Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lousy Liver Limericks

There once was a man from Kent
Who drank to his heart’s content
His liver however
Complained whatsoever
Until it gave up and went.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Things You Don't Want Your Doctor to Say

Here are some words you don’t want to hear from your liver doctor:

“You have had hepatitis C for HOW LONG???!!!”
“You donated how many quarts of blood?”
“Could you stop that thing from beating – I can’t concentrate with all this noise.”
“Wow, I have never seen anything like this.”
“You injected your interferon where?”
“You were supposed to take those pills twice a day, not just twice.”
“The injection instructions were once a week, not once a day.”
“The manufacturer recalled the drug you took.”

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Rainbow of Liver Disease

I am struck by how colorful liver disease is. There is jaundice, a hideous yellow color. (The word jaundice shares its origin with the French word for yellow – jaune.) Another colorful sign of cirrhosis is palmar erythema, which means red palms. Of course, we can’t forget other symptoms of cirrhosis, such as coffee-colored urine or clay-colored stools. Various liver diseases can cause the skin to have a copper or ruddy tone.  And then there is that lovely green color of bile – similar to the color you get while on treatment; that is unless you are anemic and white as a sheet.

Hepatitis C is a member of the Flaviviridae family. Flavus means yellow in Latin – yet another color reference. Who knew that liver disease would offer such a wide palette for the eye?