Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, was unable to do surgery because he had no anesthesia. So, when God gives you lemons you make lemonade. Instead of doing surgery because he had no anesthesia, he began doing autopsies, the examination of the recently deceased.
When a young man died from a chariot race injury, because that is what they raced back then instead of motorcycles, his gallbladder contained golden, yellow bile. And that color is considered today the normal color of bile in a healthy individual. Then, when a woman died of a heart attack and also had gallstones, her autopsy a revealed that her bile in the gallbladder was black. So, Hippocrates went to the woman's family and asked them, because she was dead, what kind of person she was. They described her as withdrawn, irritable, short-fused, depressed, and not much fun anymore. So, he called the condition melancholia, melan, meaning black, and cholia, meaning bile. The word melancholia is now used to describe depression.
When I remove the diseased gallbladder at surgery I always aspirate the bile from the gallbladder for culture and sensitivity of any organisms that might be present. Whenever I have any students scrubbed with me on the case in the operating room, I always ask them the color of the bile. It is always black colored. And then I tell them the story of Hippocrates and how he came to name the condition of depression as melancholia.
One of the main causes of depression is a diseased gallbladder. As I have said before, it is not necessary to have gallstones in the gallbladder to have a diseased gallbladder. Whenever the gallbladder is diseased, whether dysfunctional or containing stones, the person exhibits signs of depression.
I recently had a telephone call from a patient whom I had removed her gallbladder seven years ago. She now wanted to become pregnant and wondered if I had seen any signs of endometriosis in her pelvis at the time of her laparoscopic surgery. The endometriosis is a condition that makes becoming pregnant more difficult. I told her that it was too long a time for me to remember the exact circumstances and that I was sorry I couldn't be of more help. Well, she said I want to tell you that those awful black moods that I experienced prior to my gallbladder surgery never came back after the operation. I thanked her, and I knew what she meant.
The medical treatment of depression is to prescribe an antidepressant medication to elevate the mood of the patient. However, all antidepressant medications are anticholinergics, which also act upon smooth muscle to make it contract less. This also affects the diseased smooth muscle of the gallbladder making it contract even less. The patient may smile at you but they hurt more inside as a result of this lessening activity on the smooth muscle of the gallbladder.
It is the inability of the smooth muscle of the diseased gallbladder to contract when it is stimulated by the ingestion of fatty foods which causes the symptoms of bloating, gassiness, belching, and constipation, alternating with diarrhea, heart burn and indigestion and later by right upper quadrant pain. This poor contraction of the gallbladder is made worse by all of the various antidepressant medications.
Most of my patients are referred to me by someone that I have operated upon, and these patients are usually women. I usually place them on the Saint Anthony's Diet for six weeks to eliminate their symptoms and to quiet down the gallbladder to facilitate the laparoscopic or "belly button" operation. After this quieting down period, if they choose to undergo surgery, I ask their spouse, or significant other, to accompany them on their next scheduled office visit.
When he comes in with her, he usually has a frown on his face as if to say "Who is this doctor and can I trust him? I then ask him the question, "Mr. Jones, Do you find it difficult to get an "A" anymore? He thinks for a moment, his facial expression softens, and then he starts to smile. He understands what I mean.
A man forgets anniversaries because he does not need flowers, a card, or dinner. What he needs on a regular basis is an "A". If he hangs up his clothes, washes out the tub, empties the dishwasher, washes her car, he then comes to see her with that "look on his face" (to get his "A") and the wife suffering from gallbladder disease says, "You forgot to take out the garbage". He thinks "Oh well, I didn't get my "A", again!
So, if these circumstances ring true, perhaps you have a reason (other than mental) for you depression. And if your spouse tells you that "you are impossible" maybe he is missing his "A" on a regular basis for another real, correctable reason.
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