One of the biggest concerns I had about being Derek’s donor was that I wouldn’t be able to take care of him as he recovered from surgery. Now that I am 6 weeks out from my surgery and he is just getting home, I am actually able to care for him. But it’s hard. While I have recovered really well and relatively quickly, I am still recovering. I get tired and cranky. I forget to eat and drink sometimes because I am so concerned with making sure Derek is eating and drinking enough. He is a good patient, he is direct with his requests and doesn’t mind my near constant presence and questions: What do you want to drink? What would you like to eat? Are you ok? How can I help? Can I get you anything? I am getting annoyed by the barrage of questions, so I can only imagine how he must feel.
It’s hard to be someone’s nurse when you have no formal training. I triple check his medications before I give them to him, and then I show them to him while checking the master list to make sure everything looks familiar. I take his vitals in the morning: blood pressure, temperature, weight, but I am not really sure what the results mean. He’s so emaciated that sometimes I stare at his water glass when he’s not drinking from it, trying to will the water to give him strength. I make him insane smoothies that are packed with protein and then sometimes I add peanut butter to give them even more protein. Saturday we attempted to keep an almost continuous stream of nutrients going into him. Here’s what he consumed:
- Omeprezole which is a medication that needs to be taken before he eats anything.
- A slice of sprouted, whole grain toast with peanut butter
- A big handful of drugs
- Half a clif builder bar – a whole bar is 20g. He ate the other half at 4am
- 2 scrambled eggs and 2 chicken with sage breakfast sausages
- 6 oz of chocolate protein drink – 20 g per 8 oz serving
- 16 oz smoothie with: chocolate flavored rice based protein powder (15g worth), a 1/2 cup of plain whole milk yogurt, 1/2 a banana, chocolate protein drink (20g worth), 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
- Tunafish salad with avocado and celery on a tortilla with some chickpea crunchy curls
- A handful of mixed nuts
- A dark chocolate peanut butter cup from Trader Joe’s
- A handful of peanut butter crackers
- Two slices of sprouted, whole grain toast with almond butter and banana slices
- Honeydew and pear slices
- Peanut butter clif bar (10g)
- 16 oz smoothie with: strawberries, raspberries, 1/2 cup of plain whole milk yogurt, 1/2 a banana, cranberry juice, 2 scoops of pineapple banana flavored protein powder (15g worth)
- A cheese quesadilla
- 1/2 cup of roasted asparagus
- 1 cup of homemade chicken soup with dumplings
- A smaller, yet still substantial, handful of drugs
- Plus loads of water with electrolytes and some juice
I’m not sure what the exact calorie or protein count was for Saturday’s intake, but based on this list, I think it was pretty substantial. Derek is doing everything he can to get better, but man is it hard work. It’s an exhausting slog trying to eat continuously, all day long, but he’s making it happen.