Thursday, June 02, 2005

Small Victories

Some of you may remember Patient X from January and February postings. He is my patient who was hospitalized for alcoholic hepatitis and had moderate cirrhosis and very severe psoriasis. Well, I am happy to report that he is doing swimmingly well. He has not had an alcoholic drink since getting out of the hospital in January, his symptoms have all abated, he's losing weight, and his psoriasis is incredibly improved. He and his friends credit my weekly visits and demonstrated desire to help him for this astounding recovery. I think that my regular presence has simply shown him that others can care, and that his own self-care can pay enormous dividends. In short, this man's life is being extended---not necessarily by medical intervention, but rather by compassion, attention, and renewed self-respect.

Another patient of mine who had been seen as a lost cause can now finally enjoy having her advanced AIDS completely controlled and suppressed through the taking of antiretroviral medications. She has been free of any complications, is doing extremely well, and has energy to spend time with her school-age daughter and son. She is one of my stars.

Mr. D, someone who has failed many antiretroviral regimens due to his unwillingness to take his meds religiously, is now completely suppressed as well, with rising T-cells (immune cells) and a quantity of virus so low that we cannot measure it. He is seeing the benefits of this turn of events and looks great. His previous skin eruptions are gone and he is gaining weight. His wife--also with AIDS--has been much better about taking meds all along, and she is in excellent health. Their young children are benefiting directly from their parents' self-care.

In this line of work, we need to remind ourselves to take the time to count our successes, celebrate our victories--however small--and take a deep breath on occasion.

Today I am off from work yet again, preparing for a trip to Boston tomorrow for my son's graduation from The New England School of Photography. You, my dear Readers, will necessarily need to tolerate some photos of the happy event upon my return, not to mention gushing sentimentality about our wonderful boy---er, young man, rather.

Happy day to you all.
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