Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rat Race

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital developed a technique that may grow replacement livers someday. This technique uses liver cells from rats and more or less reseeds the "sick" liver.
Can you imagine a future where instead of a liver transplant we go in for some rat cells! Will we develop a huge appetite for cheese and garbage? Will we look at these furry rodents and feel a deep bond, possibly sharing the DNA from a distant ratative? It gives a whole new meaning to the expression, "you dirty rat," which will be considered a ratist remark. Rats will demand equal protection under the law.
Oh the possibilities are endless.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gallows Humor

I inherited humor from my parents. I learned that humor, when used appropriately can make life more bearable. At no time was this lesson more valuable then when I experienced my first major loss-the death of my grandmother. I was 11, and grief-stricken. I survived it because my father, aunts and uncles all laughed and cried freely.

My mother died recently, and through her long illness and death we had generous amounts of tears and laughter. I can't imagine living any other way, and science agrees with me; humor is more than a laughing matter. William Fry, M.D., professor emeritus in psychiatry at Stanford University Medical School, spent much of his career researching the physiological benefits of humor. Fry discovered that laughter changes brain patterns, stimulates the immune system, and reduces stress hormones. Laughter also reduces pain perception.

Here is a little something to stimulate your immune system:
Q: What was written on the hypochondriac's gravestone? A. “See, I told you I was sick.”

Sunday, June 13, 2010

More Tips for Managing HCV Treatment

Here are some more tips for managing HCV treatment, all spun with a bit of reality and some amusement:
  • Establish priorities. If beauty is more important than treatment, then interferon and ribavirin may not be for you. Dry skin, injection site redness, and a little hair loss are not very attractive. However, neither is liver disease.
  • Do not expect to lose weight while on treatment. Combination treatment with interferon and ribavirin is not a reliable diet plan. For those who want to lose weight, if you are lucky enough to shed some pounds, it will very likely return quickly when you are celebrating your completion of therapy.
  • Do not plan on using your accumulated sick leave for catching up on your television shows. Many patients report that the new pegylated interferons are easier to tolerate. Some patients never miss a day of work. 
  • When all else fails, laugh.
  • And finally, for other writers-Do not publish anything while receiving treatment for chronic hepatitis C. Inevitably, someone will take you seriously or worse, not think you are very funny. Now that can be irritating.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tips for Managing Hepatitis C Treatment

 Here are some tongue-in-cheek suggestions to help you through hepatitis C treatment:
  • Do not attempt more than one task at a time. For instance, do not drive while talking on a mobile phone, walk and chew gum, or carry on a conversation while dicing vegetables.
  • Don't dice vegetables. Buy them already cut up at your grocery store. 
  • Practice saying, “I meant to do that.” This offsets embarrassment when performing mindless acts, such as getting in to a strange car in a parking lot.
  • Avoid reality T.V. and the news. Some patients report feeling irritable during treatment. The news and prime time television can be especially irritating. Confine television to classic comedy shows such as Seinfeld, Lucille Ball, Mary Tyler Moore, and Dick Van Dyke.
  • Do not store tubes of ointments in the vicinity of toothpaste. It only takes a minor lapse in concentration before you might find yourself brushing your teeth with anti-itch ointment. Additionally, toothpaste does not relieve skin rash.
  • If you drink the recommended amount of water, always know where the closest restroom is at all times.