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........

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. :-)

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