She knew there was something wrong.
A woman didn’t spend time with a man for this long and not notice how, when, and what he pooped.
Familiarity may breed contempt, but it can also enlighten; problem was, he notoriously ignored her commentary.
She wasn’t talking out of her ass. This was a topic hot enough in her own house. Chronically backed up, she could have used a frank friend to tell her the breath was acrid but, as everyone in puritanically founded western culture knew, almost nobody had the guts.
Yet, finally diagnosed with gluten intolerance in her too-late forties she knew what it meant when shit didn’t sink. So having noticed, the first time, around five years earlier – again – there was no convincing the medical professional. Nurses were the worst patients; the cardiac specialist said so.
No. It would take a big, fat, life threatening pulmonary embolism lodged in the saddle of the artery to drag his derriere to the hospital. Two days in, he’d text her; four days hence, catheter extraction a success, discharged – alive, to dismiss another day.
Oh; and, to ignore all follow up test results, meticulously posted at the patient portal, only to tempt her curiosity. A full year would pass before she, reviewing them all for herself, would see the single, apparently secondary entry: diffuse hepatic steatosis. Had anybody with authority addressed this? Had there been so much as a phone call?
Fatty. Liver. It’s nothing to sniff at. The disease can kill a person*. If left untreated, via modified diet and substance consumption including one Nobel Prize winning drug so reviled by the medical community so as to make its access reduced to out of pocket expense, the liver is overcome by potentially necrotic deposits until its function ceases. We can live without many things in this life, but the liver is not one of them.
And, among its first symptoms: profuse, floating, foul smelling feces.
Right or wrong, he should have listened to her. Now, her voice will echo in his dreams. She’d had enough of his shit, for one lifetime.
*I knew both a woman and man who had the disease; both were placed on the liver transplant list, and the man eventually died.
Copyright 4/28/23 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. No copying – in whole; part; or, via translation (including RSS feed/exception: Hans-Jorg Ronsdorf, dear friend) – permitted; sharing via blog link, exclusively, and that not by RSS. Thank you for respecting even the despicable.