The morning ritual is the most complex. I am required to take my vitals every single day: weight, temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar, spirometry (not fun), medications. In addition, there is a place on my incision that is not healing well at all and causing me a lot of pain. This requires wound care twice a day. My Mom has to put this special prescription ointment into the wound and that debrides the wound, then she has to pack it with a damp piece of gauze followed by covering it with a dry piece of gauze. In the morning, I must get in the shower so that the wound can be showered clean before being re-dressed. We have to change the dressing twice a day, although I do not have to shower in the afternoon. The wound care nurses at the hospital said if it does not look better this coming week, then I will have to see the surgeon. Fingers crossed we see some improvement!
The meds must be taken 4 times a day, so I must set alarms so that I don't miss taking any of my meds, many of which must be taken at very specific times - no excuses - (14 pills 4 times a day - close to 60 pills every day)!
There is at home physical therapy twice a week, but I am also expected to do my p.t. every day, twice a day - if I can find time for that second time that is! There is a medication that I must take via nebulizer, which requires mixing the medication from the vials and then using the nebulizer to administer the medication. This is not for my breathing, but one of the medications most transplant patients take is an anti-fungal, however, the one I was taking caused my liver enzymes to increase to dangerous levels, so we had to stop that medication and switch to a different one. The only other one happens to be this one that you take via nebulizer. It tastes AWFUL and burns the back of my throat and often makes me cough. A necessary but unfortunate side effect that I must just learn to deal with!
I have had multiple doctor appointments, lab tests, my first Bronchoscopy. There are constant changes to my medications which means updating my 6 page list so I get it right; making sure my pill box gets updated with every medication change. Just filling my pill box takes 2 people over an hour to fill!
I have the best team helping me and I am so thankful. My medical team, my family whose help is SO invaluable. This is a lot of stuff to remember and it really takes a team to help me get it all done and done right.
The Transplant Team told us it would be like this; they didn't lie! It is a never ending process on which I must focus and it's key to keeping my new lung healthy and working for me as it should.
It's been a bumpy month since I was discharged after getting my new lung, I'm not going to lie. But it is definitely worth the effort. I see that I am making progress and the doctors are extremely happy with how I am doing. I like hearing that! Now if we could just get this wound to heal and the pain to subside, I'd really be happy.
But this Christmas is a far cry from last Christmas when we didn't even know what was wrong with me. Here we are a year later and I got my Christmas present early and I have my new lung and I'm breathing on my own with no oxygen. It's all I ever asked for. I couldn't be happier about that!
Yes, I got my Christmas present early! I have lots to celebrate this year!