Wednesday, July 28, 2010
How it Will Happen
As I hop in the shower and turn on the water, I imagine how it will happen.
Several months ago, my brother, Christiana and I went to a morning class at the IMC which covered what to expect when you're on the waiting list for a transplant. It was explained that each recipient is given priority depending on their general health and how long they have been waiting on the list. A woman in charge of the program explained how the recipients are chosen without bias, based on computer programs and the type of organs they are waiting for. The liver, for example, gets top priority. A perfect match can also move you up on the list.
She explained the call will typically come in the middle of the night between 1:00 and 3:00am. She said sometimes they will call if you are the 2nd person in line, because they might not be able to reach the first person on the list, or that person may be sick or have an infection which would stop the transplant from taking place. So they will keep you posted as a "backup."
The surgery generally takes place in the early morning, so from the time the call comes in until the time of surgery is only a few hours. A kidney-pancreas transplant takes roughly 8 hours to perform. It was explained that the surgeons working on the transplant will be surrounded by large screen monitors so no matter where they look they can see what they are working on.
After surgery, the hospital staff will closely monitor my body to make sure there are no complications. It was advised that the new organs may or may not start working immediately. In some cases it can take several hours for the body to recover from anesthesia, so they monitor everything around the clock.
We were told, "Don't be surprised if nurses come into your room shortly after you wake up and get you out of bed. Yes! On the day of your surgery we will have you get up and walk around your room. Research has shown that the sooner we can get you on your feet, the sooner you will recover and start working with your new organs."
Then she added, "Don't be surprised if we ask you to pass gas before we leave. We want to make sure your digestive system is working properly too."
Rob and I laughed out loud. Anyone who has brothers knows all about the importance of a fart, however I don't think anyone has ever requested one on demand. This will be interesting...
I guess I'll be in the hospital between 5 and 10 days. I'm not looking forward to it because I know I'll feel cooped up after the first hour. According to Scott Bowles's blog, it will take longer than a month for me to feel like myself again. And as far as not being diabetic... I think it will take a LONG TIME for me to get used to that. But I will. So much of it is habit right now. It's difficult to imagine life without diabetes.
Christiana and I were laying in bed the other night when she said the following:
Chris: "Do you know how amazing it is that we are doing this?"
Jake: "What do you mean?"
Chris: "So many people would be upset, or choose not to deal with any of this stuff. Dialysis, transplants... Even my mom said that we really are dealing with A LOT."
Jake: "Well, it's what we have to do for me to stay alive. If we don't deal with it, I die."
Instead of focusing on the big picture, sometimes it's easier for me to take one day at a time. Today, I woke up and went to dialysis so right now I feel a little drained. But I will play tennis tonight with Bart and my brothers and have a wicked good time. Tomorrow, no dialysis! I have an entire day of normalcy. And then the morning after that I'll go to dialysis again. It repeats.
Until the next morning when my cell phone rings at 2:30am and they tell me it's time. Right now, it's a waiting game.