Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More Questions

Donny saw the GI doc yesterday. He said that Donny's bloodwork looked good. He also said that if Donny would take care of himself he could live for several more years. He talked a lot about the need for Donny to quit smoking. He talked to Donny about how the various systems in your body are all linked together and when one is doing poorly it puts additional strain on the others. It all made sense, but we'll see if Donny actually quits smoking.

Of course even if Donny does quit smoking he'll never quit drinking. I really thought that he would after the scare he got last year, but it only lasted about 6 months. Of course, the doctors don't know that, they all think that he's still on the wagon. I know that it's wrong to let Donny get away with lying to his doctor's, but if I speak up he simply won't allow me tyo talk to his doctors in the future, not to mention what it would do to our relationship. So I go on covering for him and hating myself for it.

And now, since he'd been back to drinking for a while when these tests were ran, he sees the bloodwork as proof that the drinking isn't really hurting him. There will be no convincing him otherwise. And since he sees the drinking as a nonissue it will just get worse. There are times when I wish that I had listened to my friend when she warned me not to marry him. Being married to an alcoholic is not easy.

The thting that I can't help wondering is if these tests could be misleading. I know what Donny's like day-to-day and I don't see how he could be in as good of shape as this doctor says. A few years ago Donny saw a doctor who told us that the numbers on the liver test don't really mean a whole lot. She said that somebody's tests could come back barely off and they could have severe liver damage, whereas somebody else's tests could come back way off and they could have barely any liver damage. She said that all the tests really told them was whether or not there was damage to the liver. But she was a resident, and no other doctor has said that, so I wonder if it's really true.

I also wonder if I should try to demand that a liver biopsy be done. One's never been done and I've been reading that it's the only way to have any definitive answers about what condition the liver's in. I asked about biopsy one time before and I think that I was told that they only do that if you're trying to get on the transplant list. I don't know if that's an insurance issue, standard practice, or erroneous thought. I'm just not sure. And of course I don't come up with all these questions until after his appointment, and he doesn't see the GI doc for another 6 months. I could ask his PCP, but I'm pretty sure that he'll tell me that I need to take it up with the GI doc. I'll probably ask the PCP anyway, because I find it easier to talk to him.

I wish that there was a handbook for liver disease. I wish that somebody could say that it starts at symptom A and in 6 months to a year progresses to symptom B. And then we'll see symptom C, which is an indicator that symptom D isn't too far off in the future. I do much better when I know what's coming. I need to know what to expect next so that I can prepare for it. When I look online I can find a list of symptoms, but does everybod always get all the symptoms? And at what point can you be fairly sure that you've skipped one? Does the fact that Donny hasn't had anymore problems with fluids draining off his liver mean that it's not going to happen? Because what he went through was very light compared to what we were told to expect for that. Or is that yet to come? Does the fact that it hasn't happened yet mean that I'm being overly dramatic in my assessment of how bad he is? I thought that the ammonia levels being this much of a problem was something that just happened at the end. Am I wrong? Where are all these answers? Why can't anybody tell me?

1 comment:

mielikki said...

If he is still drinking, he won't last long. And numbers can be very misleading. I wish that you'd get all your answers, but, sadly, you won't...