Posted tagged ‘london’

Chopped Liver – Diary of a Liver Transplant Patient

March 15, 2010

A daily blog about the life of David Kallin, of Hendon, London Borough of Barnet as he waits for a matching liver. (psst… if you read this and know of anyone with a stonking liver – give ’em my card!)


Chopped Liver – Hello world!

March 5, 2010

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?