My dear Sister in Liver Disorders has had a rough month. A crisis necessitated a stent which resulted in hospitalization for pancreatitis. As she noted, if a complication will happen to one in 20, she’ll be the one. (I’ve always thought she was special.) She hadn’t quite had time to recover from the last blip when a new one had surfaced. These blips have certainly slowed down her recovery from that emergency liver transplant she had last year.
My Sister’s perspective is admirable. She knows she might have died had her donor not done so first. And she knows she ended up with a better liver than the one that bailed on her so dramatically. She has a lot to be thankful for.
But I realized, as she described her recent health challenges, that her transplant didn’t fix everything. Sure, she got rid of her dud liver, but she’s had a number of other hurdles since. She’s managing a cornucopia of medications with all their nasty side effects. Chronic health issues really are just that, aren’t they?
Usually such crises are unexpected setbacks that occasionally land us in hospital. They may require changes in medication or even intrusive medical procedures to make things better. They are inconvenient and can be worrisome. Sometimes the doctors can explain why they happened and sometimes they can’t. Shouldn’t doctors have all the answers?
I’ve had my share of blips over the years, some big and some little. I’ve learned that the body is complicated, and that every system affects every other. Change one thing and expect a chain reaction. One blip landed me in hospital with what I thought was a bad case of food poisoning but, presto, I had leukemia. At the time, this blip seemed disastrous, but I’ve changed my opinion since. Had the leukemia not been discovered, it could have gone untreated for much longer, with potentially dire consequences.
Despite each hurdle, my Sister and I are here to tell our tales. She’s now been discharged from the hospital with one more procedure upcoming, hopefully without the complications. And I anticipate she will have other blips, just as I have. May hers be few and far between, may they not be too prolonged or scary, and may they resolve quickly so she can move on.
Over time, I find I’m less thrown by the blips than I used to be. I’m annoyed at the intrusion on my day-to-day life–gout be damned–but I do my best to move through each one. All these years of striving for emotional stability when truly I long for health stability. I’d say my Sister understands, but I’d be implying she’s emotionally unstable too, which she’s not. Far from it.
P.S. If you haven’t yet signed that organ donor form, get to it. May you never be in the position to donate, except perhaps as a living donor, but you’d hate to miss your chance if you are.