Cruisin with the Real"s

Cruisin with the Real"s
Joe and Nancy Grand Cayman 10-07

Loma Linda Medical Center

Loma Linda Medical Center
Where the magic happens........

Friday, December 21, 2007

Our friends Karen and Bob

They wrote this in the comments and I wanted to post it. It made me smile. The thought of the toast from the Dawn Princess on New Years....and the thought of taking my new liver cruising again! LOL...... I think I will think of it like that... I am going to take my new liver here, there and everywhere! Oh, what a life we will have together..... :-)

You got it Nancy! We will send you photos from the Dawn Princess, we promise.Listen carefully on New Year's Eve, and you will hear us toasting you and Joe for a long and happy and healthy life together!!!You take good care so that you will be cruising soon, and cruising with that new liver. Then we will really all celebrate together!! Love,Karen and Bob

Thursday, December 20, 2007

heart institute

Marielena just e-mailed me the appointment news. 1-15-08.

(Thanks Bob and Karen! You guys are great! I want some cruise photo's from you 2 so I can live vicariously)

The Boys Adventure

Here are some photo's from the boys trip. The first one is sailing in St John. Look closely they are on the bow together... 2nd one, in the dining room, 3rd one is the Radiance on the left. She currently sails Alaska, Caribbean, So American, So Pacific. etc... next to her is Liberty of the Seas. The largest cruise ship afloat with her sister Freedom. Sails in the Caribbean. I love the bow lines criss crossing in front of the ships holding them tight to the dock. That was in San Juan. 4th photo is in Key West and the Southern most point in the USA. (double click on the photo to view larger)

what the commitee has to say

They did meet today and did review my case. Apparently everything is good to go except for one LITTLE thing. They were concerned about my heart under the stress of the surgery.

They are still concerned about the low oxygenation of my heart. Called

Ischaemic Heart Disease (IHD), otherwise known as Coronary Artery Disease, is a condition that affects the supply of blood to the heart.

As the heart is the pump that supplies oxygenated blood to the various vital organs, any defect in the heart immediately affects the supply of oxygen to the vital organs like the brain, kidneys, liver etc.

Well, you get the idea. They want me to meet with the cardiac team at the heart institute so they can review my tests and records.

It sounds to me like they are just being cautious which I am grateful for. They don't want anything to go wrong when they open me up for the world to see and tear my guts out.... I guess they would like my heart to keep beating so they have time to play Dr with the rest of my insides. I think that is a good idea. So, check away!

From what Judith said that is all they are asking for so I guess I passed all the other requirements. Social, Psych, Alcohol, Financial, Dental, OB, My hairdresser, the guy at Starbucks said it was okay with him...........Pulmonary, etc. etc. etc.

I have found a couple of local transplant support groups and am looking forward to meeting them soon.

For those of you traveling this weekend, Be Safe, take your time and patience along with you and have a very Merry Christmas!

Oh, I accomplished something today I have been putting off....Shoveling and discinfecting Joey's room.....!!!!!!!!!!!!! You people with teens and above know what I mean!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Need a this!

Michelle sent me this...worth a minute......

Christmas is right around the corner

Unfortunately, I did not escape this cold thing. It has kind of wiped me out, energy wise etc but otherwise all is good here. I made a killer soup over the weekend. We had fires and stayed warm.

I did go down and have my last pre-committee appt with the Pulmunologist and got official clearance from him for surgery. He said that both my heart and lungs had shown great improvement. My pulmonary pressures had to be under 50 for surgery and they were 35. My leaky mitral heart valve was hardly evident any more. All my vessels and arteries are totally clear. My heart is functioning very well.

They told me that things were bad when they were running tests while I was hospitalized a few months ago because of the acute and serious nature of what my liver was doing to my body. Basically, over working the other organs, the pressures were up and they weren't happy.

