Got My Green Card! (Nov. 27, 2008)

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 at 3:03 am


It appears that enough has gone on that I am posting before the week is out! And we’ve already hit the three week anniversary mark! I tend to think of my donor/donor’s family most on that day as any… and at nighttimes when all is quiet and I can just feel my new lungs working without the distractions of the day. They feel spongy and elastic in my ribcage compared to the hard shriveled clogged up bricks that I used as lungs before…

 Well, the transition to home is going mostly  well.  I feel the compunction to eat almost constantly, which fills Tom (the primary cook here) with much delight, as in my previous existence I’ve been just lukewarm on most food.  Maybe my donor was a “foodie”… but I suspect it is the prednisone and my body healing that is driving such an appetite!  Well, there’s only so much a gal can eat while having been taking painkillers for three weeks before…(insert scary music) a traffic jam in my guts! After an evil witches brew to right the wrongs, I am determined to stay off the tummy blocking percocets, and am putting up with some incision pain now as a result.  In other retentive news: ANKLES!  Once upon a time I had ankles!  I still have excess fluid roaming around my body from the surgery, and since I’m now no longer bed-ridden the damn fluid is all collecting in my feet and ankles from gravity. 

On the bright side, I’ve experienced my first SHOWER with new lungs: no more gagging when the humidity changed, just like the old days.  I also experienced my first WALK around the block post-transplant: this astounded me. It was a sunny but cold day and my one complaint was “my nose got cold”…. Uh, let’s see, the last time you walked that block (pre transplant) you were on 4 litres of oxygen, coughed up a small dog, and had to stop umpteen times to rest and catch wind.  To be able to just WALK the block was amazing!!! (Plus the exercise helps to make ankles reappear: I should be so vain, ha!) 

 Monday was my first clinic visit post-transplant: the Docs were so lovely to see and seemed proud of the progress I’d made strength-wise over the weekend: just walking around the house and being in change again has enlivened me. Dr Chaparro was all hugs and smiles. The x-ray, they said, looks good, and friends, I’m going to request a digital copy of it and try and post a pre and post transplant version of Alex’ lungs here soon enough. I think you’ll find the change quite astonishing!

 One complaint I have about the program (and one of the very few I have) is that when you get sick outside office hours (for instance, the curious swelling in my ankles seemed alarming to me) you have to use Telehealth, which may as well be called 1-800-Go to the ER.  I luckily found a ward nurse from TGH who calmed my nerves and thought the issue of swelling was just gravity related and could wait until the next day at clinic. With this suppressed immune system, the thought of the ER was petrifying to me!

 And this week I made my triumphant return to the Treadmill Room Gym at TGH!  I walked in to see Linda (who signed up the same week as me) and she asked, “are you pre or post?!” How lucky was I to say post! I was excited to see that my oxygen saturations on exertion were about 95-96 : wow, that’s almost NORMAL YEO!  Anyhow, it was great to reconnect with some folks in the gym, and to hear the boss telling me: “Alex, now when you get winded it’s just because your body is out of shape!”  Some of the stretches were hard on my incisions, but the rest was manageable, if slowly, and shakily! Those two pound bicep curls felt ten pounds at least! I attach a photo of me holding my GREEN CARD! (After transplant you graduate from a yellow to a GREEN score card in the gym, so this was exciting to have them hand me the green one reading “DLTX Nov 4”! )

 As I was there, taking it all in, remembering that my chums are still there waiting and labouring I felt emotional. I was cheery about my progress but couldn’t help but think of Kyle who was a very well loved adult CF patient who got very sick and passed away this month after a very valiant fight. IF ONLY HIS PAGER HAD GONE OFF IN TIME. I just wanted to remind everyone that ORGAN DONATION WORKS. I know I’m singing to the choir on this one, but if you agree with the gift of life, and “recycling”, sign onto the registry and tell your family about your wishes.  Ask yourself this question, if you were sick and needed the gift of life, WOULD YOU ACCEPT IT?!  My thoughts and prayers go out to Kyle’s family and friends, as well as to everyone on the list who’s waiting. I feel so blessed myself. That first day coming home was like Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter all rolled into one… I wish for this miracle to happen to everyone I’ve met at TGH. 

…as I left the building last night I ran into one of the lung surgeons on the elevator who told me “we might be doing another transplant tonight…” ORGAN DONATION WORKS FOLKS! Sign up!

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