701 Emergency


Barbara talks about having to go to the hospital for a serious condition.

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Todd: Now, Barbara, it's really good to see you. I heard that you were in the hospital.

Barbara: Yes, I was. I got sick in august last year and luckily I was with my students and the lady was a nurse. She and her husband drove me to the hospital. I was doubled over. I was clutching my stomach. I had so much pain, a burning sensation in my chest. I didn't know what was happening. They took me to the hospital and they did some tests and they said, “ Well, you have gallstones.”

Todd: Gallstones. What exactly are gallstones?

Barbara: Well, next to your stomach, there is an organ called the gallbladder and the job of this organ is to hold some liquid which comes out of your liver and this liquid stays in your gallbladder and is saved for when it' needed, and when you eat something that contains fat or oil, the bile from the gallbladder is squirted out and goes into, perhaps your stomach or your intestine. I'm not sure which, and there it does something to help you to cope with the oil. Perhaps it binds with the oil or makes it easier for your body to get rid of it – to eliminate it.

Todd: OK, so when you have these gallstones, do they give you medicine? Do they remove them through surgery?

Barbara: There are a couple of different things to do. My gallbladder was working too hard because I was eating an unhealthy diet and not exercising enough, so inside my gallbladder, there were too big hard stones. Some people can have surgery to remove them. Some people have laser surgery, where the doctors aim a laser at the stones and shatter them, but the small pieces are still there and they have to be passed out of the body naturally and that is still a problem. With me, my gallbladder was inflamed and they looked at it and said, “No, it has to come out” so they took out the whole thing: the gallbladder and the two stones inside it. So now I have no gallbladder, so if I eat oily food… well I have no gallbladder to contain the bile from my liver which I need to process the oil.

Todd: Right, right.

Barbara: So, if I eat anything with oil I feel sick, and I usually… yeah, it's not good. So, I avoid oil, which is healthier anyway.

Todd: Well, I'm just glad that you're OK. That sound pretty awful.

Barbara: Oh, well, I'm fit now. Yeah, everything's OK.

Todd: Oh, good to hear.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

clutching my stomach

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I was clutching my stomach, I had so much pain.

When you 'clutch your stomach,' it means that you hold on to the area around your tummy with both hands. Usually people do this if they are in pain.

Notice the following:

  1. He was walking towards the bathroom clutching his stomach.
  2. She was clutching her stomach and crying with pain.

gall bladder

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There is an organ called the gall bladder and the job of this organ is to hold some liquid.

The 'gall bladder' is one of the organs in your body. It stores a liquid, which is made by the liver, that is used to help you digest your food.

Notice the following:

  1. I am not very good at biology, I always forget what the gall bladder does.
  2. I think he had to have his gall bladder removed.

squirted out

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The bile from the gall bladder is squirted out and goes into, perhaps your stomach or intestine.

When something 'squirts out,' it means that it is a liquid which is pushed out of something else with force.

Notice the following:

  1. I took the laundry bottle and squirted out all of the liquid.
  2. When I squeezed the balloon all of the air squirted out.

help you cope

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There it does something to help you cope with the oil.

When something 'helps you cope,' it means that it aids the way in which you deal with something to make the experience easier.

Notice the following:

  1. I go for a run every day, because it helps me to cope with the stress from my job.
  2. Sometimes exercise helps people to cope with depression.

laser surgery

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Some people have laser surgery, where the doctors aim a laser at the stones.

'Laser surgery' is a type of medical procedure that surgeons use to operate on people with lasers. A 'laser' is an intense beam of light that can be used to cut or dissolve material in the body.

Notice the following:

  1. I would like to have laser surgery on my eyes as I don't like wearing glasses.
  2. They use laser surgery in most hospitals now.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

Below are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
clutching • gall bladder • squirted out
cope • laser
  1. They are seeing a therapist to help them with problems in their marriage.
  2. It's actually a surgery, so you don't even get a big scar.
  3. All of this mayonnaise really fast.
  4. He has a problem in the tube that connects his to his liver.
  5. Is something wrong? I notice you are your stomach.