Health & Parenting, Home & Happiness

July 22, 2019

Transplant Evaluation Day 1

Today was my first day of transplant evaluation and I made it through! Our day started at 5:45 am, and anyone who knows me, knows I am not a morning person. Regardless of how much I planned to not overlook any appointments, it was still overwhelming initially. I was nervous about labs since I have horrible veins and the lab technician was amazed after she scanned my hands and arms and agreed that it was hard to find something we could use. Thankfully she got everything with one stick, although she had to ration the last three because my vein was over it. I had an EKG after labs which were a little off, but they didn't seem too concerned about it.

After labs, I met with a nurse coordinator and she basically re-read the papers I was given to us and made sure to try to answer any questions we had. I had a chest x-ray and DEXA scan to follow which was pretty successful, although I had trouble lying flat due to shortness of breath and coughing. Next, I did up&go testing which was squeezing a metal thing on a chair and then standing up and walking around in a circle once and then squeezing it again. The cardiac surgeon met with us and told us about everything related to the transplant and the risks and side effects of the surgery and post-tx medications. He gave us statistics and we talked about any heart-related concerns I had. I was really impressed with the surgeon and liked him a lot.

We made our way to the anesthesia clinic after lunch to discuss the medications I'm currently on, as well as my health history and any previous issues with anesthesia. They also briefly talked about what the anesthesia process for transplant is and what the recovery period is like. The nurse did hear a heart murmur, which I seemed to be having off/on.

Last we settled down to do my Echo, which I was excited about because I was exhausted from the day. I thought it would be like my previous echos, however, they put an iv in so they could light up my heart better on the screen. I guess that is common to do, but I was not prepared and not excited. She fished around but settled on the same vein I had used for labs. After we got ready to leave I went to the bathroom and had a coughing attack that almost made me throw up. There was a sweet lady in the bathroom that asked if I was okay and if I needed a glass of water.

We left the hospital and went to a thrift store, but I stayed in the car since I was still feeling like I might throw up from coughing. Unfortunately, in the parking lot, I saw a man get into an altercation with a woman that seemed like a clear case of domestic assault. In the end, the cops arrived and patrolled the area, revealing they'd had a lot of similar calls but couldn't ever get there in time to find him. It was unnerving, to say the least.

Today left some unexpected twists and turns and a little confusion with directions. I'm surprised after all of my time in the hospital, we still haven't officially learned where every test or department is. Overall, transplant seems overwhelming and exhausting but I am a little relieved that I'll be able to know how sick or healthy my entire body is. I am most nervous about discovering any heart problems with the heart cath, and not enjoying my first ABG which will be tomorrow (I've written a song about it but have never experienced one).

DAY 1 SCHEDULE: (For anyone wondering)

NPO (nothing to eat or drink)

Labs and EKG 7:00 AM: CBC with Diff, Hepatic Function Panel, PTT, TSH, Hemoglobin A1C, ABO/RH, Iron and TIBC, Rheumatoid factor, Ferritin, CMV IgG, Pregnancy Screen, CMP, PT/INR, Lipid Panel, t4 Free, Vitamin D 25 Hydroxy, Nicotine Metabolite screen, Vitamin A&E, UA with reflex and Urine colony count, TB Quanteferon

Meet with Nurse Coordinator 7:45 AM: Going over transplant forms and questions

Chest X-Ray and DEXA Scan 8:45 AM:
The DEXA Scan is to measure bone density (how strong the bones are) and the risk for bone fractures...

Meet the Surgeon, Up&Go Testing 9:45 AM:
Up&Go Testing assesses mobility (how well you're able to move) and your risk of falling


Pre-Anesthesia Clinic 12:45 PM

Echocardiogram 1:45 PM: They use a wand on the outside of your body and press on your chest to determine how the heart is beating and pumping blood, etc...


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