Written By: Mikee Pasaporte
One day, I was talking with Ms. Lira, our social worker, about a good patient story to feature this month. She mentioned the typical scenarios: patients who are in pain, patients who have sad family backgrounds… and a patient who takes care of chickens.
Now, this was something that tickled my inquisitive mind, so I ended up asking her to repeat that statement. She mentioned that we have a patient who takes care of nine chickens. A small business perhaps… was my initial impression. But no. This 42-year old patient suffers from liver cirrhosis, which is a condition in which the liver slowly fails and breaks down due to chronic injury; scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. I knew that I had to get to bottom of this.
Nothing good comes easy. Raising chickens in itself involves time, effort and creativity, especially if you plan to raise them in your backyard. Like most animals, you have to feed them and give them fresh water daily for them to live well and treat you right. Treating you right, in the sense that they will supply you with decent eggs.
Why does this patient need chicken eggs in the first place? You see, when a patient has advanced liver cirrhosis their diet becomes a major role in the management of the condition. The patient’s protein intake must be increased, because protein is essential for the liver to repair itself and function to the best of its ability. That’s where the egg whites come into the picture.
Since eggs are not as cost-efficient as they used to, the best way to have a fresh supply daily would be to have your own chickens to provide it for you. Since our patient has been sick for the past couple of years, his children have been supporting him financially. As a good father, his desire is to lighten the load they carry.
Smart move, right?
He has not given up being a responsible father amidst his board-like abdomen, edema and current condition. So yes, as the cliché goes, Filipinos are resilient. And I can say that our patient has portrayed that virtue.