Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Medical Update (skip if depressed)

Hi All!

At the risk of sounding "poor me" I will proceed to post this for any of those concerned about my health and welfare, FWIW.

Short of it is that I am in pretty bad shape. I drank my liver to death and the much-abused organ is running on hope and fumes.

The Longer of it is that the various objective and subjective measures of the progression of my disease continue to slide, albeit gradually versus precipitously.

That means although statistically I have only a 15% chance of dying within 90-days, I have a pretty darn good chance of this being my last Christmas.

The criteria for transplantation put me at a disadvantage. Although I am being given one last chance to convince the UofM to consider me, alcoholic cirrhosis is not looked upon with favor in the current climate of medical selection where far too many liver disease patients are waiting for far too few livers.

It's hard for me to accept when looking at other forms of self-brought-upon sufferers who share needles and engage in "unsafe, aberrant"sexual behaviors, but "dem's da rules" and I don't have much leg to stand on.

After a check-up at my primary doctor's yesterday, I ate out for lunch and dinner, played several trivia sites and wound up throwing a few games of darts at the Legion with a 13-year-old friend. I just wanted to be alive and not go home.

I was in bed by 9:30 and stayed there until about two hours ago (6:30). Although 21 hours abed was long on time, it was precious short on rest. The physical and emotional impediments to quality sleep were overwhelming.

I felt utter fatigue and depression over the results of the doctor visit, where I was basically reminded that things are not going to get any better and that there are no further drugs to be prescribed for the ridiculously severe fatigue, itching, lightheadedness (AKA encephalopathy) and huge, heavy tub of liquid goo (aka ascities) weighing me down.

I was advised to "accept my limitations" and "try to get whatever qualiity of life I can", based on the restrictions.

Can there be a happy ending?

I still think so -- as long as I put on ruby slippers and tap my heels...

On the positive side, some of my more interesting posts are influenced by the encephalopathy (high ammonia in brain causing mental confusion and hallucination) which will keep them entertaining, I hope, but as I review some of my posts I can scarcely make sense of them myself!

I also have in my hands a year's extension of the handicap card. My doctor had given my one that expired in December because he doubted I'd need it after that, and not in a good way.

Thanks for putting up with this little tale of woe. I have been living it for several years and try very hard to keep it out of my blog posts, but sometimes it feels good to talk about it and whether you sympathize or not, I hope I am contributing just a bit to the debate about value judgments as relates to transplantation. If one chooses to engage in perfectly legal yet well-known destructive habits, should medical science prolong one's life?

Good question. I have my bias, but I don't have the answer.

Meanwhile, be sure to be a donor when you renew your license, would ya? I am, not that I would have much of value although the kidneys and heart are very strong. I don't think God would mind not burying perfectly good body parts.

We'll all be the same in the end.



Blogger ToeKnee said...

As sad as your situation is, the blessing is that you have time to pass on the sum of your knowledge and love to your kids.

My dad had about six weeks from cancer diagnosis to his death, and I will always be grateful we had that time. So many of my friends have lost their parents suddenly and unexpectedly. Your kids will also feel that way, someday.

You often write about spending time playing Buzztime trivia in restaurants and bars. Perhaps you could commit to God to spend that all that time from now on with family, helping others, or working to extend your life.

But if you can't extend your life here, at least you can pave your way to Heaven and work on the only part of you which will remain: the memories of you that your loved ones will always carry with them (and Buzztime doesn't do much to that end).

You can take these recommendations with a grain of salt, as I am not going through what you are going through, but I think all of us need help from time to time to improve our focus. I am just trying to help you make the most of what you still have instead of getting sucked into the pit of bemoaning what you've lost-- you're not there, but it's only human to tend that way.

Happy Thanksgiving, all my best.

7:01 AM  

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