I am so thankful for my dedication to fitness off and on throughout the years and particularly the recent ones.... I was thinking the other day that it was only about 3-4 years ago that I was in great shape and thinking of competing in Body Building shows and developing tossing around some business ideas in that direction. My Dr's have NOT been happy that I used Phen-fen for a short while or the Ephedra that I took for quite awhile with the supplements for leaning out during weight loss.

Soooooooooo, off to committee we go! I spoke with Judith, my TP coordinator today to see if they were going to meet tomorrow and her answer was *I hope so*. She said they have it planned for every Thursday but she doesn't know if they meet or not until she shows up on Friday.


Joey will be home tomorrow for the rest of the holiday. Our friends, Tom, Kim and their sons, John and Logan will be here Sat night. So, I have a lot to do in the next couple of days. I told everyone we were doing a very low key Christmas but we still need a house ready for company, meals planned, food in the house and the house ready for Santa to arrive.

We will be spending Christmas Day up in Lake Arrowhead with the Fitzgerald's and the Gilliam's. There will be a dozen of us dining together. Hopefully a little snow and a wonderful afternoon of food and friendship without the dishes up at LA Resort, a newly remodeled hotel up in the local mountains. Here is a link for you locals. Looks like they have done a beautiful job remodeling and if the Chef is as good as the menu's sound the food should be great. I will give you my review after we try it. It looks as though they have some good local specials for a weekend or mid week get away and a nice spa also.

(Odd things that didn't use to happen. My Dr asked me what I had planned for the holidays and I told him about Arrowhead thinking he would be happy I wasn't cooking and his response was. You might feel uncomfortable with elevations at the Lake and to pay attention to my body and come down from the mountain right away if I felt faint or had a tight chest, trouble breathing, etc.)

Anyway, on to the few days we all have left before the big day. Try and relax some, smell the Christmas Trees and have a cup of hot chocolate.

Good night, sleep tight...................................................................................

interesting and inspiring story

Hi all. Sorry to be remiss about posting. I could say I was soooooooooooo, busy with Christmas preparation....but that wouldn't be exactly true... I will write more here later tonight. Right now I need to go to target and get dinner started but I wanted to share and interesting story that I am sure will touch you and you will probably feel compelled to share it with someone you know. Here is the link.

Talk to you later tonight! Stay warm.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

meeting with the surgeon..................

Yesterday, Joe and I were on the road to the hospital by 7am and got home about 6pm. Long day of appt's and we had some company last night. They went well but I am catching a cold and the day made me tired. Anyway, over all it was a good and interesting day.

We had an appt with Dr Franco, one of 4 surgeons that make up the liver transplant surgery team at Loma Linda. We barely caught him as he was being called to another transplant. 3rd one in 2 days. Joe and I had already had a discussion wondering, since it is such a long and complicated surgery, how much of it the surgeon actually does. Do they switch off mid stream. Does he make the initial incisions and remove the patients original liver along with attaching the new one (makes me think of installing as a good word... :-)

I know that sometimes when the liver arrives and the Dr's assess it, if something isn't right the surgery is off. We asked how often this happens and he said not often as they actually go evaluate the organ of the donor first and do the harvesting themselves. When UNOS calls and makes an offer of a liver to our Dr's. If it matches one of their patients the surgeons actually fly out to harvest the donor's organ and bring it back to Loma Linda and the surgery proceeds from there. 2 of the 4 Dr's are usually involved, sometimes 3. Who actually would be performing my surgery could be any of the 4 depending on who is on duty when *MY* organ offer becomes available. With a 8-12 hour surgery that makes for a very long day...He said sometimes 36 hours. Plus he sees new patients and after surgery follows all his patients post surgery. Who ever performs my surgery will by my *new* Dr post surgery before being returned to Dr Mendler. An entire NEW team will take care of me post surgery.

