Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Liver on Holiday

Patients often ask me if they can drink on New Year’s Eve, like the liver knows it is a holiday and it metabolizes everything different that day.

Happy New Year. May it be healthy, sober and fun.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Twas the Night before Christmas, with Apologies to Clement Moore

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the hospital,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a hepatologist.
The IV bags were hung by their poles with care,
In hopes that UNOS soon would be there.

The patients were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions from encephalopathy danced in their heads.
And ma in her bed, and I on the sofa,
Had just settled in for a long winter’s coma.

When out by the ER there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering heart I should see,
But a red cooler filled with possibility.

With a little old surgeon, so lively and wise,
I knew in a moment it must be Tom Starzl.
More rapid than eagles his livers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Leber, now Lunga, now Foie and Fegato,!
On, Kimo! On Gān Zānɡ! On Jigar and Higado!
To the top of the copter pad! To the top of the wall!
Now transplant! Transplant! Transplant away all!"

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the bellies, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Livers to all, and to all a good-night!"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Killing Me Slowly

With all the holiday parties, I double my efforts to remind hepatitis C patients that alcohol is no friend of the liver. I mentioned to a patient that if he drinks with hepatitis C, alcohol will kill him slowly. He replied, “That’s fine – I am in no hurry.”

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Hilarious Liver

I’ve been posting to this blog for more than two years. Recently I mentioned to a family member (and two-time kidney transplant recipient) that I didn’t think the blog was as funny now as it was initially. “There are only so many funny things you can say about the liver and hepatitis,” I explained. “That’s weird,” she replied, “Because end-stage renal disease is hilarious.” (Actually, what she said was, “Because end-stage renal disease is hilaaaaaaaarious.”)

I think she was being sarcastic. Maybe the liver is intrinsically funnier than the kidneys.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

This American Liver

Last night I saw a performance of This American Life’s Ira Glass. If you don’t know this public radio show, add it to your humor and healing regimen. It isn’t always funny, but it is always healing. There are many ways to listen to This American Life, including the radio, Internet, and pod-casts.

I must confess that I have two fantasies about This American Life. The first is that I will be on the show. It would be cool to see an hour of hepatitis C-related stories. Not so far-fetched because in addition to the millions of Americans with it, there are millions and millions of people who know us. You’d have to live in the middle of nowhere to not be touched in some way by hepatitis C, although some may not realize they have it or know someone that does.

My other fantasy is to have a radio show using the same format, called This American Liver. This might not play outside of Peoria, but I think I could come up with enough liver stories to fill a show. In fact, this week’s This American Life featured a story about goose livers. The rejected names for the story were posted to Twitter: Liver Let Die, Dan and De Liver, Liver us from Evil.  

Now we are talking my kind of language.