Roberto was the ideal husband. He was loved by everyone and always tried to see the good in the crankiest of individuals. A passionate considerate man he seemed to love everyone. He married his high school sweetheart Hannah and they had their first child who he adored. His wife became pregnant again and his wish for a boy seemed to come true when Hannah’s ultrasound was completed in her 5thmonth of pregnancy. The whole family went to visit Hannah’s parents in rural Virginia. On the way to her parent’s home a drunk driver ran a red light and crashed into their car. A horrible wreck left Hannah dead at the scene and Roberto was flown to the local regional hospital. He had extensive internal injuries and required blood transfusions during the surgery. His daughter did remarkably well and was not seriously injured.
Roberto recovered from the surgery but unfortunately had received tainted blood that caused the hepatitis C virus. He turned yellow but then seemed to improve. Markedly depressed he had difficulty going on without his Hannah. He cried continuously but would only persist for Daryl his daughter and Kevin his son. He refused depression medication and went back to work. No woman caught his eye. None could ever compare to Hannah.
It was 10 years later now, when one evening Roberto became suddenly nauseous. He vomited a great deal of blood and Daryl called 911. The bleeding came from his esophagus. He had begun drinking at night for years once the children were asleep. It seemed to be the only comfort he could find. After surviving the hospital stay he followed up with a liver doctor who told him he had hepatitis C and cirrhosis of the liver. The only treatment would be a drug called interferon and ribavarin. Roberto wanted to be treated so he could see his children and hopefully grandchildren. The liver doctor told him with his cirrhosis and history of depression he would be at high risk. Roberto told him his family could keep an eye on him but the doctor refused to do the treatment. He said that the medication could cause side effects such as an acute depression that he could develop suicidal thoughts without any warning. Roberto asked for his records to seek another opinion from another doctor at a renowned university. They agreed to place him on the drugs. Eight weeks later Roberto took his life leaving Daryl and Kevin to fend for themselves. There wasn’t much money as Roberto did not have any retirement or even life insurance. Daryl sold the house and quit school. Relatives ignored their plight and the children moved into subsidized housing.
The treatment for hepatitis C is poor. It essentially was chemotherapy whose side effects are two numerous to list. Once the treatment is stopped the virus, hepatitis C, often returns to eat away at the liver like a voracious parasite. This parasite, however, slowly kills its host. Hepatitis B has many medical treatments that surprisingly have little side effects. Other forms of viral hepatitis are usually not fatal.
Roberto would have been alive if he had ceased his evening cocktails and was just observed. Daryl and Kevin grew up together and were very close. They had to be.