Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Help, I'm Leaking!

Why is it that I feel like my recovery is supposed to be a mystery to me? Everytime I start to freak out about something being wrong with me, I get a response from the surgeons..."Oh yes, that's to be expected." Expected? Well, why didn't someone TELL me to expect that? Sheesh!

A perfect example of this occurred yesterday afternoon. Of course, it was 5 p.m., just past the normal business hours of the liver clinic, when I could have called with a normal inquiry. Instead, it was now considered after hours and I had to yet again call the number to have the surgical resident on call paged. Fortunately it was Amy, one of my sweet resident surgeons, who I've talked to 3 of the 4 times when I've called after hours. I explained to her that I was laying in bed resting, when all of a sudden I felt a whoosh. I looked down and my entire side was soaked. It was all I could do to keep myself from freaking out. I distinctly remember asking the nurse on Monday if I needed to have any stitches for the tube-sized hole that remained where the surgical tubing used to be. Nope, it would heal on its own, and I was even encouraged to shower the area to keep it nice and clean. No one mentioned the fact that I may spontaneously begin to leak! Holy cow! At least Dan kept his cool. My poor skin was ready to revolt when he removed the tape. I didn't really want to look at the hole in my side, but to my surprise it wasn't so bad. BUT it was sure weird watching fluid flow from a place in my body that it shouldn't be flowing. In place of the gauze we carefully taped a large square of absorbent material that reminded me of a sanitary pad. That oughta do it Dan figured. After giving Amy the "Reader's Digest" version of the leaking event, she told me, "Oh yes, that's very common. We expect that to happen." AHHHHHHHH! Why don't people tell me these things??

Thinking that I was in good shape, it wasn't more than about an hour later when we were sitting at the dinner table. Dan had run back to the hospital to bring Cayden some of the food we'd had for dinner and to sit with him while his mom and Rob were getting orgainzed for the evening. I had that weird feeling again...oh no. Only this time about twice as much fluid came out, and my pajamas, shirt, and medical pad were completely soaked. My sister-in-law, Kristi sprung into action. She grabbed on of the cloth baby diapers she had and folded it over to place on top of a new absorbent pad. Instead of torturing, I mean taping me again, we used some of this medical "sock" to hold everything in place around my side. Except for some minor leaking during the night, I think the situation is now under control. What next?

One piece of GREAT news today. Cayden was finally discharged from the hospital. Hopefully this will mean he is out for good. They've switched a few of his meds, and he still has a bile collection bag protruding from his mid-section that must be emptied periodically, but he is now "free"! He looks healthy but is pretty tired. The first thing he wanted to do when he got here was take a REAL shower. It was his first time taking a full shower since his surgery. I know that had to feel good. He's spending some time with his mom and Rob today and this evening, and he and Rob are even going to the theater to watch Iron Man 2. Hopefully he'll be able to get comfortable in those seats. I remember it wasn't long on Sunday before I was ready to leave brunch. When you've had a major surgery like this, you don't stay comfortable in one position for very long!

Tomorrow is my 2nd post-op clinic visit. I'm still retaining about 10 pounds of water. I've tried to keep my feet up a lot, since the swelling creeps down to my ankles and feet pretty quickly. I suspect they'll up my Lasix to help move more of the fluid out of my tissues. Cayden has his clinic visit and blood draw on Friday. As I mentioned before, he'll have twice weekly monitoring of his liver functioning to see whether his medications need to be adjusted.

So for now, things in liver transplant land are good. Dan printed the picture of the first time I got to see Cayden post surgery. It's not the best quality of photo, but the message from the photo is something I will cherish forever.

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