Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Back on Track?

I was looking over my blog yesterday and realized that this is becoming less about my experience with transplant and more about my walk with God. I'm not upset about that. Maybe that is what is on my heart right now and what really needs to be talked about. It doesn't seem that many people with serious health issues are visiting much, anyway. And if they are, they are remaining awfully quiet......

Anyway, I was thinking about telling the story of the day I got the call that they had a donor for me. It was June 26, a little over three months after I had been placed on the list to receive a liver. One of my friends was getting married that evening in Kentucky, so I drove up (without Rick) to spend the day with my mom and go to the wedding that night. I dropped my bag off at the campground where I was meeting my mom, hopped in the car, and we headed off to Paducah, KY to do a little shopping before the wedding. We stopped to eat, and when we got back in the car, my dad called. He said that they had a liver for me and that I had to head back to Nashville ASAP. (For those of you who don't know, the whole beeper-carrying thing is a myth. Well, it used to be true, but people waiting for an organ don't really carry around beepers anymore. The beeper company went out of business and everyone's got a cell phone anyway.) Anywho, I got lucky. My cell phone doesn't work in KY, and, thankfully, Rick wasn't with me. So, he got the message and then called my dad and then my dad called my mom's cell phone (yeah, I know, crazy).

So, we immediately turned the car around and headed back to the campground. I grabbed my bag and headed back to Nashville. Luckily, I had a couple of hours before I had to be at the hospital, which was enough time for me to call everyone that I needed to call, say a lot of prayers, and stop by the house to pick up Rick.

When we got to the hospital, I got checked in and they took me up to prep me for surgery. This room also happened to be the surgery recovery room, but it was not very busy considering it was a Saturday afternoon around 5pm. I was very lucky that the nurses were as nice as they were. They let everyone that came to see me in instead of limiting my visitors to 2, which is what they usually do. I was also lucky (blessed) with a surgeon who waited to take me back to the OR until my family got there and were able to see me. So, by this time, I was hooked up to several machines, I had already had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic they were giving me to kill off any bad (and even a lot of good) bacteria that were in my body so that I wouldn't get an infection, and I was surrounded by family and friends that care deeply about me and my husband. There were no tears, not even from me, but this wasn't a large feat considering the meds they gave me to put me to sleep made me very, very loopy and silly.

My surgery lasted only 3 hours. They said it was the fastest transplant that they had ever done at Vanderbilt. Normally, the surgery lasts 8-10 hours. I was only in the SICU for 1 night. Not bad since I was originally supposed to be there for 2-3. And, really, I wasn't in a lot of pain. The worst part was the thirst. I wanted to chew up an entire cup of ice, but I was only allowed the few drops of water than one of those little sponges would hold (not much, let me tell ya).

I was moved into a regular room the next day, and, in case any of you know anyone who is going through this, transplant patients cannot have flowers in their rooms. They may carry some bug that will make us sick. Balloon boquets and candy and stuff is okay, but no flowers. They made me keep all of the flowers that I received outside at the nurses station until I went home. Please, please, please (can I give that any more emphasis?) do not come to the hospital to visit if you are sick...even if you've "just" got the sniffles. At this point, as much as I would have liked to have seen people, I would much rather them call or send a card if there was a risk that they could get me sick. Don't take any young children to visit (also because they carry a lot of diseases), and wash your hands a lot. Wash them when you get into the room, after you leave and come back, after you wipe your nose, or touch your mouth....etc.

Sorry, I really didn't intend for this to turn into a lecture on "how to visit transplant patients." There are some other smaller issues that happened in the next few days, but all minor. I went home three days after my surgery, and today I am almost 100% back to what I was like before transplant.

Because of my wonderful doctors and nurses, friends and family, and all the people out there that I don't know that prayed for me, I like to tell people that this has been the best possible worst experience I could ever have had. :o)

4 Comments:

At 6:32 PM, Blogger DigiGirl said...

Hi Amanda.
Thanks for visiting my blog. Oh my God, I can't believe all you've endured! You never think about Cancer, much less an organ transplant at such a young age. What an amazing story.

What i've learned in my short blog career is to just speak what's in your heart. In your case, regardless if it's transplant related or not. How can such a profound experience NOT show through in your thoughts and writings. Hence, your writings will always reflect your experience.

Best of luck in your blog endeavors. I look forward to reading more.

 
At 9:14 AM, Blogger Tony Arnold said...

Amanda,

I remember that day even though you may have not known I was involved. Anita and I were out when Kris called us on our cell phone and told us the news, where you were, and what was going on. We prayed and then later that day I spent some time with your family in the waiting area at VU. We prayed there too. You've been through so much, but it was a blessed experience for me.

Tony

P.S. Oh yeah, I just remembered. We kept your dog that night too. He (?) was not happy without you. He ended up curled up on the couch with Anita for the night. He was much better after that but still sad.

Paraphrasing from a set of commercials popular before you were born -- "you've come a long way baby!"

 
At 2:00 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

That's right! I had forgotten that you guys kept our dog until my sister could take him home. lol

I got to get him back 2 weeks later. He was SO excited to be home, but he was SO stressed out. I think he slept for 2 days straight.

Oh, and I do know that you guys have spent a lot of time in prayer for us, and we REALLY appreciate it. It means a lot.

Thanks for being there.

 
At 8:53 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

Hi, digigirl!

Thanks for visiting my blog. :o)

 

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