Liver biopsies ain’t no fun

MagooSlogans. Mottos. Most businesses have them. It’s stuff like, “Service with a smile” or “We don’t spit in your tacos.”

I could probably quiz you on famous and well-known slogans and you would do well. Try some.

Just do it –
I’m lovin’ it –
Taste the rainbow –
Can you hear me now –

How did you do? Slogans identify products or services. They are pretty effective.

Robin and I have had a long-running joke about a personal slogan. We’ve even talked about starting a business. So many times we show up at an ice cream stand, restaurant or store and see no one in line. As soon as we get to the counter there is an instant line. I am not lying.

The other night we went to the local ice cream stand. It was near closing time and a bit chilly outside. When we drove in there was no one there except for one older couple huddled on a bench eating their ice creams. We stepped up to the window to place our order and cars started pulling in. By the time we had our cones there were 12 people in line behind us.

We looked at each other, shrugged our normal shrug and simultaneously said our slogan, “we bring the line.” Seriously, it happens all the time!

Today, after my liver biopsy, we are considering adding a second slogan that we hear all too frequently, “I’ve never seen that before.”

I was nervous about having a core sample taken from my liver despite having a lot of people tell me to relax and “give it to God” and all those things people say. I’m not a fan of being poked by sharp things. I don’t like it at all so it makes me nervous. I think that makes perfect sense.

We walked into the room where I would have my biopsy. That’s when I met the Asian version of Mr. Magoo. He didn’t inspire confidence.

“You have liver transplant from deceased?” he asked.

I knew we were in this special room with an ultrasound machine only because I was a living donor recipient. I kinda wanted him to know that too but he seemed to know less about it than I did. I’m sure it was just my perception since he, as a fellow, clearly knows what he’s doing.

I did my best to follow his use of the English language while he explained what would happen to me and asked some more questions. He had me stretch out on a sheet of butcher paper on a medical table while he started getting things ready. He seemed pretty nervous as he walked back and forth from one side of the room to the other like he was looking for something.

Then one of my favorite docs, Dr. Mohammed Akoad, poked his head in to check on me with a smile. I felt relief instantly because Dr. Mo is awesome. I was glad that Dr. Mo would be coming to my rescue and Mr. Magoo would, as a fellow, apparently be watching.

And then Dr. Mo left and closed the door. I don’t often see concern on Robin’s face but I could see it now. She was thinking the same thing I was. “Uh oh.”

The nurse started giving Dr. Magoo suggestions and seeming to gently direct him. He kept bumping into his little rolling metal tray of instruments. “Would you like me to put your tray near where you will be working?” she hinted.

“No. No. This fine here,” he answered, fumbling for something. At this point the nurse was starting to look like a worried person pretending not to worry.

Thankfully a couple of cute ultrasound technicians came in to mark out my liver and draw a target between two ribs. They lightened the mood and made small talk. But then, they left and Dr. Magoo came toward me.

He didn’t say much of anything so the nurse told me I’d start feeling the sting of the local numbing agent. I did.

Dr. Magoo asked, “How you feel?” I told him I felt pressure but okay. And then, he came too close to one of my ribs and made me yelp.

“Ok, ok, you ok?” he asked. And then he jabbed it in again further and harder. This time I jumped and yelled loud enough that I thought people in the waiting room might have heard me.

Robin’s hand was being crushed by mine and the nurse had a pained look on her face.

“Ok, ok, sorry, sorry. How you feel?” “That hurt,” was my reply but what I meant was, “that hurt like a needle going into my freaking rib!”

Now I was really nervous. Dr. Akoad was clearly not going to come to my rescue. It was Robin, me, Mr. Magoo and our clearly unnerved nurse left now to take the liver sample. All I could think about was all the “just give it to God” people and how I wanted to jab them in the ribs with big needles.

Then my nurse smiled and said, “all done.” I think my blood pressure dropped 20 points with those words.

While I lay there, Dr. Magoo started scurrying around cleaning up. At one point he knocked the aluminum tray off his little table with a loud crash. He was clearly having a tough day too. I’m sure he was upset about causing me such pain.

Then, when we were leaving, we heard our potential second slogan like we have heard so many times before. Our nurse apologized and said the familiar words, “I’ve never seen that happen before.” Weird stuff always seems to happen to me. Im exceptional.

