maybe this Polish vodka will jog your memory..."

“So you won’t talk. Well. Maybe this Polish vodka will jog your memory…”





Anyway, long story short: It turns out I have gallstones.
Relax, I’m not going to…heeeeeeeeey. Seriously, though. I’m fine, it’s fine, I’m going to be fine.
What are gallstones? Is that like a euphemism? Are these metaphorical stones?
No, weirdly enough. These are actual, real stones that have formed inside my gallbladder. Whenever I eat fatty foods my gallbladder tries to pump bile which results in the stones getting trapped in the entrance to the gallbladder and a sensation not unlike piranhas chewing through my abdomen.
Sounds fun.
It’s actually kinda not.
So what are they gonna do?
Take out the whole gallbladder.
Don’t you need that?
Actually, no. It’s like the appendix, just one of those organs who’s main purpose is to try and kill you. It’s actually a really simple procedure. Only trouble is, I’m on a waiting list and it’s going to be around six to eight months before I get treated.
Ah, well, you see Mouse this is why it’s so important to have health insurance.
Yeah. Funny story. I HAVE health insurance.
Yeah. And now you know why, when I wrote that post about why Ireland is a great place to live, I didn’t mention the healthcare system. That was intentional.
Yikes on bikes. Yeah.
You gonna be okay?
As I said, it’s fine. Basically I just need to eat low fat foods as much as possible. I’ve also been given some painkillers and anti-spasmodics to help keep things manageable and so far they’ve done the trick. However, it does mess up my sleeping pattern which means I haven’t been able to do as much writing as I would like. If I was just working on the blog that wouldn’t be a problem but frustratingly, I actually need to be writing more not less right now.
You have news?
I do. Good news. The first draft of my play, A Falling Ton of Iron, went into the Abbey Theatre and the response was really, really positive. I got some really good notes and so now the next stage is to come up with a draft that can actually be workshopped with actors. After that, I’ll do a final draft and hand it in and then the Abbey will have to decide whether to make my career or crush my hopes and dreams like a tiny, tiny grape.
"Don’t you try to guilt trip us."

“Don’t you try to guilt trip us.”

As well as that, I’ve been working on a comic book, an occult horror story starring WB Yeats, with artist Paul Keane that I’m really excited about and really need to get cracking on. So, to sum up; Play, Comic, Blog, Gallstones. Not enough time to do everything.
So don’t do gallstones. That seems like the obvious one not to do.
You’re not wrong. So that’s where we’re at: How I Trained Your Dragon will go up on 14 May and we should be back on schedule after that. Thanks for being so understanding, guys. Also, I’m putting up a ton of posts with recommendations, and news and other stuff that I’ve been meaning to put up for ages (did you know I wrote a movie? And that you can watch it for free?) so watch this space.
Mouse out.


  1. Man, it really sucks to have to have a major operation like that put you out of commission. I hope things go well for you, Mouse.

  2. Lucky you caught it in time to do the surgery as an elective. I’d never been seriously ill before, and misinterpreted my gallstone pain as heartburn. Then one night about 2am it progressed in my mind from heart burn to heart attack.
    They figured out what it was at the ER (the cardiologist was positively beaming when she said “You have gallstones!” But they still scheduled me for emergency surgery. The surgeon showed me the pictures of my gallbladder later and said that about half of it was already dead before I presented for surgery. 🙂

  3. Congratulations!

    Incidentally, the part about lower organs staging a revolution… hast thou, perchance, encountered a book entitled ‘The Day My Bum Went Psycho’? It’s one of our most famous children’s novels.

      1. It is one of the most insightful pieces of literature ever printed in English. It weaves together countless threads of meaningnessness to probe the very depths of the human condition. Truly, what are we without our bums? And can we ever create a society in which the under(pant)classes need not struggle against their overlords?

        Also, the bums in that story begin by revolting against their masters, staging midnight bum rallies, and plotting to create a giant fart to render all of humanity unconscious so that they can switch places with the heads.

        Cut that little anarchist sucker out, is what I’m saying.

