Medical Microfiction: Hepatic

Drinking Buddies

Randy walked into the bar pushing a stroller.

“Well, whaddaya know? Randy, you look great!” Louis said. “How’d the surgery go? Let me buy you a round.”

Randy nodded. “I’ll have a bourbon. Scotch for my friend here.” He patted the stroller affectionately. “The transplant was a complete success. Never felt better!”

Louis peered into the stroller. Strapped inside was a dark reddish-gray meat blob wrapped in a blanket. Randy doused it with the scotch and sipped his bourbon. The blob twitched.

“My liver,” Randy explained. “They let me keep the old one. I never abandon an old drinking buddy.”

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1792 bourbon whiskey
1792 bourbon whiskey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve got a thing for disembodied organs. No really, I love disembodied organs! One of the best parts about working on a second degree in the sciences is getting to do dissections again. Over the last year, I did two eyeballs and a brain (all of them from sheep or cows). There’s nothing quite like seeing for yourself how such complicated biological machines are put together. I have to buy a new laptop every few years, and yet the wads of meat inside me somehow keep chugging along year after year with nary an oil change.

Given that, if you ever get the chance to see one of your own organs outside your body, don’t pass it up. A great regret of mine is missing such an opportunity a few years ago. You can bet that I won’t make the same mistake twice! After all, how often do you get to look at one of your own organs and live to tell the tale?

Instead, we should follow Randy’s example. Randy’s a guy who knows how to pay homage to his excised organs. Today’s word “hepatic” means “pertaining to the liver”. Randy’s liver transplant would be a “hepatectomy”. This story was inspired by a piece of good news from the organ transplant world. Livers are historically difficult to transplant. A lot of them die en route to the patients that need them because it’s hard to keep an organ viable when it’s no longer hooked up to the body. That’s where this shiny new device comes in. It’s a liver habitat! Cool, right? At long last, we can finally take our livers out for a drink. Literally.

Treat ’em to the good stuff! They can tell the difference.

What beverages do you treat your liver to? Mine prefers Strongbow cider and stouts of all kinds. Rieslings are excellent, but my liver rebels when it’s not from the Rhine or Mosel River like all Rieslings should be.

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