Gallbladder Pain

Those were her words
with the triage nurse.
She had consulted
Dr. Google
and she knew
that her gallbladder
was the culprit.

It was agonizing,
she said,
worse with eating,
a gnawing on her
right upper side.

I tried to find
a Murphy’s sign,
and elicit the pain,
but failed.

Three small scars
over her liver
and another
tucked into her
gave her away.

I verified the history
of cholecystectomy
in her chart.
When I broke the news,
she was shocked.
She still didn’t remember.
“It must have been forty years ago.”
She felt so silly,
her pain resolved.

We still scanned her:
no abnormalities,
no gallbladder.

Ben Drum, MD/PhD is a PGY-3 in the Internal Medicine & Pediatrics program at the University of Utah. He is originally from Oregon and trained at the University of Washington.

Rubor Participation:
2021 Poem, "Wizard"
2021 Poem, "The benefit of the doubt"
2020 Poem, "Med-amorphosis"
2020 Poem, "Gallbladder Pain"
2019 Poem, "Hospital Tourism"

Voices from the Residents:
2020 Co-editor
2020 Prose, "Running His Mouth"