So, it's been awhile since I posted and it's been awhile since my last doctor's appointment and lab work. I am still adjusting to the regimen of a transplant person. Last Saturday, the 9th marked the 2 month anniversary of my transplant! There are specific stages of "healing" after a transplant that go something like ---> 1) first week; 2) first month; 3) first three months; 4) first 6 months; and, 5) first year... and you can claim an Anniversary after completion of each stage: at least I do since I think of anniversaries as holidays. So, even though it's only 2 months, to me it is an anniversary. On the 9th Shayna celebrated by beginning the her spring soccer tournament by winning 2 of the three games and tieing the third. Afterwards, Shayna and I go shopping for Mother's Day. I stay home from the games... still not wanting to be in crowds much. Other notes of note are detailed after my Transplant Report.
My last lab day was scheduled for May 12th and it was after a 12 hour fast. So, lo and behold, on May11th I started fasting at 7 pm and then forgot my meds and didn't take them til 9:20 pm. This meds and fasting process is meant to conclude with blood work at 7 am... so I figured that at 7 am I'd still have until 9:20 for my meds level to be where they want it for the lab work (see Post # 354, April 4th) and I called Bernadette at about 8 am and she agreed and said that I should repeat the process again Tuesday nite and have labs Wednesday the 13th... the same day as my clinic appointment.
I fasted again on Tuesday, from 7 to 7 and made sure I took my meds at 8 pm sharp and then went for labs Wednesday morning at 7:30 for labs. Of course, that morning was 2 months since my last "sign in" at S. Austin Med Center, so I had to go thru the whole damn sign-in process again and that took 1/2 an hour... so Peggy took my blood about 8:00 instead of 7:30! "The best plans of men and mice often go awry"*
Post Transplant Clinic # 4:
Later in the afternoon I meet Liz at NAMC for clinic and there too, we have to go thru the whole half hour re-registration, making us late for the appointment at 2:00. Maxine is waiting for us half way down the hall and quickly ushers us in for Part 1 of the clinic, the taking of my weight (167 on their equipment - 162 @ home), temp, and BP (145/75). Then Maxine asks all the normal questions like pain?, nausiousness?, diahrea?, headaches?, pee color?, night sweats?, etc. Then she ushers us into the treatment room and Dr. Lewis comes in in about 2 minutes (unusual) and asks, "How are you doing Jack?" and I answer, "Pretty good." and then he goes thru many of the same questions and we discuss my recent groin pain when running and scrotum pain when they bounce. "Hmmm. Slip into a gown and I'll be right back." I do and he does... and he does a physical exam and concludes that all is well down there and I probably just over did it or lifted something too heavy... oh yeah, "Maybe it was moving the new stove?" I remember.
His report to me is that all is as good as it could be at this point for a person my age and size. "Am I small?" I query... "No; large" which surprises me... I never think of myself as 'large' except in my girth. He continues with the following report in some sort of order that Liz and I recap at Spider House later: "Creatinine 1.0; blood count is Good; Cholesterol okay... low; Bad Cholesterol little high but also good; meds all good ---> no changes this time; I am extending your Dapsone for another 6 weeks; you're doing great! So, I think we'll go for 5 weeks before I see you again; but I want you to have labs every week during that time."
My Report to Lewis includes 1) questions about sleeping more and he thinks it may be that I need more sleep or am pushing it too hard, or even possibly some post-transplant depression... he's not worried about it. 2) My question about getting back out 'on the road again' for a workshop in Alpine on June 15th, and dealing with hand-shaking, etc. He suggests I be careful to not pick my nose while shaking hands with people and head to the rest room afterward and wash up. Take some of my anti-bacterial wipes for doorknobs, etc. We conclude with my reporting a little about TNOYS probably losing a big grant and my putting in a letter of inquiry for a big grant. He asks about what it would fund and I briefly tell him it is a 3-year study for our network agencies that would look at best practices in ensuring fidelity of face-to-face practice to training. I like good docs (and I cannot lie)..., like Lewis, who show interest in their patients' lives outside of their medical needs, call them by name, and take the few extra minutes to have a 'relationship'. Research shows that building a relationship is an important common factor supporting positive outcomes (maybe in medicine too, according to Bill Moyers).