Other things come into play that I hadn't heard of or considered regarding matching the organ to the patient. I knew about the blood type and size of the organ. The size of the liver can't be to big or to small for the person receiving it which makes sense. The other things they consider are the age and general health of the patient. He said for someone like myself who is fairly young, in fairly good health, (at this point the rest of the things that will eventually start to happen to me, I won't list them but they are nasty and I would rather avoid them if I can) and has a smallish body, they will look for a smaller, younger liver in good health that can sustain me many years. Well, I like that!!!!

In other patients that may be very ill and in the very end stages of liver failure they might use an organ that isn't so *perfect* as they need to get one in fast or the patient will surely die.

He said he thinks I am a good candidate for the transplant. We like him, he answered all the questions we had at the time before he ran out to catch his helicopter...

Oh, we asked how far the organs come from to Loma Linda. He said mainly the Los Angeles Basin and that Loma Linda, Cedar Sinai and UCLA get their offers first then the organs are offered to more outlying area's.

Then onto the anesthesiologist. We didn't really meet with *the man/woman* just the dept as they were gathering data from Cardiology and Pulmonary to get clearance for me to go under.

I passed. Barely. My heart is getting better apparently. My lung function is still a bit compromised.

We made a stop at the transplant unit. I do that every time I am down there since staying there. I stop by to see how my ex-room mate is doing. She is still waiting for a liver and has been in the hospital quite awhile.

I lost my voice yesterday. Got up this morning and took some cough med that my nurse said was okay...well, it immediately wiped me out and I went back to bed and slept until 2.

Joe goes back to work tomorrow and we just found out that our friends Kim, Tom and family will be coming down Christmas. :-)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

meeting with the Surgeon - NOT TODAY

Joe and I went down to meet with the surgeon today, arrived early and waited about 1.5 hours as he was running late. I am not complaining because out of all the appt's that I have had and LLMC I haven't waited much at all. They all run a pretty tight ship regarding the appt's and I have been impressed. But then, well his asst came out and said "Mrs Real, we need to reschedule your appt. The Dr needs to go do a transplant". So, what do you say, but OK, good luck and when should I come back.

So, we had lunch and are home...We are going to try and fit him in tomorrow between 2 other Dr's.

Thursdays Transplant Committee is cancelled so no list this week. I think now that the holidays are in full swing things will slow down as the various Dr's and necessary decision people take time off.

I feel good so all is well.

Welcome to Kelly and Doug on the blog...That was a very nice introduction. Sounds like you are enjoying the snow and the holidays. It is so nice that all your family is so close by!

Hugs, Have a cup of Christmas Cocoa for me!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

It's the little things

Something that stands out to me about the time Joe was gone and I was alone.

Of course I missed all the regular things one misses when your partner, lover, spouse is not there. Meal times, sleeping together, listing to them breathe at night...(read snore, LOL) The smell of coffee freshly made in the morning as you wake up. Those are the kinds of things you expect to miss.

But it is the little things that surprise you.


Everyday when I got in the shower I was reminded Joe was not there because the shower head didn't need to be adjusted.

He likes one type of spray and I like another so normally when each of us showers we have to switch it to our preference.

It never needed adjusting. I was reminded every time I took a shower.................he wasn't there. And I missed him.

Christmas Tree Hunting...

Well here we are, new to the blogging world. Now all my random thoughts will appear before your very eyes!

For those that don't know me, I am Nancy's brothers girlfriend.... I could add a few more titles, but that should do for now, a flow chart will follow.... Oh, and my name is Kelly.

So to catch up those of you reading this that don't know where on the planet we hail from, it's ... Montana. Yes, The Big Sky Country... and getting bigger with all the trees making way for construction. We are in the NW corner, 20 miles from Glacier National Park.

Doug is doing well, working lots on a big house as the foreman, (lots of duties... hence the thinking part). It hasn't snowed much (a couple inches so far until today...) and the weather has been very warm for now, then reeeeeeeeealllllllllllllllllyyyyyyy cold. Blood is still thin from summer! Doug will be digging himself into his job site tomorrow, as it's been dumping snow all day! We have another term for the large amount falling out of the sky, but I will save it for a later time when you know me better.... I'm sure the hot tub will be a welcome sight tomorrow night!

I have been working on my photography business now that I have a few moments to sit still and working on the house. Mainly painting, floors.... It's very therapeutic to paint your floors, almost as good as mowing tall grass down. I painted the gym area mango. It's very inviting, hopefully it works to entice me toward the equipment.

So last night, we threw a big bash with all our friends and my family. The house was packed, everyone brought some wonderful delicacy from their kitchens and we played until the wee hours of the night/morning. We had a blast!

I woke this morning with the warm fuzzies about the friends we have and my children (both attended with their girlfriend/boyfriend), as well as my mom. OK, I was a bit fuzzy from the wine I had last night, but I had a quest, and that quest was to get a Christmas tree today.

To truly appreciate the quest, one must revisit the last 23 years of Christmas Tree Hunting. Collectively, a ever growing group of us (random friends), meet in the morning, drives miles into the woods on some icy forest service road, find a patch of trees, (they are all different you know...) stop the car, and get out and walk in knee deep snow with our dogs and find that proverbial "perfect" Christmas tree. The last part is the "hunting" part.

Yesterday, Doug, mom, and a couple other folks and I attempted this quest. We however couldn't find "the" tree, therefore our, (Doug and I), hunt was deemed unsuccessful. Hence today's quest.

Onward, to my daughters house, 20 miles from ours, in one of the most beautiful parts of our valley, trees, tress, and more trees. They are everywhere! I want one; more specifically a blue spruce, the angry tree, leaves your hands bloodied by the time you've put your lights on it. You just want to throw the ornaments in it's direction, so it's needles can do you no more harm.

We arrive, it's snowing lightly. I get out of the car, let the dogs out, and go into the house for some coffee. I am inside for about 5 minutes. When I leave, I don't see the dogs anywhere. Fellan is the big black lab/wolf cross who will be 13 in March. Peanut is the chocolate and she is 2. Gone, totally, gone, not a track to be found. We looked for 3 hours.... I am FREAKING out now. Old dog, post holed in the snow, is all I can think of and Peanut or "Butter dog" isn't much for finding her way back, she assumes we will pick her up in the car somewhere, I think... Lost, in the woods. I think. Well they eventually made their way back the the house, jogging from what I am told. As Doug and I were combing the roads in the car when Heather's boyfriend called to tell us that the delinquents had returned. First off, their grounded. Although they did get one cookie out of me this evening, second, their both a bit stiff from their adventures, and my personal favorite, they have the best gas any two dogs could collectively make all the way home in the car. Brutal! Did I tell you their grounded. The lesson here is when a dog smells some "good stuff", it doesn't matter how old they are, how far they have to go to get it, or how long they are out in the cold snowy forest, they are puppies again. Fellan probably plugged his ears while chewing on the bones of something "wonderful", while I lost my voice yelling for him. Peanut was probably instructed to stand guard and not run back to the house.

Well to sum it up, in our efforts to find the dogs, we did find a lovely tree, said our prayers, and cut 'er down, strapped it to the car like any proud hunter would, and will enjoy the spoils of the hunt tomorrow, when the lights go on....

So today is almost over for me, getting tired now, tomorrow is a new day, and I hope to enjoy it every bit as I did all the others.

On a serious note, I have enjoyed reading the blog, honored to be asked to join it. I read the letter Nancy posted about the feelings of someone with a disease. I too "got it", as I am a cancer survivor. Well written, hard to explain and harder to contemplate if you haven't been there. It changed my life, and I feel it made me a better person for it. You don't take all the little stuff as seriously, as it doesn't deserve the energy. Enjoy yourself, your family and your friends every moment you breathe, you never know when that bus is lurking around the corner.

