I may keep saying this, but it’s crazy that science can replace a major vital organ with another portion of a liver with a very high survival rate. We’ll certainly be writing down our thoughts about surgery day, but it’s too emotional and wouldn’t come out right at the moment. In due time.
Today was a little rough ride for Logan. The recipient, me, gets a high dose of steroids during and after surgery. So while I may have ‘roid rage and other effects, at least I feel like a million bucks. The recipient also goes from almost no functioning liver to a functioning liver, so it’s all upswing. The donor gets the short end of the stick. They’re risking their life to have a vital organ willingly ripped from their body, and they get local anesthesia to keep the pain down post surgery. Following surgery, when this anasthesia wears off, there’s a self-medicated morphone drip for the donor and recipient. Unfortunaely for Logan, the side effects of the morphine include vertigo and motion sickness. I can only imagine that Tuesday was a euphoric high with local anastesia, and Wednesday was a kick in the pants of no pain meds and vertigo. They are starting some different pain medication to fix the issue, but it’s a little bump in the road. Even with this setback she was up 4AM Wednesday walking, took a couple naps throughout the day, and hacked up a lung. That last part is huge. When your abs really hurt and aren’t functioning, coughing is one of the last things you want to do, but it’s vitally important to clear the phlegm. Logan told me that crying is even worse than coughing. She’s still doing awesome – it’s expected to have these ups and downs in recovery, and this was the first down day, so she’s still got that pep in her step to get home soon. As I said above, as the recipient, feel pretty good. In addition to the steroids, they gave me 5 units of blood, plasma and platelets from the blood bank since the surgery. I expect to hit similar ups and downs in recovery, but as you can see with Logan’s attitude, they don’t derail the train’s path to feeling better.
The doctors stop by everyday. They are more and more confident that things are going well and are confident that the graft will hold and it’s going to do it’s job. I feel very good, and need to keep my emotions and energy in check. When I first stood up, I wanted to stretch and the nurses thought I was a little crazy. These night-shift nurses told me about their ‘lunge competition’ and asked if I was going to participate. I asked how many: 135! I politely backed out. I had enough sense to know that joining a lunge competition two days after a transplant is one of the worst possible recovery moves.
I got to see my stomach today when they changed the bandages. It’s half bad-ass, and half grostesque. Here’s a very low-res picture for those that don’t want to be grossed out. A better picture is after the break, along with some more scientific-y information.
There it is – 25 staples, 3 purple colored wound drains that fill up bottles with liquid that is being generated in the abdominal cavity, and one yellow bile collection area. The three wound drains collect 100mL of liquid and get drained a few times a day. These were bloody, they’ve turned into a kool-aid looking fluid, and they eventually expect it to run a more clear liquid. They will start removing these before I go home, but will probably leave me with one that a visiting nurse will be monitoring and draining. The bile tube is extremely important. This is how they know things are actually working properly. It’s an output port from the liver bile duct and they can verify the bile is actually flowing. I will be keeping this tube for 6-8 weeks so they can continuously monitor the output and if need be, inject a dye contrast in my hospital visits to watch the action. Think of it like a modern day Dr. William Beaumont and Alexis St. Martin experiment.