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Falling Down Cirrhotic

Oct 15, 2012 - 13 comments

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.

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377493 tn?1356502149
by adgal, Oct 15, 2012
You are truly an amazing person, do you know that?  So many would have kept walking saying to themselves "not my problem, not my business".  You may never know the outcome here, but it is very possible that due to your willingness to get involved, he may go get tested.  And perhaps he will test positive.  Maybe as a result he will get treatment, and then maybe he will live.  All because you bothered.  I am proud to know you.

446474 tn?1446347682
by HectorSF, Oct 15, 2012
Hepatitis B

Among Asian & Pacific Islander community, transmission of HBV frequently occurs during the birth process when the virus is passed on to the baby from a mother who is often unaware that she is infected.

Asian Americans tend to be infected at a much higher rate, with 1 in 10 Asians chronically infected with hepatitis B, compared to 1 in 1000 in the general population. Without treatment or monitoring, 1 in 4 of these individuals will die from liver cancer or liver failure. Many die at the prime of their lives and as early as 30 years of age, leaving behind family members and children.

Chronic hepatitis B is responsible for 80% of all primary liver cancer worldwide. Liver cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in Asian American men. API's have the highest rate of liver cancer of any race/ethnic group. The incidence of hepatitis B and liver cancer constitutes the greatest health disparity that exists between Asian & Pacific Islanders (APIs) and the general U.S. population.

In California alone liver cancer is the #1 leading cause of cancer deaths among Laotian American men, the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths among Cambodian and Vietnamese men, the 4th leading cause of cancer deaths among Chinese and Korean men, and the 5th leading cause of deaths among Filipino men.

163305 tn?1333668571
by orphanedhawk, Oct 15, 2012
It was his belly that made me think it could be from cirrhosis. If I hadn't been through all of this myself, I would not have had a clue, just like the others there who had no idea. Why would they ? One woman from the salon said she knew CPR, so I was far from alone in trying to help this guy.

163305 tn?1333668571
by orphanedhawk, Oct 15, 2012
Hector, the guy wasn't Asian. The women from the salon were, of course:)
I think the Vietnamese have a monopoly on the business around here.

377493 tn?1356502149
by adgal, Oct 15, 2012
I'm sure others did try to help..but how many kept walking.  I'm still proud to know you.  I love the fact that you spoke up and tried to help.  

973741 tn?1342342773
by specialmom, Oct 16, 2012
You do seem to have a good, caring soul for others orphanedhawk.  Sadly, this is not a quality we see enough of.  I hope the man took your advice to follow up on this.  peace

163305 tn?1333668571
by orphanedhawk, Oct 16, 2012
I try to go by the golden rule. When he spoke to me I had that deja vu feel, recognizing the fuzzy way I felt when I had encephalopathy. It never occurred to me before that it could make you simply pass out on the sidewalk. Maybe the fumes of the salon pushed him over the edge. I don't know but I do know we all live on this planet together and I'd rather help those that I can, than walk on by.

446474 tn?1446347682
by HectorSF, Oct 16, 2012
"Sorry charlie." My screw up.

Enjoy the nice weather.
It's TP Support meeting today.


163305 tn?1333668571
by orphanedhawk, Oct 16, 2012
Hehe, a little HE irony~ eh ?

317787 tn?1473358451
by Dee1956, Oct 16, 2012
Hey there, I am honored to know you
The story brought tears to my eyes

1652596 tn?1342011626
by belle19, Oct 16, 2012
OH you're my hero.  what a wonderful and caring person you are.  thanks for posting your story.  belle

Avatar universal
by heart_in_the_keyes, Jan 04, 2013
You are a wonderful caring person.  I am also honored to know you and the other devotees who post on this site...I have learned a ton of information from you, Hector and others over the last few months....information that helps guide me to ask other questions.  At least when I remember what I read....(a little more HE irony..)

5901196 tn?1395543909
by Dee52in12, Sep 07, 2013
Oh my gosh. What a sweet, caring, fast thinking and knowledgeable person you are. You are one of the FEW people that could make God smile. The kind of friend where your friends know - a better friend they will never have! God  bless you for taking the time to help and try to educate that cirrhotic man. If he took your advice. you are aware aren't you, that you saved his life!  YOU JUST GAVE ME BACK SOME MORE FAITH IN HUMANITY, (I've been working on that area of my life). Dee

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