Chopped Liver – Hello world!

All of these blogs start with Hello World! You’re probably supposed to edit it and write something witty – but you know I kinda like Hello World! Listen, I dont expect the whole world to be hanging on my every keystroke – it’s just that I am about to embark on a cathartic exercise – cathartic in the way that I am about to reveal a lot of things about me that previously I would keep hidden from people. There will be people who have known me for many years who will not know these things – and one of the reasons they wont know is that generally, naturally, deep down, you know I am a kind fairly quiet, reserved person (maybe a shock to some) who pretty much keeps himself to himself.

But, we live in changing times.

I am fortunate to be able to witness the new communication revolution that is there to be embraced or ignored as you feel – this is the world of Social Media – and I believe if you embrace it you will reap the benefits – if you ignore it you will only be putting off the inevitable.

So, embrace I shall.

This is the first ever blog entry I have written – I am already a late developer. But if I type fast enough I am sure I can catch up.

Not sure what some of these features and widgets do – but I’ll ignore them for the time being as I need to get on the with explaining the reason for my blog.

I have recently start Tweeting – I already no longer find it silly and funny to say to someone “Haven’t you seen my Tweets?” Or, “Wow that’s great must re-tweet it” – so that’s good – I’m jargon-savvy already.

You see – a few miles down the road from where I live in NW London, there is a meeting going on – where I am being discussed. A similar meeting took place just over 2 years ago with the same group of people and out of the discussions it was decided that I was not quite suitable. But I am back on the agenda. The people involved are Liver Consultants.

I am being considered, as I write this, for suitability to undergo a Liver Transplant.

I have a long history of internal issues – Crohns Disease since 12 years. Regular checkups have revealed abnormal but inconclusive blood test results in my liver. Biopsies (fully awake and via the jugular vein – wow – astonishing!), endoscopies, Ct Scans, MRI Scans all shown up problems – gallstones (loadsa gallstones), inflamed gallbladder, oesophigal varicies, stomache varices (varicies are …. Google it if youre not too squeamish – but they can burst at any time and …. eh… be … eh not very good… really at all.. much), an enlarged spleen – or, as my consultant likes to call it – a monster spleen – my spleen likes blood platelets.

Blood platelets are the part of the blood that prevents clotting. An average male has between 140,000 and 300,000 of them – I have 17,000.

Not that I dont produce them – I do… but my spleen likes them so much that it eats them all up – hence the enlarged spleen – its full of my platelets.

Ok – I am going to sidetrack here – the hospital – or more accurately, the liver transplant unit of the hospital , has just called me to say that the meeting of the consultants has taken place and that I am indeed to be put forward for assessment for a liver transplant – oh, and they have a slot free for me to start on Monday morning (today is Friday!) as an inpatient – a brain scan (EEG) is my first port of call at 08:45 on Monday.

This has upped the ante for me – and brought things home that its all systems go – I guess I am grateful that I am getting this started sooner rather than later – the waiting and uncertainty is a hard part to deal with – I need to pick up my son now from playdate (he shall be known as Weedy – as in wee D.

Back Later….

B is out all day. She is my wife – and a combination of the stress that the “closest to the patient” goes through, the enormous amount of work she has spent the last few weeks completing and also just being there for Weedy meant she wanted to take advantage of my day at home to gallavant in town. I think she is on her second movie as I write this.

Have to confess – was a bit ratty to Weedy this evening. He was acting like a bleedin’ 5-yr old. I suppose it is to be expected as he is 5 years old. I asked him to phone his grandpa to wish him Happy Birthday – he did phone but then said nothing – so I start doing my own ratty thing to try and get him to say the words and the more I say it the more exasperated I get and the less he wants to say it – and then he goes and does the crying thing – you know that thing that 5 yr olds do and then I take the phone off him and try to have a nice birthday chat with grandpa and Weedy is by now hysterical in the background – and I just have time to tell my parents (plural) who by this time have picked up a phone each to hear all this commotion and me saying oh by the way I am going in to hospital for my week of assessments for impending Liver Transplant….. not a good call.

Weedy and I are friends again.

I just wanted to finish off my preamble on my liver – you know – how I got to the point where there is no option left but to whip out the old and ring in the new. I had a routine MRI scan some weeks ago – but hadn’t had the results.

I had a sore tooth. Look that’s relevant. I am not just some hyponcondriac who has to blog about every little pain he feels. I’d had the sore tooth for two months ladies and gentlemen – and thats a long time to have a sore tooth. So I went to the dentist (no shit Sherlock) and he concluded that the tooth needed to be removed.

Y’see that’s the thing with me – I dont mess around. If something is causing me pain or discomfort I just get it whipped out and be done with it. But of course the dentist couldn’t do it – on account of my low platelet count – could get very messy – so I had to be referred to a hospital (remember these? I call them free hotels). But… and here the story turns full circle (not before time I hear you cry! Listen if you’re still with me after all this then your hooked in for the ride – you wont leave me now) – the dentist had to write to my liver consultant to get clearance that the tooth extraction could be undertaken with such a low platelet count).

So I pre-empted the letter – phoned my consultant (from now on I am going to call him Smiler, ok? Smiler = The Doc – from now on) – and I left a message with his secretary – saying I need a tooth out – oh, and have you got the results of my MRI scan – just out of interest y’know). Well, next day I get a call on answer machine from Smiler himself saying he has looked at the MRI scan and …. finally I get to the point – there is a blockage in my portal vein leading into my liver – I need to come into hospital for tests immediately.

Now a blockage means it is a blood clot – that’s what the blockage is – there’s not much else that travels down veins – portal or otherwise. So this was last week – I spend a few days in the ‘ossy and they do a CT scan on the affected area.

