Saturday, October 26, 2013

Halloween at the Hepatitis Comics

In honor of Halloween, I found something ghoulish and liver-related— hepatoscopy. Practiced by the Babylonians, hepatoscopy is an occult ritual which uses a sheep liver in order to look into the future. A priest divided a liver into into sections, with each section representing a particular deity. The priest then interpreted the "signs" of the liver in order to divine a course of action.

There is a biblical reference to this practice, “For the king of Babylon will stop at the fork in the road, at the junction of the two roads to seek an omen; He will cast lots with arrows, he will consult with his idols, he will examine the liver.” – Ezekiel 21:21.

It is a good thing the king of Babylon didn’t pick up that fork in the road…

What are you doing for Halloween? I am watching my neighbor’s livestock to be sure the sheep don’t go missing. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Laughing with Hepatitis C

The average child laughs around 400 times every day. Contrast this with the average adult who laughs approximately 25 times a day. This fact makes me want to either cry, read Dave Barry or watch Carol Burnett reruns.  For me, laughter is the backbone of physical, emotional and spiritual health. Humor is the thread that keeps me from unraveling. I find ways to inject appropriate humor into nearly everything.
The potential health benefits of laughter are well- researched. However, if you need data to tell you to laugh more, you are in deep trouble. However, for you die-hard data devourers, at the end of this post there are some links so you can dig for details.
For those of you who appreciate laughter, you may be delighted to learn that there is a practice called Laughter Yoga. Originating in India, Laughter Yoga is the practice of laughing as a discipline rather than merely for pleasure. Dr. Madan and Madhuri Kataria developed Laughter Yoga about ten years ago and now there are laughter clubs worldwide. Training is available for anyone interested in becoming a certified Laughter Yoga instructor.
The Laughter Yoga website takes laughter very seriously. So much so, that the following warning is given: “Too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. You cannot laugh too little, but you can laugh too much and put your body into destress (sic).” I assume that this is a typo or translation error and the author meant distress rather than destress. Heck, to de-stress is the main reason why I laugh. Also, I have a hard time believing the statement that one can laugh too much.
The Laughter Yoga caution goes on to say that, too much laughter can actually be dangerous, especially for older people (geezers like me). Well, this may seem closed-minded, but I cannot imagine getting through the geezer years without laughing a lot. Between the loss of eyesight, hearing, brain, keys, stamina, waistline, and sex, I am hanging onto laughter as if it is a life preserver. Besides, death by laughter sounds like a great way to go.
I think that humor helps me cope with all of life’s challenges, particularly hepatitis C. This disease was not a laughing matter when I was first diagnosed, but over time, it has provided some amusing moments. This is particularly true when I am in a hepatitis C group with others who live with this virus. Laughing with others is a communal act. It is like sharing an intimate moment or a fine meal. Laughter lifts the spirits and for a brief time suspends the hard edge of reality. It reminds us that we are all in the same boat.
Now let’s get laughing…This YouTube clip of John Cleese doing Laughter Yoga will get you started.
For Data Die-hards:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Hepatitis C: A Matter of Perspective

When describing their experiences of treatment for chronic hepatitis C viral infection, patients commonly use analogies. hepatitis C and its treatment can be challenging. It is interesting and sometimes amusing to see how patients portray their various encounters. Humor can be a powerful coping mechanism. Here are a few of my favorite images:
  • “I just tell myself that I am in a rented body. I will upgrade it when I am done with hepatitis C treatment.”
  • “It is like menopause, complete with irritability and hot flashes. I love watching men on treatment. I hope it gives them sympathy for menopausal women.”
  • “It’s like being at high altitudes, except the view isn’t as good.”
  • “My body has been snatched by aliens, except in this case, the aliens are interferon and ribavirin. 
  • “Treatment is the easiest weight loss program I have ever been on. I don’t even think of food.”
  • “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.”
In addition to these descriptions, patients sometimes reveal stories about themselves. It is not uncommon for patients to lose their cars. Once I got into the wrong vehicle and the car wasn’t even the same color or make as mine. One poor fellow thought he had taken his sunglasses off and realized that he had actually taken his dentures out. He did this in public. The only time I ever ran out of gas was during treatment. I had placed a post-it on my dashboard, reminding me to buy gas. Unfortunately, the note covered my gas gauge and I did not see the low fuel-warning indicator. What can one do but laugh!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Unliverish Humor

This week, the Hepatitis Comics is providing a break from its usual galling humor, but offering some genuinely funny jokes by other people.

A patient sees his doctor: "Doc, I can't stop singing 'The Green, Green Grass of Home." "That sounds like Tom Jones Syndrome." says the doctor. The patient asks, "Is it common?"  "Well, It's Not Unusual." 

Two cows are standing next to each other in a field. Daisy says to Dolly, I was artificially inseminated this morning. "I don't believe you," says Dolly.
"It's true; no bull," exclaims Daisy.

Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love, and got married. The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was excellent. 
My liver is groaning.