Transplant Update – Two Days To Go

The surgery takes place in two days. My dad and I went in for our pre-op physicals today. It was much easier for me than it was for him.

I had eight vials of blood drawn. (As usual, I didn’t watch.) Dad had eleven drawn. This is, in part, to reconfirm the match.

Dad and I got some lovely, matching hospital jewelry. The orange one can come off. The red one stays until the day of surgery, unless I want them to re-draw those eight vials of blood.

I was informed (again) of the risks and benefits of kidney donation, as well as my options.

“You know that if you want to back out for any reason, your dad can remain on the transplant list and may receive a kidney from an unknown donor.”

Thanks, but no. I’m going for it!

I signed lots of paperwork and agreed to be part of a research study which means three more vials of blood will be drawn the day of surgery (and I still won’t watch.) I was presented with a lemony cocktail for consumption the night before surgery for the purpose of… you know…. cleaning out the intestines.

A resident who appeared to have recently graduated from the eighth grade reviewed my family health history and confirmed with me that I don’t have an illegal drug habit. I was tempted to tell him I just gave up my meth habit a few weeks ago in preparation for the surgery, but decided this wasn’t the time for such jokes.

After talking with the resident, we were told that it would be forty-five minutes or so before the surgeon was ready to see me, so Mark and I went down to the lobby and enjoyed lunch together in a little restaurant. My dad, meanwhile, was still being poked and prodded and couldn’t take a break.

After lunch, we met with the surgeon who will remove my kidney. I immediately felt comfortable with him and felt a sense of confidence in his ability. He told us he was old enough to have made all the mistakes and young enough to remember not to make them again. Tears threatened to fall when Mark asked him to make sure he brought me back to him. The surgeon promised he would.

That’s all there was to it for me. After shaking hands with the surgeon, we sat down in the waiting room to wait for my mom and dad as Dad’s physical was finally completed. Next, we walked with my parents to another office where my dad would meet with his surgeon. As we waited for my dad to be called in, my mom divulged that they had been told this would be a very high risk surgery for my dad. I had assumed this. Dad has had heart problems. But apparently, no one had made it clear to my parents just how much of a risk this would be. My mom didn’t have a chance to say anything more before Dad was called in for his appointment.

I sat, contemplating the worry that had been in my mom’s voice and wondered if I had even underestimated how serious this will be for my dad. While we waited, the receptionist came over and asked if we would tell my dad that he would not be finished after this appointment as anticipated. He was wanted upstairs again. My head began to fill with fearful thoughts. I was sure that something in his tests today would make it impossible for him to have the surgery. I prayed about everything and anything I could think of… for an ease to my parents’ fear, for skilled surgeons, strength within my dad’s body. You name it, I prayed it.

When my parents finished with the surgeon, we told them Dad had to go back upstairs and we got back on the elevator, heading for the transplant clinic once again. We waited to be told what was next and I had a few minutes to ask my mom more about how the “high risk” warning made them feel. She told me that it is a risk dad is willing to take. He can either continue to live in misery or take a chance at a better quality life by having the transplant. I felt better knowing there was no question in my parents’ minds.

We were soon met  by a woman named Rose who told Dad they simply wanted an EKG and chest x-ray and we had to go to another building. My mom was worn out by this time and needed to rest, so I told Dad I’d go with him. It was a long walk… too much for my dad’s arthritic legs and we had to stop a couple times before we finally got there. The EKG went quickly and I enjoyed a friendly chat with Rose while we waited. After the EKG, Rose walked us to the hospital for the chest x-ray and that’s where we parted ways with her.

Dad and I sat for a couple of minutes before he was called in for his x-ray. He told me he was scared.

“I know,” I said. I had no other words. I wanted to offer him strength and confidence. I wanted to remind him that his God, in whom he has always had so much faith, would be with him; with us. I didn’t know how to say the words. They wouldn’t come. So I just sat with my arm in his and hoped he knew what I wanted to say but couldn’t.

The x-ray took only a few minutes and finally we were back in my parents’ van and heading for home, Mark behind the wheel, me in the passenger seat, navigating, and my parents in the back, holding hands and talking quietly. I sensed their readiness. I felt at ease in my own. It’s all in God’s hands now.

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27 thoughts on “Transplant Update – Two Days To Go

  1. Oh my gifted writer friend Terri…you write so beautifully and as usual, I felt RIGHT THERE with you. My emotions are so tied up in this thing too. I began to cry when you wrote what Mark said. I am taking in so much from just reading your writings from this experience. As you know, my childhood was turbulent at best and to read how you describe yourself as so ready and willing and compassionate towards your parents is amazing to me. Actually, it’s so refreshing and it just makes me want to be the best parent I can be so that someday my children will love, honor and respect me as you do yours. You inspire me so much!

    I am praying that God will ease those fears that would try and come upon you and your family. That you would remain strong and rest in His ability to see you both thru this surgery and into complete recovery. That the surgeons hands would be guided by God himself. I am thinking about you non-stop!

    Love you!
    ~Teresa

  2. I sit her with eyes tearing up. What an emotional and complex journey this is. In my find I had focused so many of the prayers on you that I had not grasped the depth of the surgery for your father… He and you are in our prayers.

    Your story captures so may expressions of love – Mark’s words revealing his, your sacrifice of love, your parents hushed whispers and holding hands… what a legacy your family is passing on to the next generation.

    Peace to you.

  3. What a day sweetie! Oh my goodness…stay strong for you, for your family and for all of us who can’t wait for you to get through this and have you back blogging away. The surgeon’s hands are skilled and God is with you every step of the way and so am I.

    You are on my mind, in my prayers and in my heart today and always!

    {{{{Big Hugs!}}}}

  4. I can tell from your writing that you are already a witness to the amazing work of God in your life…and you saw it in a constant stream today. Blessings to you, and wisdom and guidance for the surgeons. I will be praying for you and your Dad.

  5. I can watch them stick me with needles all day long. What I can’t handle is watching them stick someone else. I turn my head at all the medical shows that my wife watches when they make an incision.

    Oh boy…”Saline Laxative Oral Solution”. And it tastes like PLEDGE!

  6. Since I’m on vacation and don’t always know when I’ll be on, I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you I’ll be sending you lots of good vibes, karma, and prayer over the next few days.

    I know I’m not alone, even with the people who never comment. I just wanted to tell you once again how great you are.

    Big, virtual, platonic hugs from a naked man. :)

  7. Lovely Terri….All my thoughts and prayers are with you…sending you big hugs and lots of love!!!

    As for that “drink” ask if you can mix it with some Mojito mix and make it interesting….

    Love,
    Kiki

  8. Hi Terri, just wanted to check in with you to let you know that I am still thinking of you, your Dad and your family. I am not tying my phone lines up blogging for a few days, but needed to see that you and another, Alex, are doing Ok. My thoughts, my prayers are with you in the coming days and hours…..
    Barb

  9. I am a bit stuck for words right now! My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Sounds like Mark is finding it tough, hope he is getting lots of hugs!

    Looking forward to more news now – I am going to be a wreck today!

  10. We’ve already discussed between us about the surgery and most everything that goes with it -except for that one thing you mentioned in this post -the lovely intestinal cleansing. For that, Kiddo, you may both need more strength -or close to as much as you will need for the actual surgery! Not only does that stuff they make you drink taste absolutely horrid, but the things you are allowed to ingest the day before any abdominal surgery will likely turn you at least for a while (if not forever) against eating lemon or lime jello and supping on a nice cup of chicken broth! Well, at least that’s how it affected me. LOL After three major abdominal surgeries now and what seems to have been a kazillion (no, not quite that many but….) colonoscopies, that junk they give to clean you out -now, all I have to do is think about taking a swig of it and I can feel my stomach start to contract, ready to toss the least little thing I’ve put into my mouth! ARRGH!
    But all that aside -Terri, about all that is left to say for you and your dad is this “Go with God and may he bless you both with successful surgery and speedy recovery!
    So many of us here will be with you in thought, in prayer -just want you to know that you may feel you are alone now and again with this, but you are not.
    I’ll be here (well, I plan to be here anyway) waiting for your words of wisdom and wit once you get back home.

  11. Something is wrong with my monitor…it got blurry all of a sudden.

    You have a gift with words Terri! My thoughts and prayers are with you all tomorrow.

  12. Wow I’m glad I stopped by this blog. What you’re doing is extremely kind and courageous. Obviously I know that when it’s someone as close to you as your dad that you wouldn’t even think twice about doing it, but it’s still one hell of a thing to do. I admire you. I’ll be checking in to see how you made out. Best of luck.

  13. Good Luck Terri and your dad too. You choked me up a couple of times. I know how Mark feels. You are doing a wonderful thing and are very brave.

  14. We are thinking and praying for you and your Dad. You are a great daughter Terri and your father appreciates what you are doing for him, the gift of life, more than you will ever know. You are also showing your kids what true love is about. