Wednesday, 9 October 2013

What does happen when I get the call?

Last night my phone rang at 7 which was when I was expecting my landlord to stop by but I still nearly had a heart attack when I heard the phone ring. I hope that panic goes away after a few days. With my panic attacks in mind, I thought it might be helpful to review the steps of a 'transplant' call and the surgery and recovery process.
  • When a potential donor is matched with me, the transplant coordinator or someone from the transplant team will call my phone. If I don't answer, they will call Isaiah. If he doesn't answer, they will call my pager (I am getting one in the mail soon). If they can't reach me in an hour, they will move on to the second match. 
  • After the call, I have to stop eating or drinking anything and call a cab to the hospital. 
  • I must remove all jewelery, take out my contacts, and grab all my medications and health card to take with me. 
  • I have 2 1/2 hours to get to the Toronto General Hospital. 
  • Once I get to the hospital, (I go through emerg if it is nighttime) I will have a ECG, x-ray, blood tests, and have an IV started. This can take 3-4 hours and at any point in this process, the surgery may be called off. I will not be put to sleep unless the surgery is actually going to happen. 
  • Isaiah is allowed to wait with me while I learn if the surgery is going to happen. At this point, I'm sure I will have called everyone I know. 
  • If the surgery is a go, Isaiah gets to call my family as they frantically drive to the airport and then wait in the waiting room for 8-10 hours while I have crazy dreams in drug-induced dream land.
  • My family can visit immediately after the surgery even though I'll be on crazy amounts of pain medications, delirious, and connected to a ton of tubes and machines. Great family bonding time.
  • After I can breath on my own (can take a few days or weeks), I get transferred to the 'Multi-Organ Transplant Step Down Unit' also known as the 'Acute Care Unit'.
  • When I graduate from that unit, I'll go to the Multi Organ Transplant Unit where I will be in intensive physiotherapy, learn about my anti-rejection meds, and recover until I am ready to be discharged. 
That's all! One double-lung transplant done! I'm going to have Isaiah or someone else in my family update the blog frequently to keep everyone informed when the time actually arrives.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the step by step. I've been wondering how they deal with the fact that you would have food in your system.

Alley said...

With regards to the food, according to the transplant binder, while I am on the ventilator there will be a nasogastric tube down my nose to my stomach which empties out my stomach acids. I assume it would remove any food if I had just eaten but probably by the time I actually get into surgery, most of it would be digested.