Up until maybe a year ago, I would’ve told anyone who asked that my life was really pretty boring. With an odd sense of pride I would’ve said my life contained zero drama, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I would write a little in the morning, go to work, write a little more on my lunch break, come home from work and maybe even write a little more after dinner, then go to bed and get ready to do it all over again. It might seem a bit bland to some, but it was okay by me.
I think it was even reflected in the blog, as sometimes I simply had nothing personal to write about. While some people could write volumes about what was going on in their lives, I wrote instead about True Detective, the Wilelm scream, and Stephen King, making the site feel at times (to me, at least) like some kind of wannabe Entertainment Weekly rather than a personal blog.
In July, I wrote a little bit about taking my wife to the emergency room for internal bleeding. She ended up staying a night in the hospital so they could check her out, and was then sent home with the rather vague instructions ‘don’t do anything to irritate your stomach.’ No ulcers or any rupture in the stomach lining were found, so we were slightly baffled.
In the proceeding months, whatever it was that was wrong became increasingly worse until she was forced to take medical leave from work in September while we made numerous trips to the doctor(s) to figure out what was going on. After numerous tests there was still no official diagnosis other than that her liver wasn’t functioning properly, but with the prescriptions she was given she was feeling…well, okay. Some days were better than others. We got into a new routine (which now included numerous doctor visits, tests, and prescription pick ups) and adjusted to the way life had changed while we waited for the doctors to figure out what was going on.
Life apparently decided we’d been in that routine long enough and proceeded to kick things up a notch. One night about a month ago my wife began throwing up copious amounts of blood, and against both of our better judgement we didn’t go to the emergency room straight away. There would be more blood, and once we finally arrived at the ER the next morning she was examined and promptly admitted to the Medical Intensive Care Unit and given several units of blood, among other things, to stabilize her.
The next morning, a man named Dr. W. Ransom Kilgore (ironic name for a doctor if ever there was one, no?) did a scope—putting a little tube with a camera on it down my wife’s throat—and found a rupture in the portal vein, also known as bleeding varices. Using tiny rubber bands placed over the varices, they stopped the bleeding. She would remain under the watchful eye of the people in the MICU (and be given still more blood) before being transferred to a ‘regular’ room for further observation until ultimately being cleared to go home. I finally brought her home after four long, sleepless nights for both of us. She was absolutely miserable the whole time and my back and ass hurt from sitting (and sleeping) in hard, uncomfortable chairs. It was a rough go, but at least it was over, right?
No, not quite.
Despite the doctors still not knowing exactly what’s going on (and despite her just having had a biopsy), they know enough to tell us that her liver isn’t getting any better and it’s time to start checking into procedures for getting her on “The List.” At some point in the future, they’re confident (i.e., certain) she’s going to need a transplant. We have a preliminary appointment with a specialist in June.
A little time has passed since they delivered the news, and in my own amateur research I’ve read that liver transplants have an extremely high success rate, and the vast majority of transplant recipients go on to lead normal, productive lives again, but still…the initial shock was devastating. We both took our health for granted for a very long time, but after that first visit to the ER last year (and the subsequent numerous doctor visits) we followed orders, made the recommended changes, and had faith everything would get better. I still think it will, but the road getting there is going to be quite a bit longer and bumpier than we’d expected.
Needless to say, with all this comes the fact that the blog will most likely take on a more personal tone as I chronicle at least some of the ordeal we’re going through. We’ll adjust and carry on, as it’s just what we do: we adapt. And while my wife has her doubts and fears, I think I know her in some ways better than she knows herself—she’s the type who’s actually much stronger than she realizes, and just needs the occasional (or sometimes frequent) vote of confidence to remind her of it. And once the dust settles, I’m confident (i.e., certain) we’re going to be fine.