  4. Actually, both organs have a function. The gallbladder helps you to digest (but I guess the doctor told you already that you have to change your diet now permanently, right?) and while it isn’t confirmed yet, there is the theory that the job of the appendix is actually to be a hideout for “good” bacteria. So whenever you have a problem and the digestive system decides to “flush out” everything in it, it catches the not only the bad but also the good bacteria…but that’s okay, because there are still some left in your appendix to repopulate the area. Well, naturally if you don’t have one any longer, it will eventually adjust, too, but with one it has an easier time.

    After this bit of useless trivia, I hope to get well soon….and move up the waiting list as fast as possible. And I am glad your writing career takes off.

    1. It is weird though that you can survive without these organs. One of my grandmothers had a gallstone operation, which probably meant that they removed her gall bladder (I had never thought about exactly what kind of operation it was). But she would go on to live more than fifty years after that (she became ninetythree years old), and I don’t even know if she even changed her diet.

  5. Well after learning that you’re the cause to The Land Before Time sequels, An American Tail sequels, All Dogs go to Heaven sequels, plus the tv shows of Land Before Time and All Dogs go to Heaven, oh yeah and the NIMH sequel – that amount of karma debt you had to pay off sounds about right with what you have now.

    I kid. I’m sorry you are stuck with that and I hope for a speedy recovery in the months to come. Relax and take your time while you watch that studio play around with tiny grapes.

      1. Oh I know that, but he started them and you ruined him. So by goldfish technicality that cheddar cheese is good, it’s all your fault!

        Besides I did like some of the sequels. ^_^

  6. Sorry to hear that! I hope the operation goes well and you have a speedy recovery. And surely you deserve a vacation after reviewing The Film That Shall Not Be Named.;)

  7. Well, I’m sorry to hear about your situation. I hope you get better soon. (On a side note, reading this made me think of Weird Al’s “Pancreas” song. Wether that’s a good or bad thing, I’ll let you decide.)

  8. I’m sorry to hear you have gallstones Mouse. I hope when the doctors do get around to taking care of you (they would have given you the surgery within 1-2 weeks over here, granted you had REAL health insurance and not O’trauma-care), that you’ll recover quickly. You sound like a reasonably healthy mouse overall, in spite of the stones, so you should get through it with no complications. It’s good you have a supportive family too 🙂

    I’m actually studying to become a nurse and have studied the human body for years, so I knew exactly what you were talking about. Good work on your course in digestion Mouse :).

    I have a friend who has had problems with kidney stones, and it seems both those and gallstones can hurt. My mom had her gallbladder removed back during the Millennium because it went on strike and bought a benign tumor hat from the Smurfs, (of course, she’s got Crohn’s disease, so she had problems even BEFORE the gallbladder). I’m afraid there are some things you can’t avoid, no matter how healthy your lifestyle is.

    I hope you get better soon Mouse.

  9. I don’t hate you. I’m in fact one of your paunch-proof brethren, so I don’t… Man… *that’s* what happens when… Ok, now I might hate you juuust a little bit for telling me what I may have to look forward to later on. But mostly I just feel very sorry for you, you poor little fellow you. That just sounds awful, though your conversation between your body parts made me laugh really loud. They say laughter is the best medicine, so I hope your friends and relations have managed to learn a thing or two about creating grand peals of laughter so they can aid in your recovery from the betrayal of your devious, piranha-siccing gallbladder. Though not too much, as your sides probably hurt enough already.

    Good luck with the play, best wishes for the comic, and may you make a swift recovery, Mister Mouse!

  10. Ah, the gallbladder. Usually such a nice, quiet, unassuming organ . . . until the day it finally snaps and goes on a screaming bloody rampage.

    One of my very good friends had gallbladder attacks for years before they figured out what was going on. Apparently, at its worst, an attack has a pain level akin to that of childbirth. She has since actually given birth, and from what she said . . . yah. 😦

    Take care of yourself!

  11. Take care, Mouse. And congrats on the play. 🙂 The comic sounds all kinds of epic by the way.

  12. Aw, damn – wish I lived closer to the Abbey! I love theatre. And comics. Dammit.
    I also had insurance when my heart went wonky, it didn’t seem to make a difference here. I’d hoped that your area would be better than Mayo, but it seems not. Best of luck when the day does come around at last.

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