Thirteen days and a wake up 

Tomorrow marks two weeks after my second liver transplant and I’m back home sitting in my new recliner. It’s been pretty smooth despite it taking a while to get my pain under control. I feel much stronger and more stable, even though things took a little turn to the south yesterday. The plan was to be transferred to a rehabilitation facility to help me get stronger and provide a stop-gap between the hospital and home since we have a lot of stairs. Once we got to the facility though it didn’t take long to decide this was not a good place for me to be. It was more of a low-end nursing home than a rehabilitation center and the vibe was not good, not one of healing and Litsa felt pretty much the same way so we simply took our leave and went about securing the remaining medications that hadn’t been physically supplied to me yet. The docs were a little freaked out that we bailed and tried a bit to get us to come back to the hospital, but having gone up and down the stairs at home already, I feel pretty confident that we did the right thing and mentally being home will be far better than being in the rehab center. Besides, I’ll still be going into the VA twice a week for labs and liver clinic, so it’s ultimately not that different other than the location – and I get to sleep in my own bed.

My mobility is increasing and my pain is manageable, and the incision looks to be healing well even though there’s a couple of spots that need to be packed with gauze. After labs tomorrow I will be checking with my coordinator to have the wound looked at to make sure we’re doing a proper job at changing the bandages and keeping it clean etc.

The other big change is having to check my blood sugar and injection insulin if needed. I’ve only had to insulin up 3 times so far and I’m hoping to not have to do this very much longer since it’s the Prednisone that is making it necessary for me check my blood sugar and I won’t be taking the prednisone forever.

I feel good about my progress and the docs do as well, but that being said I’ll be happy to be 1 more week out, then 2, then 3….

Nearly a week goes by….

After nearly a week post transplant I still feel pretty good if you subtract all of the pain. Today was especially bad for pain. I think I got a little behind my pain meds overnight, but my bowels just aren’t quick to wake up right now, so now I’m back to NPO (nothing by mouth) which is funny since I always thought it was short for “now phuk off”. Realistically I should’ve known it was Latin “nil per os”, but they don’t want me to make things worse, so I guess I can get on board if my morning is less painful than today’s. 

I’ve been up and moving around still, they’re just being pokey to get moving. I’m still doing well and better than the first time, so we’ll just have to see how the next few days go.

Here’s an interesting bit of info;  if you lay on your left side, your bowels are more apt to loosen up and wake up…..

Now I’m going to try and get some rest.

Goodness gracious great balls of fire!

There’s always something that no one talks about, some part of a process that gets tabled – the fact that my nuts are all swollen up is one of those things. Not that I really want to talk about it, but it’s not a lot of fun, and somebody should have said something. So I will just put it here. Hehehe

A lot of bits are still swollen and puffy which means I get to stay on water pills to help “pee off” excess water trapped inside. So I’m peeing like a race horse. Could be worse though, I could be the dude who just came in on LifeFlight.

The rest of the story is following a pretty awesome and good trajectory. Tomorrow I get the incision  coverings removed so that the wound will air out and heal that way. I’m not sure how I feel about that yet, so I’ll leave off with some AC/DC while I work through some pain………

And my balls are always bouncing

My ballroom always full

And everybody comes and comes again

If your name is on the guest list

No one can take you higher

Everybody says I’ve got great balls of fire!

I’ve got big balls

I’ve got big balls

And they’re such big balls

Dirty big balls

Damned Dirty Liver

Like the day after I wrote the last post I developed another blood born infection from my damn dirty liver, and as it is it likely keep happening until I get transplanted, which right is somewhat promising because I’m at the top of the least for now.

Seeing how there’s not a lot I can do, I’ve been working on a header graphic for the site, maybe I’ll finish that this week.

I must stay it’s easy to get around in a hospital. Makes easy to just get up wander halls. at I have to go for a walk, and all that that entails. Not that I would to stay at the when I really don’t need to.

Two weeks to Vascular stability

After coming back to the VA in an event I have no recollection of, I get to go home today I think. Just shy of my birthday I’m looking at getting out of here and back to trying to get healthy. Oh, did I mention my name is going to show up the UNOS listing as well? Yup, I’m very soon to be listed in this region looking for Liver #2, that is if I’m not listed already. I finished all the requirements and the Liver team has accepted my case – Hostile Abdomen and everything.

This hospital stay saw me in th ICU for more than half the time, and left me with a gaping hole of more than 3 days in my memory, which is a very scary feeling. I got so bad before going to the ER that my confusion was bad enough to affect memory, and by affect I mean erase or prohibit retention. There’s a big long name for this too, though I can’t remember it but Neurocognitive impairment is a major issue in patients with liver disease. The worst part is that there really isn’t anything I can do to recognize symptoms as they onset. This was triggered by bleeding vessels in my stomach and created a whole host of issues. I think in total I received 5 units of blood over the duration of my stay. Some were hung while I was in the ER and more while I was in ICU for the second time. My second ICU visit was precipitated by a fever, infection and a clogged Biliary Drain.

All this aside I’m happy to be heading home.

Two weeks is looking to be long enough for me and I’ll be more than a little glad to be home, sleeping in my own bed, and able to wander my house aimlessly if I so desire and hopefully it’ll be a few weeks at least before I end up back in the clutches of the PVAMC.

3 years ago today – or something like that

It was just 3 years ago that right about now I would be getting out of surgery, and heading to ICU for the beginning of my journey with my new liver. To me it still seems like it was yesterday, while to some of my friends it seems like it was a long time ago; it’s funny how time wanders at different perceptual rates for folks. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it, and that’s not because I have this absolutely ginormous scar altering the landscape of that train wreck I call my stomach. It’s because of how amazingly lucky and blessed I am to have been able to have been transplanted while so many still have not.

“Live this day as if it will be your last. Remember that you will only find ”tomorrow” on the calendars of fools. Forget yesterday’s defeats and ignore the problems of tomorrow. This is it. Doomsday. All you have. Make it the best day of your year. The saddest words you can ever utter are, ”If I had my life to live over again. ”Take the baton, now. Run with it! This is your day! Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”
~ Og Mandino

It’s been a pretty good 3 years, I have to admit. The last several months have seen me starting to lose weight again, ride my bike again, and ride with purpose and finally gain ground again rebuilding muscle and endurance. I think I can finally say that I am more on the recovered end of the scale, than the recovering end now; and I like that.

13 transplants, 26 operations and a record setting run in Washington DC

Georgetown University Hospital and nearby Washington Hospital performed 13 kidney transplants over what must have been a grueling 6 day marathon recently. It’s amazing that it snowballed into such a large endeavor since based on the article, it seemed to have started with just two people who had a pretty low chance of being matched.

There are currently 88,000 people on the National List waiting for transplant, and of that total number only about 17,000 will actually be transplanted. According to Dr. Keith Melancon, Georgetown’s kidney transplant director, predicts these procedures could enable up to 4,000 additional transplants a year.

The AP really did an amazing job with this story, and documenting the weeks of preparation for the transplant team, the recipients, donors, and their families.

Not much else to say, other than what an amazing Holiday for so many families. Here’s the full story on Oregon Live.