Thank you Nancy for inviting us to blog with you. After this blog gets posted, I will wait by the phone in case you need to call and cancel my subscription to the blog, leave a message if I don't answer, I'll be out shovelling snow... I promise I won't cry.

PS. Do they have help groups for long winded writers?...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas thoughts...

I have an idea!

I would love it if you would send me a note telling me what you all are out there doing this weekend preparing for the Holidays! Or maybe what you have planned for Christmas/New Years. Anything you are doing that is making you crazy, you are looking forward to or the biggest Christmas tree you have seen this year!

I saw a very big, 3-4 story high live one at Victoria Gardens that is just beautiful.

Merry Christmas.....

A rainy cold Sat.

As I sit here on a cold, cloudy, cold rainy afternoon....I have a fire burning, my dogs snoring beside me and my kitty cat on my lap between me and the keyboard..making it difficult to type, I am watching some old favorite movies on TV, (as good as it gets, gone in 60 seconds, raising Arizona).....I am relaxing thinking about the salmon I am going to make for dinner and waiting for my family to return. The boys are on dry land now and spending the night in Florida before coming home tomorrow. Finally. It feels as though they have been gone a really, really loooooong time.

I think I am more upset with my Dr's and their making me stay here now than when they made that call.

I really had no choice...if I wanted to get accepted to *the list* (we need a name for that)......... I hate not having choices and it is my usual M O to look for anyway around not having a choice until I find one I like. I am actually very good at that. There is no black and white in my mind just many shades of grey with different ways of looking at them, hence different can lead to another making life interesting. I never really understand when people say well, it is this way or that and they don't even LOOK or SEE the options that are right in front of them.....

Back to the Transplant, they DO see everything in black and white. Which makes it very hard for someone like me to play on the same team with them. They like people to just follow whatever directions they tell them. Never questioning, well what about this or that????

I know that staying here make it easier for them to get the tests done and see the Dr's I needed to be seeing which leads to seeing the Surgeon this week and hopefully get on the list by Friday.

BUT, in my heart I know that it would have been better for my overall being to have been on that ship with friends, family, relaxing, laughing, having fun, having new experiences together and creating life long memories for us than for me to have been on the list by Friday.

I would have been fine with not being on the list for another week or too and my soul and spirit would have been much calmer, happier and ready for all that is to come. (I also believe this helps your physical body as well)

I will let it go now as there is no undoing it but that is how I feel about it. It was a very big deal to me.

Friday, December 7, 2007

This is from a yahoo liver transplant group that I belong to...

The author gave permission for me to reprint it here. I think it sums up what anyone with a disease that has a similar prognosis feels but especially those of us with cirrhosis facing transplant can feel. I know I related entirely even though I sound *cheery* here.

