…late in the evening, I was rolled into surgery at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona where a stranger’s liver was transplanted into my (dying) body.
I did not expect to wake up after surgery. If I had not had the surgery, I doubt I’d have woken up on the 24th.
Living in the future is amazing.
The new kidney is functional. I was told today “no more dialysis”!! The first night of getting up every 90 minutes to two hours to urinate was oddly satisfying. The second night, not so much. Apparently my bladder has shrunk to the size of an extra-large chicken egg.
I’m back to another six months or so of taking handfulls of pills morning and night, but I tolerate them well. I have to stay up here at Mayo (on campus, but not in the hospital proper) for another four weeks, going in every other day for tests and consults, but things are going swimmingly.
Hopefully no other major medical issues in my future (crossing my fingers.)
For my non-Facebooking readers, I received a call from Mayo Tuesday morning – they had a kidney. Had the surgery Tuesday evening. They’re kicking me out of the hospital tonight. Have to spend the next 3-4 weeks up here for testing and examinations while they nail down the right cocktail of drugs (again) and make sure everything is working. Kidney will need a week or so to settle in, so I still have dialysis until then, but looking good so far. Amazingly, once again after a major surgery I have little to no pain except when I try to use my abdominal muscles. Another, not quite as long scar.
I love living in the future.
A year ago on this day I was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. Yeah, it was kind of like that.
Kinda graphic images below the fold.
Here’s what put me into the hospital:
It wasn’t cancer, it was NASH – “Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.” Chemical weapons couldn’t delay the inevitable. The Sword it was. I got a “low-mileage Lexus” of a liver on September 24. I’ve got a wicked cool scar, and I’m still walking around.
That sumbitch tried to kill me. It failed.
I meant to do this a while back, but I’ve been busy and not particularly motivated to write. Because so many of my readers obviously are interested in my health – you guys overwhelmed me with your donations – I thought I’d let you know how things are going.
I had my four month, 4,000 mile lube, oil change and tire rotation at Mayo earlier this month. My A1C (90-day average blood sugar) was 4.2 – the minimum “normal” range – so I’m no longer diabetic. My cholesterol, both good and bad, is excellent. So is my blood pressure, though it drops pretty low from time to time when I’m standing and not moving around much. My weight has stabilized at about 210lbs., a weight I haven’t seen since I was about 19. And my “low-mileage pre-owned Lexus” liver is functioning perfectly.
That’s the good news. The bad news is, my kidneys are running at about 20% efficiency, and they don’t appear to be coming back. I’m anemic, and apparently will remain so until I get a functioning kidney. Until then, I’m on dialysis 3.5 hours a day, three days a week. I’m going to have fistula surgery on March 1, and about 6-8 weeks later it should be usable. Some time after that, the catheter in my chest will be removed, and I’ll be able to shower again without having to put a tarp over it.
My medical insurance company has approved me for a kidney transplant. Now I have to go back up to Mayo for two or three days for further tests as part of the transplant evaluation. However, because I recently received a liver, this moves me up the transplant priority list.
If this keeps up, I’m going to be the Six Million Dollar Man without the super-strength or the telescopic eye.
Anyway, there you go. Thanks for being interested.
During my second, third hospital stay? my daugter set up a GoFundMe fundraiser, and – being cogent – I told her to take it down. She did. But the first 2-3 days of my last hospitilization, “I wasn’t all there” puts it mildly. I’m currently on short-term disability, and I need a replacement liver. My health insurance is great, but there’s only so much it covers so my wife told her to fire it back up again.
She raised $10,140 over a very short period, almost exclusively from readers of this blog. Other bloggers such as Say Uncle (and I don’t have a complete list) linked to it. Lots of encouraging comments were left with the donations, along with a lot of praise for the contents of this blog.
All I can say is, I’m humbled and grateful for all of you. Thank you from the bottom of my soul. Thank you for letting me join this tribe, where I have met, both online and in meatspace, some of the finest human beings anyone could ever know.
“Thank you” is inadequate for what I feel, but it’s the best I can do.
I’m pretty damned sick, but I’m still kicking (weakly).
So far I’ve had four hospital stays: Memorial Day through the following Friday, July 10-14, August 11-14, and August 15-24.
I’ve been “not right” since at least January, beginning with severe swelling of both legs. The first hospital trip was due to that. Diagnosis: non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. (That means “lots of scar tissue to the point the liver don’t do it’s job much.) Second trip was due to internal blood loss from a gastric ulcer combined with blood thinners I’d been taking since May of 2017. I had about half my normal blood volume. Felt great for for a couple of weeks after being given three units of blood, then August 11 I didn’t feel great anymore. Lots of blood tests, lots of medication adjustments. After being discharged from the hospital, I collapsed at home the next evening, so back we went. Seems your kidneys don’t work real well if your liver isn’t working right, and also if your liver isn’t working right, nasty crap like ammonia builds up in your bloodstream.
I “lost” a couple of days there I literally have no memory of. Took about a week to get my brain fully back online. For an engineer, it’s scary to realize you cannot do simple arithmetic in your head.
So I’ve been at home now since 8-24, and I’m setting up “Short-term disability” until I can get some strength back, at least enough to get into my office to start doing some paying work. So if’ you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, now you know.