When I left the hospital on Monday, the nurse manager of 6 Central stopped by to see me. I met her a few weeks before the surgery and was so pleased with her demeanor that I just knew she would have a great team of nurses working with her; I was right. The transplant nurses on 6 Central are just that, transplant nurses. It’s their specialty which means they really do know all the ins and outs of what patients undergoing and waiting for transplants deal with while in the hospital. They are kind and funny, they work together as a team to make sure all of their patients are looked after. More than once during my stay I would marvel at their patience and unflappable personalities. They are all heroes to me.
Fran asked me a question as we were saying our goodbyes:
Was it what you expected?
Such an insightful question for a person like me, as I spent the better part of the last few months trying to anticipate every scenario.
- I expected to have to be coaxed from bed on the second day in order to walk around. Perhaps that’s why at 4 in the morning (I think) I asked the nurses if it was time to get up before they could get a word out. They told me later that they didn’t remember having a live donor ever voluntarily request to get up after surgery. I just knew that Derek would be up and at ’em and,<sarcasm>we’re not competitive at all</sarcasm>. Plus, I was told that the more I got up and got moving the better off I would be. Might as well hit the ground running. Or in my case, hit the ground woozily shuffling.
- The pain was pretty intense once the local anesthesia wore off. The day I decided that Morphene wasn’t for me but didn’t tell anyone my super brilliant plan of stopping it cold turkey, was not at all what I would have expected. After that hiccup and then moving to another narcotic pain med and having similar feelings of sickness, by the time I got to my trusty Ibuprofen, the pain of the surgery was actually minimal. The real pain started when the acid and bile reflux kicked in, and my dragon transformation began. I did not expect to feel as though someone had poured lighter fluid down my esophagus and then chased it with a lit match. It broke me.
- I expected to be able to do things while I was in the hospital. Write, talk on the phone, watch movies, television shows, maybe even skim a magazine. I rarely had the energy to even talk. I did discover yesterday that I had a few text conversations with people that I don’t recall and that I took some photos and a video (!) of being wheeled out of the PACU.
- I hoped that we would be the supreme Live Donor Liver Transplant rock stars and that my liver would be Derek’s new best friend, but to be honest, I expected there to be a hiccup. Neither Derek nor I are pessimists, we’ve discussed this, we’re realists. And so now, we adjust the sails towards whatever wind we can find.