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Sunday, May 2, 2010

He de-livers for Mother's Day

Mother’s Day is a special time to get together to show our mothers how much we love them. I love my mother. She darns my socks. Every year I get her something special for Mother’s Day like, a new pull cord for her lawnmower, a fishing pole or a festive ball of yarn, anything to make mother happy.
Happiness, as defined by great American philosopher George Burns, is “a large, loving, caring, close knit family, in another city.” That might explain how local author Dr. Mark Stephanelli moved from the East Coast to Forks.  It may seem extreme until you read his book, “Pink Iguanas and Broken Promises,” Dog Ear Publishing 2009.
Maybe you think your family gatherings have had some awkward moments over the years. You need to read this book. It will make you feel better about the dysfunctional pack of losers you’re related to. 
Reading this blow-by-blow account of a family gathering is like watching a grudge-fueled, booze-soaked train wreck of sucker-punching brawlers and back-biting scammers collide in a deep dark tunnel with no light at the end. It’s pretty much a typical American family where being nice is a weakness and only the strong survive.
Mother is seen as the most positive member of the family, because she claimed the right to be more negative than anyone else. That’s because she’s an overweight, 70-something, hard- drinking smoker, with cirrosis of the liver and Hepatitas C. This is known as end stage liver disease.
Mother needed a transplant.
About 101,000 people in this country are waiting for organ transplants. Nineteen of these people die every day, waiting.
Mother needed a living donor. She had five children. Her son, Mark, offered his mother a chunk of his liver.
His reason was simple: Mother would have done the same for him. The fact that her liver was shot, remains irrelevant. Mother was, he said, “a simple, beautiful soul.”
What follows is a modern day horror story made all the more frightening with the knowledge that the same thing can happen to any one of us the minute we check into a hospital. That’s where you can be made to feel like fodder for a meat grinder whose only purpose is to enrich a bloated administration that does not care, about patient care. 
The author is an emergency room doctor in Forks. His wife is also a doctor.
As informed advocates of their own health care, you would think they would be able to have some say about their treatment. Instead, they are led down a garden path of lies, incompetence and greed to a terrifying procedure that unravels into a desperate struggle to survive modern medicine.
After they remove most of his liver, the author is denied pain medication. The nurse says his doctor could not be disturbed.
Disturbing the patients however, is not a problem. They are not allowed to rest after surgery for any reason. Anyone who has been awakened in a hospital to be asked if they needed sleep meds, understands.
The story draws to a horrifying conclusion with an attempt to escape from the hospital. This book is a powerful motivation to stay healthy and avoid any and all health-care facilities, if at all possible.
     Still, the book has a happy ending.
Mother has seen another four grandchildren born since her liver transplant.  The author has raised the bar for every mother’s son.
I’m going to have to give my mom an extra big hug and a special big ball of yarn this Mother’s Day. 

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