We headed into the trailer park to give dogs and cats free vaccinations for rabies. The Beasley Animal Clinic Veterinarian was there to not only give the shots, but also the proper paperwork and tags for the animals that belong to owners who are disabled or unable to afford vaccinations.
While knocking on random doors I met this woman. Patsy yelled for me to come in, so with a twist of the knob I saw that she was laying on the floor covered in a blanket. “I just got bad news," she told me as if she already knew me. As we talked she said that two of her family members were in a terrible car accident in Mississippi. “I don’t know if they will make it,” she said.
As the subject changed I quickly learned that she is disabled and suffering from liver failure. As we talked she told me that she has Hepatitis C, which she was born with.
I asked, “What did you do when you first found out that your liver was no longer working properly?” She told me, “I started drinking whiskey – that was years ago.” She then said that she has been sober for 13-years and works to help others who are battling alcoholism. While her symptoms make it hard for her to leave home, she talks to those who are suffering on her phone daily and nightly. She said with a smile, “I meet people who are struggling online and I freely give them my number. I will tell people I don’t even know to call me anytime. One person I talked to was contemplating suicide, I talked him out of it!”
With Hepatitis C symptoms can go unnoticed and be mild for years, even as the liver damage is slowly taking place. As the infection increases, the liver begins to fail and it is measured in stages by doctors. Loss of appetite and sever fatigue sets in and the body no longer functions as it once did.
Today, Patsy is at stage 4 liver failure.
“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” - Joseph Campbell