Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Advice to the Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohans and Paris Hiltons of the world

Are you addicted to alcohol? Cocaine? Meth? Vicodin? Other drugs? Need to stop? Or don't want to stop?
Do you have a son or daughter or friend who is addicted to alcohol or drugs? Do you have a child you'd like to see stop drinking or doing drugs? Is he or she stubborn like Britney Spears and won't listen to your or others' heeding?

I have two simple words that are guaranteed to stop your son or daughter fast in his or her tracks.

No fancy, expensive rehabilitation center that caters only to the client's whims.

No long, preachy lectures or group therapy where the same stories are told over and over again.

No 12 steps.

No lame mottos such as "Just say no."

Just two simple words:

Your liver.

Have your child check his or her liver. Warn your son or daughter that the liver is the most precious organ in the body and that everything we eat, drink or even smoke is filtered through the liver. In Chinese medicine the liver is called as "the general" because of its vital functions. We each have two kidneys and only one liver. If one of your kidneys fails, you have a spare kidney to take over its place. If your liver fails, where is a spare liver to take its place? You'd have to get on a long list and wait for a period of time to get a liver transplant. This is why the liver is VERY precious, more than you ever realize.

The liver is known for its amazing regenerative powers and its ability to handle stress for a length of time. But if it is repeatedly fed with such toxins as alcohol, drugs and junk food over a long period, it may become weaker and lose its ability to handle stress as well as filter toxins. When it cannot filter toxins, disaster happens. Your system would go awry and your health would decline rapidly. Serious consequences can result, such as severe illness, brain damage, coma or even death.

I know. It happened to me.

Friends, gentlemen and ladies, parents, let me share my experience with you that you may share with your friends or children or loved ones who have alcohol or drug problems:

Exactly one year ago I nearly lost my mind, heart and life. It happened right after the Gallaudet protestors' victory over JKF and IKJ. The mood I was in that day was very euphoric. I was not aware that I had a liver failure in progress. Ironically I'd just previously made a resolution to quit drinking for once and all. Not that I was ever a full-blown alcoholic...on the contrary, normally I'd drink occassionally and in moderation. But sometimes when I was depressed or distressed, I would have drinking bouts. And I was a heavy drinker back in my youth, in my old college days. Now that I look back, I regret those drinking bouts and wished I'd be more careful and wise not to drink too much.

But I made the right decision to quit drinking, just in nick of time. Any further would have been an end of me.

The liver failure I had led to a renal (kidney) failure, which produced an encephalopathic reaction. Encephalopathy (literally means in Greek "in the head") is temporary mental instability. In an encephalopathy one enters an altered state, undergoes personality changes, and experiences psychotic symptoms. Depending on the frame of his or her mind and his or her point of reference, one can see hallucinations of almost anything, from an UFO to a phantom to the devil. I saw things that weren't there. Because I came from a Christian background, I thought the world was coming to an end. I became very paranoid. I know it may seem crazy, but that was what I imagined and it was a very frightening experience for me!

I was literally nuts for a few days. Like Vincent Van Gogh before he cut off his ear. I actually had a meltdown, like those celebrities. It was a nightmare for me.

I wasn't aware I was undergoing a psychotic break until I landed in the hospital and my sanity started to come back. I now understood what schizophrenics experience. I experienced only three days of what mentally-challenged people probably experience daily in their lives. What a hellish time it must be, to live as a schizophrenic.

At the hospital I learned that I had cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver. I am not fully sure if cirrhois was caused by years of my drinking or another serious disease that I have. I am not going into details on this serious disease...even after one year I'm still grappling to come in terms with it. (But I can assure you it definitely isn't AIDS.) Someday when I feel more comfortable, I will tell you more about this. But for now, regardless of whatever the cause, cirrhosis is a very serious disease and it can be deadly. It is said that in its advanced stage, cirrhosis cannot be reversed. When this disease progresses worse, it can lead to a coma or death unless a new liver is transplanted. Liver transplants can be very expensive.

Ever since my last diagnosis I've been treating myself with herbal supplements and vitamins. I've been taking milk thistle (which is said to help reverse cirrhois and heal the liver) for a long time now. I avoided alcohol entirely...it is now 1 year since I last touched a drop of alcohol. I don't feel tempted at all whenever I am at a party or alcohol is around. I miss the sweet taste of cold beer or warm sake, yeah...but I've had enough anyway, for 20 years. No more. I won't ever again wet my lips with beer or wine or sake. I just saw my doctor last week and had blood tests. I will let you know how my health is after lab results come back.

I hope this scares our young beloved into coming to their senses. I think it's easier for a person in 40s to quit alcohol or drugs than a person in 20s. The person in 20s tends to be stubborn because he or she wants more and MORE of this or that. How can you convince this person to stop? Simply, tell this person about the liver!

You can save more lives this way by spreading the message. I care that our deaf children, the '00s generation, doesn't end up as screwed as many of us in the deaf '60s, '70s and '80s generations. Let's pass this message to future deaf generations. Let's show we care!

Thank you for listening AND caring, y'all
...


UPDATE 3/30/10: I would like to give Britney Spears credit for the hard work she's done to recover and straighten up her life. I noticed from media reports that she's improved a lot. Hand waves for her! Paris Hilton...she did fairly well and toned down her partying ways. But as you know, Paris will be always Paris. As for Lindsay Lohan...sadly, she hasn't changed much. Want to know something freaky? I NEARLY meeted Paris and Lindsay! Believe it or not...I have this close friend who happens to know Paris and Lindsay. When I was staying over at my friend's place in Los Angeles, she received a page from Paris who wanted to see her. But unfortunately it was a wrong time, when she was just packing and getting ready to move out of her apartment. Another late night after hanging out on the Sunset Strip my friend and I headed back to her apartment. All of a sudden she got a page from Lindsay who invited US to her party. But it was almost 3 A.M. and she was too tired. Besides, there was another reason why she didn't want to go to Lindsay's party. So oh well, there goes my opportunity! It would've been interesting...I might've in a way reached out to Lindsay (but then with her mindset, WHO can reach out to her?). Life almost imitates art, doesn't it?

