Welcome one and all, to another long overdue post! A lot has happened since I said I was going to get a transplant, namely the transplant, but I’ll try to summarize as best I can the last two months. And by summarize I mean talk about in excruciating detail.
The first step of the process was to go into the hospital as an out patient to get rid of a trace amount of the epstein-barr virus I had hanging around in my blood. Epstein-barr is the virus that causes mono, which I never had but had to have been exposed to as a kid. My body kept it under control (it was only a trace), but after transplant, once I had no immune system to speak of, the virus would cause some problems. So they hooked me up to a chemo IV and blasted it out of me. Fortunately, this chemo is a “mild” variety, and I suffered no side effects.
The next step happened on January 11th, the day before I was admitted, which was to implant a catheter. At first I was terrified because, much like you, I thought all catheters had something to do with pee, thinking they would perform some kavorkian crotch surgery on me. Thankfully, this was not a pee catheter; mine was a small tube attached to a plastic plate that they stuck in my shoulder. When I went in for surgery I had decided to be comfortable, so I went commando.
This would have been a great idea, except that they make you change into a hospital gown, a devilishly forseeable practice I failed to make note of. The nurse hands me this gown, which thankfully has two parts – one for the front, one for the back – and tells me to strip down to my underwear. After I was wheeled through the hospital in a wheel chair, which was one of the breeziest experiances of my life.
Inside the operating room was white and blindingly lit, with strange white machines lining the walls, and then empty floor throughout the rest of the large chamber save for the lonely looking operating table in the center. I get on the table, which was bearly wide enough to contain me, and I’m roughly the width of a pipe cleaner, and then they had me hike up my gown dangerously high, strapped my arm to a small extending platform, shone a light in my face, called over the anesthesiologist while shaving the right side of my chest and told me to relax.
The anesthesiologist grabbed my hand and told me in no uncertain terms not to move. Then he stabbed me with a needle. He did that once more, and the next thing I remember the room is fuzzy and the doctor is telling me that everything’s over and the opperation was a success. I looked at the implant; it was yellow and wedge-shaped, about the size of a shot glass, and had three color coded tubes sprouting from the base. Right then, I felt like a cyborg. Also, I felt that after being knocked out for over a half an hour, and being so precariously clothed, that every nurse in that room saw my nads.
Well, this post is longer than I expected; and I expected it to be pretty darn long. Considering how much I have yet to tell, I’m going to split this into a few parts. The next part will be up tomorrow. See you then!