Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Liver and Joints

"The liver, you see, is a large, ugly mystery to us. If you've ever eaten liver, you know what I mean."

-- the "English Intern," Catch-22

Dr. J. Lutz, MD, the man handling the infections part of my recovery, called this morning to report that my latest blood work showed that my liver is being hammered by the fluconazole antibiotic. Wants me to cut the dosage in half.

More than happy to.

Between the fluconazole and the vancomycin (iv), my joints are getting real sore. Feeling like I'm about 80 these days. Hips, shoulders, elbows, upper and lower back, and knee (only one is organic, the other titanium) are really crotchity and achy.

Sleeping has become quite the challenge. No matter what position I turn, at least one joint starts complaining, loudly. Toss and turn all night long.

6 comments:

  1. Damn, you are having a HELL of a time, aren't you? I'm sincerely sorry. That's the way modern medicine works -- they give you something to make one thing better and it makes five or six other things worse. I hope your doctors are at least spending enough time with you to really understand what's going on. Good luck.

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  2. Yeah, jeez -- if it's not one thing, it's another. This doc had previously said that, like, one beer a week or so should not overburden my liver, and would probably be good for my spirits, but these liver panels tell us otherwise.

    I'm dry, man, I'm dry. Good thing I'm not a alcoholic, or this would be deeply troublesome.

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  3. So you're on heavy-duty antibiotics but the doc told you it would be okay to drink beer without bothering to get any liver function tests done first, eh? Why am I not surprised? Like my old friend used to say ... "resort medicine."

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  4. No, no, no -- now there you go again, spouting off with inadequate information.

    I've been on the iv's since mid-July. I get my blood drawn weekly to check antibiotic levels, rbc/wbc counts, liver and kidney functions. They have been looking fine, but Monday's test showed the elevated liver ... numbers, or whatever they are ... and the doc called Monday night to cut one of the meds in half to give the liver a breather.

    Prior to that, he said that one beer a week probably would not be a bother. While he said nothing yesterday about changing that recommendation, I applied judgment and decided that my liver has enough on its plate right now. I don't need to have everything explained to me.

    "That's the way modern medicine works -- they give you something to make one thing better and it makes five or six other things worse."

    True that. This medicine will look pitiful a hundred years from now. But it's the medicine we have, not the medicine we want. I certainly can't see dealing with a bone-on-bone failed ankle with ancient medicine, or Eastern medicine. The pain was exquisite, the leg useless. A pirate's peg leg would have been my destination -- had I survived the operation and subsequent infection w/o antibiotics.

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  5. Sorry, I was confused about the liver testing and the sequence of events.

    "A pirate's peg leg would have been my destination -- had I survived the operation and subsequent infection w/o antibiotics."

    Aaaaarrrr, matey! Actually a nice clean modern amputation, with anesthesia and antiseptics, is one of the simplest and safest operations you can have. Not that I'm recommending it as an option, mind you. Unless you've always hankered to have a parrot, talk dirty and drink a lot of rum.

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  6. "Sorry, I was confused about the liver testing and the sequence of events."

    If you want to be ye one who speaketh the truth, no matter how cheerless it falleth upon ye earsth of ye listenereth, then it be meet that ye duckth be lineded upeth.

    A lesson I learned from my casual slam of the downtown flower pots.

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