Sunday, November 16, 2008

Belated Halloween and Transplant!!

Week #7 of 52 projects is a tad late! I have a good excuse. Hold on to your seats! On October 28th the phone rang at 8am and the sweetest voice I've heard in a long time said, "We might have a kidney for Stacy, don't let her eat anything and we'll get back to you in a few hours after more checking is done. But it looks good enough to put you on notice." Being that I was in a deep sleep when the phone rang I wasn't positive that the phone call was real, especially when I assumed that it might be the local hospital calling with the pre-op info for R's surgery. (hopefully, he'll have the postponed surgery on the 21st.) I didn't know what to do but felt that if we started packing we might be disappointed so we only took showers and tried to figure out why mom was more confused than usual. (Sadly, mom is now closer the last stage of Alzheimer's and has no clue when she started living with me.) I phoned my daughter and SIL and they began to make plans to meet us at Loma Linda Medical Center to pick mom up. At 11:00 the phone rang again, "Come on in! It's a go. We're 99% positive that in a few hours Stacy will have a new kidney.

It's a 1.5 hour drive to LLMC and it was the most emotional trip we've ever had. Who was the donor who died during the night? Tragic!!! We arrived at LLMC at 1:45 and were immediately whisked into the room that would be Stacy's for the next week. A team of 7 asked a million questions most of which I couldn't remember answers to! My brain had left the planet. The surgeon , young from Nigeria, was fabulous and kept putting his arm around me and in a soothing voice led me through the questions and the information he needed to tell Stacy and me about the transplant. Stacy's veins had shut down meaning that the 20 or so vials of blood they needed to check everything out couldn't be drawn! My heart sank. But Dr. O..... quietly said, "Go and get a dialysis nurse to come in and use Stacy's catheter, lots of blood can be drawn there." DUH!! Her blood tests were quickly evaluated for possible infections etc. At 4pm Dr. O said all that it was time to re-check the donor kidney from a young man that was compatible for Stacy.

At 5:15 Stacy had finally entered a place of peace and was able to tell the OR nurse that, "you're going to cut me open, put in a kidney, sew me up and ship me out." Leave it to Stacy to simplify the details. I always fear that at the last moment Stacy will say, "Nope, I'm not doing this and want to got home!" She seems to know that even though she's scared she needs to follow through. (I'll write more about everything on my other blog.) But, we've had lots of complications and the kidney hasn't woken up yet so she's still on dialysis. I had never heard of the term "sleepy kidney" which is actually (ATN) Acute Tubular Necrosis but it isn't rare and can last from 2 weeks to 3 months!!! Talk about needing patience. There is always a chance that the kidney won't wake up, but as of last Tuesday the ultra sound showed enough improvement for the doctor to tell me that it's just a matter of time before it wakes up. We're counting on it!

Every day has been fraught with stress as we deal with side effects from the powerful anti-rejection drugs, numerous small seizures, need for transfusions, coma-like sleep, dialysis and other fun things.

Side Note: Stacy went onto the national kidney list on Sept. 15, two weeks later we received a newsletter with the staggering numbers that as of September there were 77,055 patients listed for a kidney transplant. On Oct. 28th Stacy received a donor gift just 4 days before her birthday and one month shy of 8 years of being on dialysis. Yes, it's surreal and won't sink in until she's off of dialysis!

Isn't this ATC amazing? Jan L. from TextileChallenges sent it to me; I had joined a swap. It was waiting for me when we returned from LLMUC, I always forget the university part of the name! It's a teaching hospital so I felt like we were in the middle of a Grey's Anatomy or ER episode!

My piece is: light grey and purple needle punched together and cut to resemble a city skyline. Further needle punching to join the skyline with the black felt background. The yellow moon and wispy clouds are roving. I also did some machine stitching.

Quote: "The age of miracles is forever here. "-- Thomas Carlyle

"We are miracles. Each of us is an absolute astonishment. So whether you believe in miracles or not, we still are. We still partake of 'miracledom.'"-- Ruby Doe