I am told during the week that there are 2 alternative courses of action 1) to give me injections to anti-coagulate my blood clot – dissipate the gunge and let it – I dunno – flush itself out I guess. Failing that option 2 comes into play – which is to puncture the (look, do turn away if you’re squeamish) puncture the vein stick in some tip or stent or something to re-direct the blood clot so that it goes somewhere safely away. I don’t particularly care for option 2.

So they have the CT scan results, and they discuss the options and I await the findings. As I am walking up and down the hospital corridor listening to Pixies on my iPhone (oh, my iPhone – where would I be without you?) – up strides Smiler himself! “Hi David”, he says, with a big cheesy grin – “we have studied your scan”. “And I have to say it looks terrible!” “As bad as could be expected” “But” he says triumphantly, “there is good news!”

“Oh good” I responded, attempting to outgrin him. “I’m all ears!”

Smiler does not wait for me to stop grinning. “Your blood clot is in such a position that we can get away with the transplant, remove the clot, and your varicies, and your gallbladder, and your gallstones, and you….”

“What? Hey … what happened to option 2 ? You know that nice easy puncturing the vein one – I was really looking forward to th…”

“No, that’s not an option – you see it may work… it may not – but one thing is for sure – if we do that we can never again consider a transplant option for you – so that’s not the way to go.”

“Just one thing Smil… eh, Doc? How come I have a blood clot anyway given I have so few platelets – y’know the blood’s clotting agent?” Smiler just smiled – I think I understood. We have an understanding you see – me and The Doc – after all I wouldn’t put my liver into just anyone’s hands now would I?

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10 Comments on “Chopped Liver – Hello world!”

  1. Mr WordPress Says:

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  2. Steve Says:

    Keep smiling and keep us informed of progress. Might have to come and visit you if they allow cards in the hospital…

  3. talia Says:

    I am thinking of you so much…Keep strong…
    lots of love xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  4. martia katz Says:

    Hey David

    Sending you love and enjoying the blog, if thats the right word!
    Hope it all goes according to plan and see you back at bridge. Will put in a word with my Guru for you.

    Love and blessings

    Martia x

  5. Simon Says:


    I was very sorry to hear you are in the hands of doctors – better the hands of nurses I say. Blog makes me feel more connected to the health challenges you are facing, and for those I wish you the best of luck, PG overcome them very soon and I wish you a refuah shelema. Please come back to bridge soon and make us all miserable, especially Laurel!


  6. Hi David

    Your sense of humour shines through your blog and I’m sure will get you through this difficult time. I firmly believe that a positive outlook will win the day and know that all your friends will be supporting you every step of the way. Hope you get the good news you are waiting for and are back up and running on full throttle soon. You deserve only good things and I am touched by the honesty of your commentary. Please let us know when you you are receiving visitors.
    Much love

  7. aviva Says:

    Great writing David!Write more, dont sleep, just write
    Um.. does B (for the woof, sorry wife) stand for what I think it does? lol

  8. How did you find out you needed a new Liver? I don’t know how it works out of the States, but the mentality of Liver Transplantation Institutes are to ‘get all of the mileage as they can’ out of your old liver. That first day for me was so emotionally draining, it was a f**king nightmare! I was having every single mistake in my life pushed up against me (substance abuse, yada yada) even though I’ve been straight for almost a yr. When in counseling for substance abuse, their’s a saying that goes something like, don’t look behind you, look ahead. Well, I felt like I wasn’t even being given a chance to ‘look ahead’. A man stopped me from outside the Institute & asked me for a smoke & he said he doesn’t smoke & I heard him flipping out on his cell phone yelling something like “They said his liver is too far gone…he won’t survive surgery, so they’re just going to f**king let him die” I saw that man in the institute, and he was speaking of his father. WHAT A REALITY CHECK!! Being a female, just turned 30, I always get the same stupidity of people coming up to me “So, when’s the baby due? Is it a boy or girl?”, this became (and still is) a problem for me, cause I just tell them I’m not pregnant, but then I was feeling obligated to tell these retards about my illness. Screw them! BTW, what blood type are you? What kinds of anti-rejection pills do you take? How are the side effects? What am I looking forward to? Please comment on my site, I’ve sent u the link already, if not, it’s:

    • davidkallin Says:

      I had abnormal liver results from blood tests over the years, and regular scans – one of them showed up a blood clot in the portal vein – they considered all the options but ultimately decided there was only solution for me – transplant. I take tacrilimus for anti-rejection and an ever-decreasing dose of steroid prednisolone. Side effects are hand-shaking, not allowed to get sunburnt – but everyone reacts differently – depends on your make-up and what drugs you are on – everyone reacts differently. My opinion as to what you are looking forward to, and withour knowing you (and apologies if I have this wrong), is a second chance at a really positive, healthy and exciting life ahead. If (and I mean, If, as I dont know you) your condition is drink or drugs related then you will undoubtedly benefit from a lifestyle change – and no better time to do it than when you get a new liver. But that would be a state of mind change. The operation itself, and immediate after effects are, or, rather, were for me, surprising easy, quick and painless.It’s a remarkable operation, though not without significant risk – it is a major operation – and will generally take you up to a year to be fully rejuvenated. But the prognosis is generally very good. They say that of all the organ transplants, the liver is the one with the longest success rate. I would treat the whole transplant thing as a real journey, not without risk (but not many things are), but one to embrace and to feel privileged to be a part of the miracle of medical science. I am posting this on my blog as your question and my answer may be useful for my readership. I will copy into your blog too.

      I hope that helps.

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