Sunday, May 5, 2013

Almost Three Months

Well how time flies when you're having fun (ahem)!

The last time that I updated over here was when I hit the 18 month mark on the waiting list. I must admit that I was getting really worried that the call would never come.

Luckily for me, that call came just a few days later.

In the early evening of that night, I decided to have a nice hot shower, and dye my hair (goodbye grey) and shave my legs. I went to bed at about 9.30 and watched telly for a while, which was my normal routine. At about 3AM, I woke up and I was thirsty, so I had a few mouthfuls of cordial and then layed back down in bed. About 1 minute later the phone rang, and I knew straight away who it was.

I had to be at the Alfred by 5AM, so I quickly did my nebs, closed down all of my online shops, emailed my stockists, had a shower in disinfectant, and got changed. By that time, my sister had arrived and it was time to get in the car and go.

Day 0 - X-Ray 4.59AM

We arrived at the Alfred just before 5AM. They were expecting me at Emergency, so I was taken straight in to X-Ray. The X-Ray only took about 5 minutes, and by that time, the Tx Co-ordinator had arrived to take me upstairs to the treatment room.

Day 0 - Bloods 5.35AM

This was the third time that I'd been called in and ended up in the treatnent room. I still wasn't sure if this time was going to be the one, but I really wasn't nervous at all.  They start doing all of the preparations at this stage - lots of filling out of paperwork for admission, bloods, changing into a lovely hospital gown, and then the pre-transplant meds. I kept myself amused in between with lots of text messages flying back and forth with friends and family.

Day 0 - 5.58AM

Day 0 - Theatre Doors 7.50AM

Theatre was booked for 8AM, and we headed downstairs. I had to say goodbye to Rach at the theatre door and was taken into the pre-admission area. The anaesthetist and the surgeon both came and introduced themselves and had a chat about what to expect from the procedure. I still wasn't really nervous at this stage.

I warned the anaesthestist about the problems that I'd had with the epidural first time around, so he went and checked my previous records. He decided that he would only have one attempt this time, and if that didn't work, then I would just have to go with the pain relief drugs instead.

About half an hour later I was wheeled into the operating theatre.  The Social Worker arrived and held my hand as they attempted the epidural. As expected, it didn't work. So, that plan was scrapped, and I layed down as the staff started work on me. Not long after, I was asleep.

Day 0 - 8.10PM Writing Messages

The donor lungs were in excellent condition, but there were a few complications during the surgery. My heart was quite enlarged (from working so hard over all these years), and was taking up too much room where the left lung was supposed to fit, so the left lung had to be cut down (lower lobe taken off and upper lobe only implanted). My original lungs were very hard to remove as they were adhered to the chest wall, and there was a lot of bleeding. I ended up having to go on bypass for three hours, and had massive blood tranfusions. There was also some damage to my left diaphragm. 

Day 1 - 11.50 AM All Hooked Up in ICU

I really don't remember much about Day 1. I woke up with the breathing tube down my throat, so I couldn't talk at all.

 Day 1 - 2.08PM Trying to communicate

I was trying to write messages to my family who were there in ICU. Not sure whether any of it actually made any sense!

There were a lot of drugs, and lots of dozing, sleeping, waking, panicking. It's impossible to tell what time or day it is in ICU.

Thank god for the amazing staff who work there. They were absolutely brilliant.

That's part one of the story. More on the recovery to come.

1 comment:

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

thank you for writing this :) its really fascinating to read about and see how things work with a transplant like this