The beginning of a new year seem to bring up lists, resolutions, goals, and starts. I can’t decide if I am a resolution person or not. I am most certainly a list person. I definitely think about goals in my head, but I think I leave most of them there. Quietly (though incessantly) nagging me. I imagine I would make more resolutions if it wasn’t so scary. If I didn’t feel like I was setting myself up for failure. Or the worst kind of failure, public failure. To avoid all that, I’m pathetically vague. I say things like “I’d like to think about possibly maybe ____. Or not. I am not sure.” (Yes, I am completely aware of my need for therapeutic intervention.)
Yet, I like deadlines. Clear beginnings. Obvious ends. I like to start things from the beginning. For example, I won’t watch movies if I’ve missed the very start. Scheduling something to start at the beginning of the year works for me. There is January 1. December 31. Beginning. End. It is already broken down into months, weeks, and days. It is easy to compare year to year. This is important, to me at least, because if I am comparing how something was in July to February, the experience, efforts, means, etc will be very different. It is better to compare July to July and leave February to mingle with February.
Anyway, I’ve thought of some goals. I might even dare to call them resolutions. But first.
A Little Story Before the Resolutions (Or Goals. Plans. Whatever.)
Were you with me at the beginning of last year? Well, it blew. 2010 was winding up with my Dad increasingly ill from what we thought was a rather mysterious cardiac issue. 2010 ended with my mom calling me, panicky, on New Year’s Eve because my Dad was close to passing out, lethargic, somewhat confused, and didn’t want to go to the ER. They went. Turns out my dad was bleeding out. My 6’4″ Dad had a hematocrit of 15% (normal is 45) and hemoglobin of 5 g/dl (normal is 14). He was on coumadin (blood thinner). I flew down to CA with my brother to be there while we figured out what was going on.
Apparently nobody at any time during his supposedly thorough cardiac and liver workup, across multiple specialities (cardiologist, pulmonologist, liver, endocrine, and primary care) thought to check the most basic of blood work. For months. Despite his presenting symptoms (pale, fatigue, shortness of breath). Symptoms that were the very reason for his months of evaluation. The then-still-oncology nurse in me had some stuff to say about the negligence in his work-up and ongoing assessment. I won’t even begin to tell you how I lost my shit to anyone who would listen about that.
What medical professional doesn’t auto-fucking-matically think of looking at a CBC (complete blood count- a common test you get with any yearly physical even if you have no symptoms) when someone is pale, fatigued, and short of breath? Furthermore, when a patient has those symptoms and is on blood thinners what medical professional doesn’t inquire about presence of any bleeding, red or tarry?
Yes, for a control freak like myself this was a special circle of hell.
Unfortunately, we found out it wasn’t an easily fixable cardiac problem like we’d then feared and soon wished for. He had advanced liver disease. Known as NASH or Nonalcholic Steatohepatitis. It is basically advanced cirrhosis in someone who doesn’t drink alchohol.
Over the next 6 months he got evaluated in California and in Iowa for potential liver transplant, as transplant is the only cure for NASH. The blows continued along the way as we found out that a clot he had in his portal (liver) veins had grown to the point of complete blockage and that his liver was no longer operable at some institutions and transplant wouldn’t be an option. And there is no treatment for clots in the portal vein system.
Luckily, he was able to get worked up in Iowa and his clot ever so slightly decreased so that the surgeon there is able to do it (even though many institutions don’t have the same capacity). Since then it has been a confusing process of waiting for various medical boards to meet allowing him to get on the transplant list. Six months of every-3-week endoscopies for my dad to manage complications of his disease. Barbaric.
But December 30th, almost 1 year to the day of his near-bleed out, he got a call from Iowa. My Dad is first on the list! My folks are on a plane head for Iowa as I type to wait! (Incidentally, if you have seen this about Iowa, give it a watch. Unless you are offended by swearing. In that case, definitely don’t.)
Things are clearly up in the air. There is no known timing. It could happen tomorrow. It could happen in 3 months. It could go smoothly. It could be a rough ride. There is no way of knowing. (Umm, have I mentioned what a control freak I am? How I like
need a plan?) There is no plan. No plan people.
Which brings me back to resolutions. Goals. Plans.
I don’t have any.
I have a lot of them.
Both are true.
I’ll share them soon.