Try


By Sean McDermott

Another Saturday, another spring past and summer coming, another birthday.

I tried to keep it low key this year. I took the date off facebook and realised that it was likely that it would only be my family and Kate that would remember. I have said in the past that I wanted to keep the big day simple but really didn’t mean it and started letting the story slip with about a week to go intensifying as it got closer, so everyone knew.

Attention please, please give me some attention. Now I’m so used to the lack of attention that I have created that I no longer crave it. Somewhere between the pizzazz and the banal rests my character, submerged in the pathos of this illness. I still proclaim strength and positivity but I am running on fumes now.

It’s not the realization that it has taken so long to receive a liver transplant , with nothing in sight I might add, but the awareness that I no longer understand my place in the drama of this play that is fast heading into Act 6.

Liver disease with irreparable damage is silent and rests in the results of blood tests and biopsies. It creeps up and pops in for a quick chat, and carries with it the luggage for a lifelong stay. Clear the guestroom coz it‘s not going anywhere soon.

Ultimately I am glad that I took it so far because I never would have stopped drinking at a furious pace and may have died, or simply squandered a life into toothless ranting loneliness, smoking more and drinking cheaper booze. I no longer have any desire to drink and it seems like a strange dream that I ever did. It feels like I started the cycle and never stopped and it gave me comfort where nothing else did.

False as it sounds the comfort is comforting, just not the hectic aftermath of breakups and new jobs and dreams unrealised and fitful wakes with comatose sleeps. The drug works and then bites back with a rapacious fever day after day, year after year. The only thing remaining is disdain for those who left you and remorse and shame, or the truth of why they left.

So here I am, sitting with my feet up now as usual, noticing a shift in my metabolism that could mean fever or complication or just my tired liver complaining because I over exerted myself today. For good reason though, since Kate and I decided to romp through Kensington for the afternoon and I play it as close to nothing being wrong as I can stand, and I have the luxury of Kate understanding innately that it is difficult for me and of course of her revitalising company.

These are the moments that I hang on to, trying to maintain perspective and not think at all about what I have lost in this and only consider what I have endured and what good may come of it.

Most of me states that this illness is not something that good comes from and I hate to arrange the pieces so it fits into some self-satisfying puzzle. People want to hear something from me so they don’t have to worry so I try and stay true and honestly describe the positives that I draw from this.

There is not much point in trying to convey the negative when I can’t even put my own finger on this melancholy. I drew the short straw somehow and tried to fight my way out quietly for most of my life. If you scream loud enough no one will notice your tears.

Click to see other stories by Sean McDermott.