Friday, December 24, 2010

A Merry Liver Christmas

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, the Solstice, or New Year’s, remember this: your liver keeps you alive. Feed it good food and no alcohol. Give is a good night’s sleep, preferably without visions of sugar plums dancing in your head. Let your liver out to play by giving it lots of joy. Laughter is the best medicine, but if your liver is sick, take it to the doctor—laughter only goes so far.

Wishing you a healthy holiday.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,
Here is what I want for Christmas:
A pain-free non-invasive replacement for liver biopsies that is 100% accurate that also performs liposuction at the same time.
A 100% effective and cheap treatment for hepatitis C that has only one side effect—making people smarter.
A cheap C vaccine.
A congress that works together and agrees that funding hepatitis C is a great idea.
A shiny new liver that is installable without surgery and comes with a lifetime guarantee.
An iPhone (I figure I will need something fun to play with after I am healthy.)

Merry Christmas from someone who isn’t always good, but tries to be.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Liver Boredom

The liver is one of the most incredible but truly boring organs to blog about. Other than jokes about drinking one’s liver to death, what can be said (and why that is funny, I don’t know). On the other hand, the kidneys are hysterical – pee jokes are endless, plus there is that whole European (you are a peein’) pun. The pancreas makes me laugh just saying it. And then there is the penis – now that is an organ which provides blog fodder. Ah, the poor liver, patiently regenerating, boring but reliable. It warms my hepatic vessels just to think about it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Liverpool, England

The anniversary of the death of John Lennon makes me think about the Beatles. The Beatles makes me think about Liverpool, the city in London where the Beatles came from. This leads me to wonder if Liverpool is a good place to go for a liver transplant, since it must have a bigger pool of livers. Do I hear groaning?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Your Liver or Your Life

When I was a kid, my brother and I played cops and robbers. By far the more interesting role was the robber. I held a toy gun in my hand and said, “Stick up your hands; your money or your life.”  I am sure Jack Benny would have to think about this.

This memory came to me after the phrase, “your liver or your life” popped into my head. Now that I think about it, it seems weird because everyone knows you can’t live without a liver. If you take the L I V E away, all you have is R and what’s the use of living if all you have left is an R?

Friday, November 19, 2010


With Thanksgiving ahead, remember that everything we eat goes through the liver. This means turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. And if you put liver in your stuffing, your liver is processing whatever the other liver processed. Think about it. OK, so this isn’t funny, but I want you to feel good the day after Thanksgiving when I post something funny.  If you eat too much giblet gravy, do you think you will want to laugh?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Liver Savings Time

My liver relished the extra hour of sleep when we turned the clocks back this week. I think we should turn the clocks back every Sunday. I’d get so much sleep that my liver would be doing liversaults.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Liver Meeting

This is my favorite time of year. It’s when the annual meeting of the American Association of the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) is held, otherwise known as the liver meeting. Doesn’t it sound like a bunch of livers hanging around a convention hall? I hope they don’t go out and drink and overeat at the end of the day.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Liver Series

Have you noticed that the uniform colors for the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers are liver colors? All that blue, red, and orange is a classic hepatic color scheme. Sure, the yellow is missing, but no one was thinking about the liver when they designed these uniforms.

Do the Giants have really huge livers?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wheel of Liver

Still honoring the fact that October is liver awareness month, here is more liver trivia:
  • A double-layered membrane encases the liver. This protects the liver against friction from nearby organs.
  • Liver cells do not have nerves. This means that technically a liver biopsy would not hurt if doctors could perform a liver biopsy without puncturing the skin, membrane and surrounding tissue. However, the majority of liver biopsy procedures are percutaneous, meaning a needle needs to pass through the skin and surrounding tissue in order to get to the liver. This is why a local anesthetic is used to numb the area.
  • The liver has over 500 functions. The human body relies on the liver for regulation of energy, hormonal balance and clotting.  It also filters nutrients, poisons and bacteria.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Alan Franciscus, Director of the Hepatitis C Support Project, modeled a game after the popular game show, Jeopardy. He named this liver trivia game, Hepardy. Here are more liver facts in honor of Liver Awareness Month:
  • The liver can re-grow damaged cells. This is known as regeneration. The liver can regenerate an entire liver from only one-fourth of a functioning liver.
  • You can live without your gall bladder. You cannot live without your liver.
  • A veritable highway system of arteries, veins and capillaries run through the liver. A quart and a half of blood flows through the liver every minute.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Trivia Pursuit or Livia Hirsute?

October is liver awareness month. This is also the first anniversary of this blog. In honor of these events, I will present trivia about the liver.
  • The liver is the largest internal organ. 
  • Roughly, the size of a football, the liver typically weighs around three pounds.
  • The liver is a non-complaining organ.  Three quarters of the liver can be damaged and you might not notice any signs of it.  
  • Everything passes through the liver. This includes everything you eat, breathe, and apply to your skin.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Liver Biopsisms

Next week I am going in for a liver biopsy. I am using humor to prepare myself. Here are some things I do not want to hear before, during, or after the procedure:
“Don’t worry, I always shake a little in the morning before my first couple of drinks.”
“Wait a minute, if this is the liver, then what is that?”
“Rats, I hate it when the needles aren’t very sharp.”
“Sorry, I am late. I was up late last night; my wife and I had a fight this morning and the coffee maker broke so I didn’t have my usual morning coup of java.”
“Darn, I hate it when a page is missing from the manual.”
“Nurse, hand me that what-cha-ma-call-it.”
“Hmmm, I wonder how long the power will be out this time.”
“I thought the liver was on the left side. I hate it when I mix up the heart and the liver.”

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What Hepatitis C Treatment Feels Like

One of my quirks is that I collect descriptions of what hepatitis C treatment feels like. Here are a few favorites:

“It is like menopause, complete with irritability and hot flashes. I love watching men on treatment. I hope it gives them sympathy for peri-menopausal women.”

“It’s like being at high altitudes, except the view isn’t as good.”

“I just tell myself that I am in a rented body. I will upgrade it when I am done with HCV therapy.”

“My body has been snatched by aliens, except in this case, the aliens are interferon and ribavirin.”

“Every once in awhile, I lose my temper or say something inappropriate. It is amazing how words just pop out of my mouth that I never would have said before. At first I chastised myself about it. Now I just tell myself that I have interferon-induced Tourette’s syndrome. Thank goodness it is temporary”

“HCV treatment feels like a preview of old age.”

Friday, September 10, 2010

Humoring the Liver

This week I am boosting our immune systems with a few laughs. Here are some more funny but true medical records dictated by physicians. These are from a column written by Richard Lederer, Ph.D. for the Journal of Court Reporting and have been reprinted at several Internet sites and magazines.
"Healthy appearing decrepit 69 year-old male, mentally alert but forgetful."
"The skin was moist and dry."
"Occasional, constant, infrequent headaches."
"Coming from Detroit, this man has no children."
"Patient was alert and unresponsive."
"When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room."