No doubt, regular readers of this column have often thought to themselves, “You have a lot of gall, Jenkins.”

Well, not anymore. As of last week, I officially have zero gall. I left it at Gwinnett Medical Center, along with the bladder it came in, a large stone blocking the opening to said bladder, and every last ounce of personal dignity.

Actually, that last part isn’t true, although it certainly felt like it at the time. I did, for a while, lose all bashfulness — thanks, perhaps, to the morphine — not caring that my butt was hanging out of my hospital gown or that a female nurse saw fit to shave bodily areas that are, for men, best left unshaven.

But I digress. My point is that I didn’t actually lose my dignity because the fine folks at GMC made sure that didn’t happen, treating me throughout the ordeal like a human being and not just a sack of well-insured meat. That applies to everyone I encountered during my “health emergency,” from the paramedics to the surgeon.

And yes, I did get to ride in an ambulance. That’s what happens when you have severe chest pains, your temperature shoots up, your blood pressure drops precipitously, and your wife thinks you’re having a heart attack.

Fortunately, it wasn’t a heart attack, just a highly inflamed gall bladder on the verge of rupturing. On the bright side, after multiple tests with three-letter acronyms, I’m now pretty sure my heart is in good shape.

That’s good to know, but to be honest, my symptoms COULD have indicated a heart attack. So I guess the moral of the story is, if your wife calls an ambulance, climb aboard and go for a ride. If nothing else, it’s a shortcut to the business side of the ER.

The real point of this column, though, is to say a heartfelt “thank you” to all the folks at GMC who treated me so well. They didn’t do it because they recognized me, much less because they thought I might write a column about them. They were just being the caring professionals they are, day in and day out.

And I think that’s what impressed me most: the fact that the paramedics, doctors, nurses, nurse’s aides, orderlies, and others were able to balance perfectly those two dynamics. They were extremely competent and professional without seeming clinical or uncaring.

That’s not an easy combination to pull off. And the most remarkable thing is that literally all of them did it. Not one person made me think badly of the hospital. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I’m deeply grateful to all of them, for their kindness as much as their skill. And I’m thankful to have such a fine, well-run institution as Gwinnett Medical Center gracing our fair county. Next time you need to offload a little gall, I highly recommend it.

Rob Jenkins is a local writer and college professor. He is the author of five books, including “Family Man: The Art of Surviving Domestic Tranquility” — available at Liberty Books in downtown Lawrenceville and on Amazon — and “Think Better, Write Better.” The views expressed here are his own. Email Rob at