Waiting for Word on my Grandfather

I’m sitting here listening to some Pandora radio, scrobbling it to my last.fm while babysitting my sick 12 year old sister. It’s a peaceful way to spend a rainy Ohio morning, although most wouldn’t think cranking Rage Against the Machine and The Beastie Boys is very peaceful.

Right now my grandfather is going through some tests at a hospital in Columbus. He appears to be suffering from cirrhosis of the liver, and they’re going to be finding out exactly what’s wrong today and giving a diagnosis/prognosis. I’m keeping myself optimistic about everything, but it’s hard when I’ve seen his health decline as much as it has over the past year. Apparently they had an opportunity to catch the (probable) cirrhosis in 2008, but the doctor passed it off as an enlarged spleen. An enlarged spleen is a side effect of a shrinking liver. A shrinking liver is a big problem. But, the doctor passed it off. A man who was educated for over 10 years and who is being paid a massive sum to help cure, treat, comfort, and care for human beings… just passed off an enlarged spleen. Isn’t that lovely?

The first time my grandpa collapsed, about a month ago, my mom made him go to the hospital in an ambulance.  At Adena Regional, they put him through many of the basic tests, and were on the verge of releasing him. My grandpa, despite his age and multiple surgeries, has almost always been in very good shape.  On this day, he was nowhere near good shape at all, and his skin was yellowing. My mom was outraged as they were preparing to release him, and with good reason… the doctor in charge of him didn’t even notice his jaundice! My mom had to point it out and say, “Hey, his skin is YELLOW, that can’t be good!” before they decided to take a look and admit him.

Some days I really don’t have much trust in our medical system and physicians around here. I want to grow old in a bigger city with a better medical system, so I don’t have to worry about situations like this. It’s scary that they pass off enlarged spleens and look right over obvious jaundicing. This could’ve been caught so long ago, and my grandpa could’ve been getting appropriate treatment, but it’s taken until NOW for them to get a handle on what’s going on. Who knows what it would’ve been like if my mom hadn’t pointed out the jaundice??

I hope his condition isn’t too bad. I’ve always been fairly close to him and life would definitely be different without him, and for the worse. I could only hope to be half the hard worker my grandpa’s always been. The world needs more people like him. I really hope his doctors look at him as a human, a soul, and not a case or a statistic.

Here’s to you, Carl Shaw.


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