Hello! I just woke up from an epic nap and called the PACU to check in on Derek. The nurse said he is doing great, he’s making bile which is an excellent sign, his picc line was removed which is very good news because it was a super messy one they put in last week in the SICU, and his NG tube was removed which means they’re going to slowly move him to clears. He’s been having little sips of water already.
Then his nurse asked if I wanted to talk to him, and I said yes, but told her to make sure it was ok with him first. Sometimes just talking is such a chore when you’re all drugged up and I’m a little surprised he said yes! He honestly sounded like a new man. I mean that in the best possible way. He was groggy and sleepy but underneath that he sounded so calm. It was a full house for rounds this afternoon, and his first question for the docs was, “Did any of you by chance catch the license plate of the truck that hit me?” He is making little strides hour by hour and they are super happy about his recovery so far. Derek told them he felt like if he had to, he could probably get up and walk around, and they all said to take it easy and give it a day. Perhaps some of you know about Derek’s zombie scale for determining how he feels. It’s a 1-10 scale with 1 being the lowest. The idea is, you rate yourself on the scale based on how you feel and how easy you think it would be to defend yourself against a zombie attack. I would say he is still pretty much at zero, but he might be at .5 at this point. That also might be the drugs talking.
After I left him in the PACU today, I went up to the Department of Transplantation to ask my nurse a question about my incision and to see if she could add a thyroid function test to my blood labs; I have my one month follow up appointment on Thursday. Everyone I encountered was grinning from ear to ear and giving me hugs and hand squeezes. One of Derek’s surgeons punched me in the arm and told me to: “Take a nap! Sheesh! What are you even still doing here?” I saw my surgeon who gave me a huge side hug–safety first–and told me how happy he was for us. I told him that I heard Derek’s new liver was pretty nice, but maybe not as pretty as mine, and then I laughed. And he said, “No, no. Not nearly as pretty as yours.” I mentioned that Derek’s surgeon had shown me a photo of my liver that he took once he had removed it from Derek and that it looked pretty rough, and he then said, “No, no. Yours is still so pretty. Your liver is the best, I love your liver.” Seems like such a funny conversation, but to me, it was one of the nicest things he could have said to me.
In the meetings leading up to surgery, my LICSW and the psychiatrist both continually reminded me that there is no direct benefit to the donor, but that donors feel a sense of euphoria for the first 48 hours after surgery. Today, as Derek’s surgeon was explaining how the surgery went to Derek’s parents and me, I just kept smiling. I asked him if it was ok if I gave him a hug, and he said, “Of course! That’s the best part of this job.” I thanked him, and he wrapped me in a bear hug and whispered in my ear, “You did this. You made this happen. We would never have had the chance to give him a liver like this if you hadn’t given yours first.” I’m sitting on the sofa typing this, tears streaming down my cheeks and snot running all over my face, because I’m getting a second dose of euphoria and it’s overwhelming. I’m filled with a desire to write a bunch of clichés about my heart overflowing with love, but I’ll spare you all of that and just say:
Thank you. Thank you for supporting us both. Recovery is going to be hard, and he may encounter some hiccups as we go along, but I think we both have a renewed strength to keep fighting until we get Derek home, recovered, and back to being the 100% kick ass guy that he was always meant to be.
I’m heading back to the hospital tomorrow morning and I’ll check in with Derek in the PACU and hopefully I’ll get to move upstairs with him to the 6th floor at a reasonable time. I will, as always, update the blog.