Then Dr. Lewis leaves and Bernadette enters and says, in response to Liz's question, that I no longer have to chart my pee! Yippee!... but she does want me to continue to chart fluid intake, and weight, temp. and BP in the mornings so we have a record in case we need it.
I discuss briefly with her my fluid intake going to Hell since going back to work and she can't understand why I can't just drink 2000 ml. while working. I reply that I get into some project and focus on it for hours without remembering to take a break for lunch or a drink. "Don't you get thirsty?" she wonders and I either think, or say, "Yes, but, I keep working until there is a good stopping place... like when my brain hits a dry spot :) or I get to a point where I need to sit back and think... and then I'll take a drink.... but, that only happens once or twice a day."
So, she says something like, "You just need to take 4 bottles of water to work and set them in front of you on your desk" and I reluctantly nod my head. She is right, of course. I do need to find a way to drink more H2O and get the intake up from about 1350 a day to the required 2000. She also adds that I can watch my pee (without measuring it) and when it gets too dark or cloudy stop for a good long drink. She gives us the new and updated Med sheet for my notebook, including the following new information: 1) Walgreens @ Brodie for the continued meds
All in all, I am quite happy with the clinic today... and Liz and I have a short date at Spider House with iced coffee and small talk.
Other News of Interest:
May 10 ~ Mother's Day: Shayna gave her mom an African violet and we had a nice quiet morning before meeting the relations at Eastside Cafe
May 12 ~ Shayna's Induction to the National Junior Honor Society: On Tuesday evening Shayna was inducted into the NJHS, as was Liz, many years ago. There were tons of parents there and I tried to not get too close to anyone. My Pics were pretty blurry because they were taken from half way up the bleachers that were bouncing with applause... it was fun watching Shayna look proud and happy looking dressed up with a number of her Kick Kats team and at least one of the Awesome Foursome too. Note that in the second pic Shayna and the NJHS Officer right behind her have on the SAME dress! Shayna was okay with it and snickering, and the other girl was definitely NOT okay with it and didn't even shake Shayna's hand. They stayed far apart during the reception afterward. Lizzie and I laughed about the whole thing and a few of Shayna's friends mentioned it to her. The last pic is of Shayna and Jaimie, one of the Awesome Foursome, who figure strongly in a story Shayna won awards for and which the school had published!
May 14 ~ Shayna's Play Performed: Since Shayna's book was published, the school's theater group picked it as one of three to develop into a short play, that Shayna titled "I'm Sorry Jay" and then worked along with the director to select the actors, re-write the story into dialogue, and work with the theater group on all the aspects of the production. Liz went to see the play on May 14th although I had to work on high priority stuff at TNOYS. After the play, Shayna and the Director stayed on stage to answer students' questions about the production. It was very cool! (Pics of the production coming soon).
Back to Today, May 16th: These longer posts take time... I have to find a happy medium... today all is quiet around here... raining a lot with a comfortable 75 degree temperature allowing me to have all the windows up. I am missing lawn work (needs mowing badly) and all the flowers (especially the hibiscus, petunias, kolanches, roses, red yucca, and lantana) are blooming so it looks overgrown out there but quite colorful. The "depressed" state seems to have moved on and work is doing fairly well at keeping me busy and motivated. I am still very happy about being able to eat more like I like to eat and taking meds only twice a day instead of taking binders after every meal.
To my friends still on dialysis: envision getting your transplant so you can once again enjoy life without the phosphorous blues! Namaste my friends on Lifealysis.
* Quote from Robert Burns retrieved online from Robert Burns Country.