It was one of those days. On our drive down we were randomly selected from the flow of traffic and presented with a $264 speeding ticket; 63 in a 50 MPH construction zone. People were passing us and we were behind a tractor trailer truck but we were the lucky ones. I hate to see my wife cry. Sometimes life just seems to pour it on, huh?

Now we wait for the pathology lab for two days so we can learn what is happening with my liver. Two more days of waiting. Ugh.

But, even though the rain fell, good stuff happened today too. Pom was well taken care of by our kind neighbor, the blood lab got my vein on the first try and we shared cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory. I heard from tons of people who are praying for me. I am alive and have a great life. I’ve started a new assignment as interim pastor at FBC Westbrook and am planning and dreaming again with new purpose.

Yes, officer friendly gave us a ticket. Yes, a med student had a tough day and I reaped the results. But, so what? No one ever said life would be easy.

While we wait for the news we are blessed. And then, no matter what the news, we will still be blessed. With my God, my life is a win/win.

Matthew 5:45 … He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong.

About Scott Linscott

Living life to the fullest, walking in the dust of my Rabbi, creating art through photography and written word, speaking words of hope wherever and whenever the opportunity arises.
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15 Responses to Liver biopsies ain’t no fun

  1. Janice Perry says:

    Blessed (already) having you roaming around FBCW…glad to be learning from you and sharing with you. Love your honesty…sharing the good with the bad…it’s real life. You are a member of our family now and I hope and pray we can be a blessing right back at you, Scott. Praying for you and yours. Jan

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing. God answers prayer! Hopefully it will be quick, our prayer was answered and we got you, for that we are thankful. Have a great day!!!!!

  3. Julie G says:

    Thank you for writing that. I love the honesty.
    You may think that you needed to start a new church when you left the Portland church. Scott, you have been ministering to us through sharing your life with honesty, and with your walk and journey of faith. You have started a new church, with your body being the pulpit. From it, you speak words of honesty, faith, discouragement, pain, worry, dislike of “give it to God” comments (from well-meaning folks…who don’t know what else to say….what should we say???) and much more.
    To see, or read about, a real person, with real emotions, like/dislikes, thoughts, opinions, and candid (& sometimes entertaining) writings…..that IS a ministry.
    You have achieved your goal of reaching those who wouldn’t walk through the doors of a church. My wish is that it didn’t have to come through such pain & sacrifice. But my wish and my ideas aren’t Gods…..and I am VERY glad for that….we’d all be majorly messed up!
    I am praying for you and Robin, and your family, as you anxiously wait for the results. I ask God to bless you both….and that is not meant like the churchy people way. I really mean it.

  4. Cathleen Bartleson says:

    I love your writing. You make the reader feel like they are there with you and Robin. Praying for good outcomes.

  5. Melaine says:

    You are kind. One jab and that Dr would have been done and I would have asked to see a new one. I know we go to teaching hospitals but somedays I still get frustrated that we deal with such serious illness’s and have to be someone’s teaching tool so that we get medical care. Iam so sorry your day was rough. Though I must say sharing cheese cake with a loved one must be going around as my husband and I just shared ne this weekend.

    • I have had two occasions when I have said, “no mas” with medical procedures but usually I let students have at me. It must be because my Josh is a med student. I try to treat them like I want people to treat him.

  6. I never like to have liver biopsies done because it never gets any easier. I have had five total, and four of them post transplant. It seems that they always find that special needle with the most irritating anesthetic that burns all of the way in to my liver. Then you hear “You are going to feel some pressure” from the doctor doing the biopsy. It always kind of takes my breath away. Then it is done and over with except for the four to six hour wait so they can make sure you are not bleeding internally. And of course the wait for the results seems endless. But as Scott said it is all win/win with God on our side. After all most of us that have had liver transplants would not be here now if not for Gods grace and love and the generosity of our donors!

    • Tim, had he not nicked a rib I think the biopsy would have been a breeze. I felt nothing when the specimen was collected. Next time they’ll have to give me a happy pill to calm me down first.

  7. Believer says:

    Hoping everything is fine, we will be praying for a positive outcome. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Pastor Mark says:

    Scott, I love you, man. Thanks for sharing it just like it is. Praying for you and Robin.

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