Today is the 5th day since my father’s liver transplant. He has been on the waiting list for a transplant for just shy of 2 years. Over the past 2 years, I have seen him become increasingly despondent about the prospect of actually getting one in time, in addition to having the hellish symptoms that NASH (Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis) carries with it. Not until the surgery has my outlook on my own health changed. His end-stage liver failure has never had an official cause. He has suffered from manic depression since 1969, and it is possible that years of medicine (strong stuff back in the day, too) caused the cirrhosis; however, it is more likely that a poor diet caused his NASH. The funny thing is that I never thought of him as unhealthy. He was strong, always fixing engines, showing me how to weld, how to work with wood, fixing boats, fishing, shooting guns (always showing me how to handle them properly). He was always overweight and only exercised in phases, but I guess I just didn’t see him as living an unhealthy lifestyle since he could do anything.
Whether or not liver problems are genetic, the thought of living the way he has for the past few years is enough to give me a swift kick in the you know where. Funny thing I didn’t feel this way when it first started. It took a 2-foot-long incision, staples, and ICU to give me some motivation.
I am still vulnerable right now, prone to sporadic tears of joy, thankfulness, and fear, and still traveling back and forth to Methodist Hospital in Memphis. My father is healing very well, tolerating his new liver, and has started the long road to recovery. He will be able to do anything again, very soon.
*Props to anyone who knows from where the title of this first blog post comes.