Saturday, December 13, 2008

Transplant, abstract painting, and . . .

I'm not sure why the image turned out looking cropped, but I have a feeling it's my lousy photography! The painting is more balanced in real life; the lines on the left aren't as short.
I painted this a few months ago before life became as stressful as it's been since Oct. 28th. Presently, I feel certain that I've lost all of the skills I worked hard to acquire such as working with acrylics and needle-punching. Hopefully, it's just fear.

I have a great fondness for Mandalas but after I painted the circle this painting came to an abrupt stop. Though, looking back it might be because the intense heat of summer also happened at the same time and I could no longer work in the garage. In mid October while walking past the painting on the work table for the umpteenth time I was compelled to work on the piece and a few hours later stopped. I'm pleased with it.

So, since I last posted some time last month Roger had surgery for melanoma which was successful. No sign of cancer spreading, but he picked up a nasty staph infection under his arm where one the drains was and is currently hooked up to a VAC pump 24 hours a day. The battery pack/machine is inside of a cloth bag that he carries over his shoulder. Hopefully, he'll be his old self again soon.

The day before Thanksgiving we ended up rushing to Loma Linda, 1.5 hours away, where Stacy was admitted again to the transplant unit. They gave us the bed next to the window this time in the same room she had in Oct. It took a couple of days to ascertain why she was so ill and by the time the second infection was discovered she was in crises. Her heart rate was so high they feared a stroke and her temp was rising. An emergency trip to the OR to remove the 4 year-old dialysis catheter instantly made a difference. She also had a bladder infection which happens frequently to those with kidney transplants. The third thing that was addressed was low blood levels that required a unit of blood and weekly shots of procrit.

On November 28th, one month exactly after the transplant, the new kidney started working!!! It was also the same day she started dialysis 8 years ago. We have so much to be thankful for and watching her daily improve has been absolutely amazing. She was going downhill rapidly before the transplant and I feared she wasn't going to be with us much longer and then when the new kidney didn't wake up and she became so ill that she wasn't eating I once again panicked. I should have known better though because she's always been my miracle child.

Life after transplant hasn't changed too much yet. We no longer go to dialysis 3 times a week, but Stacy needs to go to Loma Linda weekly for labs and a check-up and Roger is going to the wound center twice a week and mom has been to the ER. Doctors and hospitals have taken over our days! Stacy's diet isn't as restrictive as it was for the 8 years on dialysis, but it's still monitored with lab tests making sure that her potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium levels aren't too high or low. She needed potassium and magnesium IV's during her 9 day "tune-up" at Loma Linda.

The weather has been outstanding here in the desert and today there is a storm brewing that has created the perfect ambiance for winter. It's so much calmer here in the desert and we all sighed when we came over the Banning Pass after 9 days at Loma Linda Hospital. Loma Linda and the surrounding area isn't as hectic as the LA area, but it might as well be. I don't do well in crowds and the traffic wasn't easy to navigate, especially when one is exhausted and stressed. Mom and I stayed in a hotel at night and Roger, bless his heart, slept in a chair at Stacy's side every night. We didn't have anyone to leave mom with this time which added to the stress. But, it's over with and life goes on. Sadly, mom has quickly moved into the 3rd stage of Alzheimer's and only lives in her head now and I wonder when the day will arrive when she no longer knows me. I'm in awe that the kidney transplant happened when it did being that mom wouldn't be able to sit at Stacy's side during dialysis as she once loving did! Life! Who can figure it out?

This is a fun link:


Val Foster said...

Gail, I really like this piece. I think you added just enough to it. Sometimes I think I tend to keep adding when I should stop and let the piece be done. I love the texture on this, and am wondering how you did it. Is it acrylic paint, or something more? Love the mandala too.

Your life has been topsy turvey for a long while now. So much going on, so much stress. I'm so, so glad Stacy finally got her transplant and that she's doing better, and that Roger's problem has been taken care of. Those things should ease your stress quite a bit, and I hope they do. I'm sorry to hear about your mom. That Alzheimer's is such a horrible disease. My dad is doing fairly well now, but I dread what the future could bring.

Hugs and love,

Julie said...

I'm so pleased to hear that Stacy is doing well, she is such a strong girl, you must be so proud of her fighting spirit. I'm delighted too that Roger's operation was a success. You have certainly had your plate full and it sounds as tho you still have a lot to deal with.

I am sorry that your Mum has slipped further into Alzheimers. I hope that you can get some support if you need it. It's a lot to cope with on your own.

Marilyn said...

Woohoo for Stacy!!!!! Glad she finally got her transplant and you can dispense with the dialysis.