16 comments:

The One and Only Ridor said...

Wow. This is such a personal topic. Very good one.

R-

Dan McClintock said...

Hey R - thanks! I hope more deaf people become aware of this. Not many deafies know nor understand about the liver or the devastating effects alcohol & drugs can have on the liver.

D.

Todd said...

Dan-

Thank you for sharing your health struggles with us. I will truly wish for a continued good health for you.

(P.S. Just an unsolicited suggestion; why take a swipe at another individual in your deeply touching and hugely personal story? It mars an otherwise excellent article on such an important topic. Don't get me wrong; I'm not a fan of his antics in various Deaf blogs, either.)

ASCDEAF said...

Thanks for sharing your story. If it makes a difference in one Deaf person's life, it's priceless. I wish you the best health-wise.

Candace A. McCullough

Anonymous said...

It is a very powerful message you have ever brought up to us. I have learned a lot from you, but I am very aware that liver is so reactive to excessive alcohol, fats, processed cheese, and meats, and other unhealthy food...

As we get older, we become wiser and change our diets and lifestyle... That is what I did. Not easy to do so.

Best of luck with your diet regimen to reverse your liver problem. Do tell us if it works.

(Maybe you should remove Richard's name from your blog/ article, which is absolutely unnecessary and irrelevant)

~ Just Deaf

Jean Boutcher said...

Dear Dan,

This is the most powerful blog I have so far read. I must agree with you completely that "The liver" is much more powerful than "Say no to drugs or to alcohol." You are lucky to be under your doctor's care. My father did not know he had cirrhosis until one day when he collapsed. He drank vodka day in and day out to forget his bitterness about his hearing loss which he had never accepted. I shall by all means share your story with my friends. Please take good care. You have in my thoughts.

Jean Boutcher

drmzz said...

Heavy. Yea, young adults think they are immortal. Them krazy girls. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Great post! But I have to be honest with you is that after I was reading this, it didn't reverse my cravings for alcohol. The 12-step work is what have been keeping me sober. A lot of alcoholics and addicts, like myself, do not care about their health, even if it comes to cirrhosis (FYI - cirrhosis is a correct spelling).

I'm sorry to say that your post doesn't work for every Deaf person who is suffering from alcoholism and/or addiction.

The best solution is to go to group meetings, get a sponsor and go through the 12-step procedure.

But... This is still a great post! :)

- From a Deaf alcoholic who is experiencing a wonderful and incredible 13 years of sobriety.

Deb Ann said...

It's a very good post! Thanks for sharing! You are very brave for sharing, so they'd think twice about their liver.

Anonymous said...

Mike alias drmzz

It is not only girls doing that. It is both boys and girls ranging from 13 to 20's doing their so-called 'cool' stuff, showing off or doing dares. They WILL learn and wake up when they experience dire consequences whether it is from doing something wild or stupid.

Dan, thanks for deleting Richard's name from your blog.

drmzz said...

Anon (6:18), of course for both gender who think they are immortal at that age. My later response was geared toward the overexposed characters from post title.

Dan McClintock said...

To Todd and Anonymous #1,

Your suggestions are noted. I've made revisions.

To Jean,

I had a great-aunt, a Southerner, who was a full-blown alcoholic. She had a beer can ready on the table near her bed when she woke up to drink it. She then would follow it with several shots of whiskey and more beer. Then more beer before she went to bed! She was one of my maternal grandfather's older sisters. My grandpa and his sisters all grew up in Missouri. My aunt died of cirrhosis, at what age I can't remember. My mother warned me about her when she became concerned about my drinking a long ago. Now I know better.

To Anon #2, thanks...I've corrected the spelling. Sometimes I type very fast when I'm venting and forgot to use the spell-check before I publish. Hmm...fyi, I'm not against AA meetings nor their 12 steps program. I don't discount the therapeutic value of group meetings and sponsor support. In fact, if that's what is best for some people, then go. For me, I don't feel at all a compulsion to go to an AA meeting or any other group meeting. I prefer very much to focus on my own therapy and rehabilitation. The 12 steps program may not work for everybody. Nevertheless, I wouldn't discourage anyone from seeking professional help.

Re cirrhosis, maybe this picture would convince you?
http://uimc.discoveryhospital.com/shared/enc/img_htm/GI-25.htm

To the rest, thank you all for your support! I appreciate it! :)

Anonymous said...

Mike, thanks for clarifying...

Cruise Trip for the Deaf - Oct 2007 said...

You are lucky! My brother isn't lucky. He is at VA hospital. I was there when his doctor told him that his brain is damaged from too much drinking. His memory is so bad. He drank over 40 years.
It is too late for my brother. He is in a nursing home. He is only 64 years old, but he looks like 80 years old. It is real sad!

Don Grushkin said...

Whoa, Dan! I'm glad you're allright. Those wild years of your youth caught up with you, I guess, but at least now you know better and can watch what you're doing. Take care of yourself,

Your old roomie,

DonG.

Lane said...

Hi Dan, this is Lane (nightowl)....I would like to contact you via email...it's about your artwork. got email address?

Lane