Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Transplant Troubles

The news on Anne is really, really good. She has been outside to feed the ducks, albeit in a wheelchair, and is now walking laps of the ward. She is getting fitter day by day and as yet hasn't stopped smiling. Anne is a walking miracle and has only had her chance thanks to the generosity of others. Please, please sign the donor register so there can be more miracles.

Another PH friend, Stacie Pridden, got her call last night. Unfortunately the lungs turned out to be not good enough and she has been sent home.

A cruel twist of fate and I can't imagine the emotions she must be going through right now. Stacie has been waiting quite a while, a good few months longer than me, and had said in her blog (link on the right hand side bar) how much she wished that call would come. So we were all delighted when we heard the news. Naturally this morning we are all feeling a little deflated on Stacie's behalf. We have told her to look on it as a practice run but even though I know she will try to do this, she is such a positive person, she will feel very down for a while.

So why do false alarms happen?

Well the very nature of transplantation means nothing can ever be guaranteed. A recipient will often get the call before organs are removed from the body. This is so the recipient can have all the tests and scans to ensure they are fit for surgery, and be prepared ready for the operation. This ensures the donor organs are without a blood supply for as short a time as possible. The heart and lungs are the organs most affected by a lack of blood and oxygen so they are removed first. They are throughly examined twice to check that there is nothing hiding that tests haven't picked up. Once by the removal team again by the receiving center to make doubly sure and if all is OK then the recipient can be taken into surgery.

However that isn't the end of the story because when the other organs are harvested problems can still show up. It is not unknown for a tumour to be discovered on one of the other organs or in the body somewhere and of course that will also put a stop to things. If there is the slightest chance of cancer the transplant will not go ahead due to the amount of steroids you will need to take afterwards. Steroids can make thing grow very, very quickly and the last thing you want to grow quickly is cancer.

Poor Stacie, I really feel for her but if the lungs are not right then there is no point. This isn't a 'give it a go and see' operation. You don't get a second chance so the right call was made, I doubt Stacie will see it that like that at the moment though.

As you probably gathered by the early blog, I'm off sick again.

I was sent home yesterday after being told I looked 'terrible'. Charming! To be fair I wasn't feeling that great when I set out in the morning but I thought my gloomy mood was just the usual Monday thing. However as the morning progressed I developed an irritating scratchy feeling in my throat and started to cough my way through calls, not a good image I must say. I was completely uninterested in food, I had to force a sandwich down and I just didn't feel 'right'. A colleague pointed out that I'd turned terribly pale and went to fetch my supervisor who ordered me home. I can't say I put up much resistance.

A trip to the doctor confirmed a virus rather than an infection. All I can do is gargle with salt water, stop talking and sit it out. I'm frustrated because until recently I was doing really well on the sickness front. I do find though that once I've picked up a bug I tend to go down with two or three in quick succession and then I'm fine for two or three months before I start all over again. On the plus side the bugs I'm picking up no longer automatically go down on my chest, so I've had fewer chest infections, and I'm off for days rather than weeks. This of course maybe down to my new outlook of not struggling on until I drop and getting to grip with things early enough to stop them turning really nasty. It means I spend time at home when I feel I really could be in work but I get over things a lot quicker. Who'd have thought it! And exactly how long did it take me to learn that lesson?

Had a quick visit from Laurence last night. He'd been at a colleague's funeral and formed part of the guard of honour. He was in full dress uniform and looked so handsome, though I have to say there was a bit of the Mr Mackay's about him. They are not allowed to keep their dress uniforms and have to hand them back in after any event. Laurence wanted me to see him in it so popped in. Peter took photos and a soon as he's uploaded them I'll post one here.

Andrew is back from Bulgaria tomorrow, well at least I hope he's coming back. Communication since he went has been less than satisfactory, that is to say nonexistent. He hasn't even posted on Facebook! I'm guessing the first thing well know that he's back in the country will be when we get a text asking us to pick him up form the airport. That can be Peter's job as I'll either be in work or in bed.

So it is another enforced day in front of the settee being fed endless cups of tea and getting the occasional order to gargle. Will I be in work tomorrow, well I've given myself until six to decide but I doubt it.