When someone is diagnosed with cirrhosis, they may not even know what it is. They may not have any symptoms at first, either. They feel well and don't see why the doctor is so concerned. Many are diagnosed because the doctor was trying to have tests done for another problem and it happened to show up during that time. The patient needs to be informed of the seriousness of this diagnosis. How it is going to effect him/her in the future and what treatment is appropriate for them and what they can do to help reverse this disease, if possible.The problem is, that many people are not completely informed of all this and they leave the doctors office with more questions than when they first entered.The patient now is on a journey that he will travel mostly alone.Though, other may be around them, no one feels the horror or the pain and anguish but the patient themselves. And, to top it all off, the emotions that go along with finding out that you may die cannot be described completely in words. The unknowns ahead and the loss of privacy, self worth, and being able to handle everything yourself has just disappeared. You are now a specimen in a dish and whenever someone wants to stuff you will chemicals or poke at you with instruments...they have to have the right under the pretense that they are trying to help you. You ask yourself when you stop being human and start to be added to statistics. Suddenly, you find yourself studying up on a disease which you normally had no interest in all in. You search for ways to prevent further damage and look for miracles. You try to deny that anything is wrong, cause you don't want your life as you once knew it to change. You may become mad in the process of it all and ask why it was you when so many others have done things worse and never had to suffer. Or you are a victim of it all, where you have lead a very clean and healthy existence and then receive a blow like this.So caregivers, do you know what your patient is facing, Really?(1) If someone said to you that you were going to die tomorrow and it was definite...what would go through your mind?I won't have a chance to see my children grow up. People here rely on me to take care of them and now I am being forced to leave them and I worry about it. I never got to do the things in my life I always wanted to do. I never got a chance to really take the time to be with those I love the most and say the things I needed to say. I will never finish the things I once started and they will never get done.(2) Would you have regrets? The things in this life doesn't seem as important to me as they once did...after all, we have all heard the saying you cannot take it with you. I spent too much of my time worrying about little things and things we could have than I did with spending time with those I love and now it is too late. How can I undo all the wrongs I have done?(3) Would you feel like a burden? I no longer can handle the things I once did and now others have to do everything for me. Won't they get resentful that I am taking up most of their time and they would have a better life if I wasn't here.The patient can feel very much alone. They can start to see life much more clearly than the person who is well, as they see what really is important. They know that others are doing for them and that they have not only loss their independence but are now treated like they have no say in anything at all. They can become extremely depressed and tired.However, everyday they face the pain, face the changes of their someone is playing a bad joke on them, face the anguish of seeing the pity in others eyes, face the torture that the disease is not getting any better as time goes on.Though, this post can depress not only those who are caregivers, but also the patient themselves....Both the patient and the caregivers need to know what is in the minds and hearts of those who go through this.This way they come to be more understanding, compassionate, and more caring. This however is a Journey...and a true learning experience.Someday, those who are caregivers now may become the patient.We all have a time to share and help others, and others have the time to share and help us. Through open communication, the journey is not taken alone, but with those who love us the most.

Sorry that it all runs together but I just cut and pasted from the original author and didn't want to change anything....

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

this is HUGE!!!!!

Okay gang, I received a call from Marielena, my *personal assistant* at the center... the one who keeps me busy with appt's. and we are almost there!

I have one more CT scan with contrast and a reg Dr appt. BUT,,,,,I also have my appt's set up with the SURGEON AND ANESTHESIOLOGIST next week! Those are the 2 big ones. They only do those after everything else is done, all the boxes are checked off, the I's are dotted, T's crossed.....etc. etc..... THEN they all take my case to committee which meets on THURSDAY the 13th! They will decide right then and there if I they put me on the list or not.

Sooooooooooooooooooo, I should know by the end of next week! PHEW! After that things will slow down at regarding all the appointments and I can focus on getting some exercise, and getting things in order here at home to run without me for awhile. AND I can spend a bit of time enjoying life, (not that I don't now)

I would love to know before Christmas.

Well, I have lots of things to catch up with here at home today. I just was so happy and wanted to let you all know!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Finally in English

I have solved the problem of my 'blog access' being in Espanol and have officially become a Blogger (1 'g' or 2?). Of course, we will see when I actually post this.

As Nancy reported earlier, the week I spent in Apple Valley with her was very rewarding. I found, however, she is not waning in energy but is go-go-go. She knows she must slow down now and not push as is her normal pattern. With all the sessions... advisors/doctors/etc...her knowledge of this whole 'transplant' process is mounting hourly. Mine, too.

Nancy is being sooo strong and brave. I only pray that when THE time comes to assist her and give her the care she deserves, I will be strong too. The nurses/doctors we met while she was in for the transfusion and angiogram (in the Transplant Area) are soooo nice and put Nancy's mind at ease a bit about the HUGE experience coming down the pike.


If you THINK you are a CA organ donor because of the pink sticker thing....well, you might not be.

