The strange thing about recovery is that even though Derek and I are improving every day, we don’t really notice unless we look back at where we both were 3 weeks ago. 3 weeks ago today, Derek came home from the hospital. I went to Trader Joe’s on the way home from the hospital to pick up provisions. I needed help to get a bottle of juice off the top shelf, and not just because I’m short, I really couldn’t stretch that way. I also needed help getting the groceries into the car. Those first few days he was home, when Derek napped, I napped. I was exhausted from trying to feed him every hour on the hour. Taking care of both of us was tiring while I was still healing. The similarities to having a newborn are not lost on me. Until recently, like maybe a week ago, I still woke up every night around midnight drenched in sweat. My theory is that those first few hours of sleep were when my body chose to do the majority of liver growing and the shear volume of mitosis happening in my liver caused my temperature to rise precipitously. That’s probably not true, but it’s fun to imagine my body as a liver growing factory, cranking out new liver cells on the night shift. I also used to wake up every night at 4:00 am, and now I sleep right through the night. I can also sleep on my side and my stomach which is a huge relief.
At this point I would say that I am back to about 90% proficiency with life. I am still not able to jump rope, running feels dangerous, and I did do some pretty lame crunches the other day and it seemed relatively safe, but I am going to ease into my six pack abs. I haven’t attempted to bring all of the groceries into the house from the car in one trip, because I’m scared of hernias. Last week I convinced myself that I actually had a hernia, and when I finally admitted to Derek that I had self-diagnosed the pain in my side, he burst out laughing because he had done the same thing. The pain faded away for both of us and was more likely muscle strain. The internet is a super dangerous place when you think your pain is one of unknown origin. Newsflash Derek & Logan: the origin is known, your insides were rearranged.
The day after Derek got home he walked a few feet to the corner of our neighborhood park. It was a challenge and that’s a bit of an understatement. He was able to sleep on his side, even while he was still in the hospital after the second transplant, so right out of the gate, he had a much greater range of motion then I did when I got home. We started out easy those first few days, venturing on little mini walks around the neighborhood. The day we made it all the way around our block, Derek returned home and almost immediately fell into a deep sleep for about 3 hours. This was Derek’s basic routine early on: slowly get up in the morning, take some pills, eat, rest, eat, go for a walk, drink a ridiculously protein packed smoothie, fall into a deep sleep, wake up, eat, rest, take some more pills, go to bed. A couple of weeks ago we went to the grocery store and when Derek tried to step up on a curb he almost didn’t make it, the muscles needed for that movement were not up to the challenge. He started going up and down the stairs to our basement to help the process along.
This past Monday we decided to kick up our walking a bit. We had conquered the big hill behind our house and decided to try a change of scenery and walk up the hill to Derryfield Park. Derek felt pretty good so we kept going. And going. And then we got a little lost. Well, not lost but the trail we’d followed into the woods started to disappear so we backtracked.
Finally we made it to the top of Manchester’s premier ski area, McIntyre ski hill. Derek, as you can see, is totally ready for ski season to start.
The ski hill, not so much.
We managed to go 3.4 miles. Derek was sore and tired, but when we got home, he didn’t fall asleep!
We’re getting better. Our scars are healing, our bodies are coming back online and we’re starting to feel like normal humans again. Derek is slowly and safely gaining weight and he is building back the muscle that he lost. It is a slow process, and sometimes it’s hard for us to realize our progress, but when we look back at a calendar and remember where we were just 3 weeks ago, it feels pretty darn good.