Friday, June 25, 2004

I need the hope...

Not a very fun day...
When I got home from work this evening, my dad called me.  He was upset with me, because he had been leaving me voicemails since yesterday and I hadn't called him back, and it was aunt is in the hospital.  Not the same aunt that was in the hospital a few weeks ago, this time it's my dad's sister.
I haven't been listening to my messages lately. 
My aunt went to the hospital with pains.  They thought it was her heart, and so they did a heart cath.  Her heart was fine.  Then they thought it was her gallbladder.  She had her gallbladder removed this morning.  During the surgery, they saw her liver.
They came out of the surgery, saying everything went fine, but...
And they showed my cousin, my aunt's middle daughter and my best friend, a picture of my aunt's liver. 
They said, "Your mother will have to stop drinking.  We're going to schedule some programs for her...".
She has cirrhosis of the liver.
The doctors didn't know then that my aunt doesn't ever drink.
And they didn't know that those were the only words that had the ability to put my family in a tailspin and strike fear in our hearts. 
My aunt's dad, my grandfather, died of cirrhosis of the liver.  He actually was an alcoholic.  He hemorrhaged to death in his apartment.  It was...terrible.  Terrible.
My aunt doesn't drink.  She doesn't have hepatitis.  But she has cirrhosis of the liver.  It may not be that advanced, and it may be manageable.  We'll know more when the real doctor comes in tomorrow.
But the gut reaction of my family was the reaction of a family who has already been torn apart by this disease.  My dad, sobbing over the phone, wondering why his sister, who has never done anything wrong, has this.  My uncle, hovering in the hallway.  My cousins, disbelieving and in tears.
They haven't told my aunt yet.  She was devastated when my grandpa died the way he did.  My cousins decided she wasn't in any condition, after her surgery today, to hear this.  I don't agree with their decision, but there's nothing I can do about it.  I felt horribly guilty sitting by her bed and knowing something she didn't. 
I hope that tomorrow the doctor will come in and say, this is not as bad as that, this can be managed...
I just didn't realize that the pain of my grandfather's violent death, over fourteen years ago, still had the ability to destroy us this way.