Donate Life California is a nonprofit Organ and Tissue Donor Registry dedicated to saving the lives of thousands of Californians awaiting life-saving transplants.
Officially formed in 2004 after being authorized by the state, California's four federally designated non profit organ procurement organizations (facilitating the donation process across California), are committed to giving every person waiting for a transplant — a second chance at life.
Right now nearly 20,000 Californians wait for an organ transplant. That's 21 percent of the 94,000 people waiting across our country. Tragically, one third of them will die - waiting.
Until now, no Registry has existed for those of you who wished to give consent to be an organ and/or tissue donor. Historically, while signing a donor card and placing the pink dot on your license served as an important symbol of your intent, it did not place you on any list or Registry.
Now, Donate Life California allows you to express your commitment to becoming an organ, eye and tissue donor. The Registry guarantees your plans will be carried out when you die.Since July 1st of 2006, individuals who renew or apply for a driver’s license or ID with the DMV, now have the opportunity to also register their decision to be a donor in the Donate Life California Registry, and the pink "DONOR" dot symbol is pre-printed on the applicant’s driver license or ID card.
You have the power to donate life — sign up today to become an organ and tissue donor. Your generosity can save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance another 50 through tissue donation.

I just went and registered for organ donation and it was quick and easy. If you decide to do the same please add my e-mail to the list of notification. It would make my day. One day your 2 minute online registration could save many, many lives of people who are waiting like myself.

I am also checking on the blood donations in my name as I have had many requests for that.

Currently you can only donate in my name in San Bernardino County. You do that by checking the REPLENISH box in the bottom with my name and Loma Linda Hospital on it.

I may be moving my surgery to Cedar Sinai in Los Angeles after I get put on THE LIST with UNOS officially. My transplant may take place there and that will be where I need the most blood, platelets, and plasma. I will let you know when that happens.

It is STILL always great to donate blood where ever you live.... You can find out your locations easily on the web.

Mary can't blog from Mexico

She can read the blog but when she tries to write in it ...Well Blogger thinks she speaks spanish and switches everything to Spanish... HeHe.... So, she can only blog from the good ol, USA.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Mary, Mary....where are you?

While Mary was here we got her all fixed up so that she can post as well.

Soooooo, come out and play, Mar!

my hospital stay Friday - Sat.

I was thinking something on Friday morning at 5:30am in the shower...(way to early for me!) Before when people said they were going for some kind of medical test, something with a name I had heard of over and over and an endoscopy, or a CT scan, an MRI, a heart cath or angiogram. You know how it is...we hear the terms on TV, on the News, from friends and family, at the water-cooler...ya know???? For myself, I would hear the term and think I had an idea what it was and it was sort of in one ear and out the other, (unless it was someone close to me then I asked a few more questions, of course) BUT, we kind of take them for granted that they are standard, regular, test that happen all the time. And they ARE. Your Dr's and nurses think so, your friends and family think so and so do you.......Except when they are going to do one on YOU !!!!!


So, one thing I have learned is that when people tell me they are going to the Dr for this or that...I am not going to pretend I have any idea what they mean....and ask them, What is that, how do you feel? Because a quick, I hope it goes well may not be what they need. They very well may be scared!.......

Maybe all this that I am going through is to teach me some things like this........................

Just a thought..............................................

Okay, now onto my sleep over.

Mary and I arrive at the hospital to check in and head to unit 4100 per instructions. We have no idea what unit 4100 does and like most of the units...they don't have a name by the number so you still don't know....I knew it was across the hall from the cardiac unit I went to last Monday so I assumed it was a overnight cardiac unit so they could give me blood and monitor me before sending me home. Hopefully that night but possibly the next morning. I feel great. A little nervous but happier that they were going to give me blood *products* (new term for me) so I wasn't worried about having my femoral artery punctured any longer and I trust the procedure and Dr's....very good success rate and I was hoping they would find my heart and lungs in good enough shape for surgery. If they did look at my heart and see what they thought could be the problem, well, that would be very bad as it is irreversible and would keep me off the list permanently.

