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Things a Hepatitis C Patient Doesn’t Want to Hear Before a Liver Biopsy

Some people celebrate their birthdays for an entire month, so I am following suit by celebrating April Fool’s Day for the entire month. One day of humor is just not enough for me. On Thursdays in April, I will feature revised blog posts that originally appeared in The Hepatitis Comics, a hepatainment blog offering bile humor and levity for the liver from 2009 through 2013.

Things We Don’t Want to Hear  Before a Liver Biopsy

Things a Hepatitis C Patient Doesn’t Want to Hear  Before a Liver Biopsy

Things a Hepatitis C Patient Doesn’t Want to Hear Before a Liver Biopsy

A friend sent me a list of things that one wouldn’t want to hear during surgery. I actually heard one of the listed phrases before my first liver biopsy. My doctor said, “Oh shoot, I forgot my glass.” It was in the 1990’s. Two weeks before the procedure, a well-meaning friend told me the gruesome details of her liver biopsy. She said it was the worst pain imaginable and although she had never had a baby, she couldn’t imagine anything worse. She didn’t stop there, but you get the picture.

I was a wreck worrying about the biopsy. The day of the procedure, I could barely walk; my legs were quaking in fear. Then the doctor arrives and says, “Shoot, I left my glasses at the office.” I replied, “Seeing is very important. You are not doing this without your glasses.” So, we waited another half hour while his assistant ran over to his office to get his glasses.

In the meantime, I am hyperventilating from fear. The glasses show up, he does the procedure, and it’s over before I can say hepatic encephalopathy. It wasn’t bad at all. So, two things you don’t want to hear before a liver biopsy are:

  • Liver biopsies are the worst pain imaginable
  • I left my glasses at the office

I have witnessed many liver biopsies and they have all been uneventful. In most cases, the patients seemed completely relaxed. On one occasion, the patient said, “Let’s get this over, doc,” after it had already been done.

In spite of the fact that every liver biopsy I’ve seen has been smooth, I could not resist poking fun. Here are some more things we don’t want to hear our doctors utter during a liver biopsy:

  • “Better save that. We might need it for the autopsy.”
  • “Accept this sacrifice, Oh Great Satan.”
  • “Oops. Who knew that the liver was on the right side!”
  • “There’s a first time for everything.”
  • “I wish I hadn’t drank so much last night.”
  • “Missed again.”
  • “It looked so easy on the video.”
  • “I’m not a real doctor. I just play one on TV.”
  • “Shoot, I dropped the sample and have to do it again.”
  • “I wish I had paid more attention in anatomy class.”
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