Oct 15, 2012
As I walked down the street this afternoon, a large man walked out of a nail salon falling onto the sidewalk.
A bevy of Asian manicurists immediately ran to his aide, helping him up.
He took a couple of steps before hitting the pavement again.
One woman ran back into the shopping yelling, " call 9-1-1, call 9-1-1."
By now, I had reached the man. He was a large guy with a protruding belly.
His eyes opened.
I knelt down and said, " do you have liver disease ?"
He replied, " I don't know ? Something's wrong, maybe that's it."
I didn't smell alcohol so I ruled out my initial thought that he could be drunk. then
Then I asked, " do you have hepatitis C?"
He said, " I don't think so."
I told him I thought because of his large belly that he could have cirrhosis and explained encephalopathy to him.
One of the women from the salon, phone in hand, asked his age.
"61," he replied. She spoke into the phone then said the ambulance was on its way.
Upon hearing that, he got to his feet.
" I'm fine, no really, I'm fine," he said and ambled down the street.
I followed, it was the direction I was going in anyway.
He walked over to a truck climbing into the driver's seat. When he saw me, he rolled down his window.
By now, I had scribbled down the name of a clinic that does free hep C testing, a place where they would recognize his symptoms, if he really did have cirrhosis.
He thanked me, as I continued to tell him about hep C and my experience with advanced cirrhosis.
He asked, " could that be why my urine is dark?"
Of course the answer was yes.
He commented on how he'd had a complete physical just a year ago.
All I could do was tell him it's sad that they do not test for hep C but he should not delay seeing a doctor and testing his liver functions.
I told him that I didn't think it was safe for him to drive, what if he had fell while at the wheel driving down the road.
He said, he felt it coming on, thought it was just the fumes from the nail salon. He said he'd drive slow and pull over if he felt that way again.
Not knowing what else I could do, I continued on my way.