I get shown to my bed, given my gown for the stay, new slipper socks, they get me in bed and do vitals, they ask all the same questions they ask every damn time you meet someone new. I think it is a test to see if you are still giving them the same answers. Hook me up to all vital machines. The vampires come in to draw blood and put a catheter in. etc. etc.

Then something odd happens. A Dr pops in to say hi and see how I am am doing. We recognize each other. We met a couple of times during my stay the 1st of Sept. (unit 6200). :-)
His lab coat says something about being on the transplant team. Hmmmmmmmmmm, Did he just come in to check on me? I haven't seen him down at the transplant offices.....hmmmmmm.

Well, I asked the nice nurse, Sara, what unit this is...she tells me it is the transplant until and looks at me funny like I should know...... (I am NEW here.....remember?) That hit me as, hm, this is where I will be for a few weeks post transplant. These are the Dr's and nurses who will be taking care of me after I get out of ICU. It was sort of a weird revelation. As I stayed there it almost felt like home and I felt safe and understood as THESE Dr's and nurses only take care of transplant patients and know so much about the symptoms, how the bodies are acting and reacting. The drugs we are on and why...why we look and act the way we do. My room mate was there for a liver transplant. She was pre-transplant and going through dialysis waiting for a liver as her kidneys had failed and she was in pretty bad shape.

I was very impressed with the unit and the people that work there.......a preview of sorts.
I guess anytime I need to go into the hospital from now on, no matter what the reason that is where I will go.

I will speed things up.
I ended up getting 1 unit of platelets and 3 units of plasma but the timing had to be perfectly timed with when they would be ready for me in the cardiac unit. So I waited until late afternoon to get the blood *products* I just pretended they were my girlfriend Michelle's as she gave platelets in my name at the blood bank the day before.....


They wheeled me down the hall into a large room like on ER with *HAVE A HOLLY, JOLLY CHRISTMAS* playing....and Frosty, Rudolph and so forth to follow. How very festive. LOL

Scrub me, drape me, tie me down.....having fun so far...Then they tell me I am going to get some happy juice! Oh boy, sounds like a party to me...Then when I asked WHEN do I get my happy juice, as you are awake during this thing, they tell me, OH, we are so sorry, no happy juice for YOU...Your liver doesn't want any today. Shit, ok, it's white knuckles for me.

The surgeons and techs were all very nice, explained everything and went about their business.

If you want to know what they angiogram or heart cath...same thing...they did a left and a right heart cath on me. They numb up your groin area where they go in. They put in 2 catheters into my femoral artery and proceed to take this small tube with a hook at the end...(flexible, about 5 feet long) and thread it up your artery and into your heart for a look see.

It really was painless but if feels like a plumber doing rotor rooter on you. You know those snake things? They thread this thing up into your heart, shoot contrast through it and take pictures on the 4 TV monitors that you can is amazing actually, watching your own heart beat and when they shoot the dye in it illuminates all through your very own vessels... I guess the most uncomfortable thing was that I could feel it in my heart. The catheter. I could feel it. A bit uncomfortable and they didn't tell me that so I wasn't ready for it.

Then, POOF, they took it out and it was over! They plugged the artery with a self absorbing plug that seals it and told me not to move for 2 hours. They also said...

YOUR HEART LOOKS REALLY, REALLY GOOD!!! The pressures are good, etc. I asked..good enough to get me through the surgery? and the answer was a preliminary YES!!!!!!!!!!

We were sooooooooooooooooooooooo, happy.....finally some good news. I was starting to think that I hadn't gotten any *good* news since I entered the hospital 3 months ago. Which was true.

I got a good nights sleep and went home Sat afternoon. Rested most of the weekend..and was up and running this morning.

BTW, Mary stayed with me all week bless her heart and left Sunday morning to go home for a bit and get ready for Christmas.

Wow, that was a long story for a one night stay............................. I may miss a few days here and again but I make up for it...

Goodnight all !!! We are closer to the committee review/decision.