The doctor at the health service had not taken him seriously. It wasn’t that the doctor was stupid or in a hurry: he had visited him according to the rules, got him to take all the tests, and told him that there was nothing wrong. It’s obvious that, doing an exhausting and responsible job, you feel tired at the end of the shift–it’s only natural. Gino ought to do something: he was still young; he could go from being a bus-driver to an inspector, or even, with a bit of luck and a helping hand, get into administration and sit behind a desk. It wouldn’t solve all his problems–but what could you do?

It wasn’t that Gino really wanted to be ill, but this conversation had left him unsatisfied. The point was that, when he broke off work, he felt a weight on his right side, just below his ribs. The doctor palpated him and told him it was his liver. It wasn’t swollen or irritated. It was a healthy liver. But it was there–everybody has one–and it might well happen that if you’ve been on your feet for hours, or sitting uncomfortably, you might notice it’s there, and feel its weight. Did he smoke? Drink? No? So he shouldn’t worry, then, as long as he didn’t eat fried food, or take too much medicine: that’s right, because it’s the liver that deals with medicine: it lets them through or not, breaks them down when they’ve done their job (assuming they’ve done it), so that they can’t go around with the blood and cause trouble.

The liver also handles the fats, meaning that it manufactures bile, which parks itself in the gall-bladder, and then, if called upon, pops out and goes down the intestine to sort out the fats; so, the less fat you eat, the less bile you need, and the less work your liver has to do. On the whole, Gino’s liver was healthy, but he shouldn’t make it work overtime. And the trouble was Gino liked fried and greasy food. He’d have to keep an eye on his liver now, the way you do with cars, if you want them to last: regular washing and greasing, an eye cast over the electrics, the injectors, all the pumps, the battery and the brakes.

Children of The Wind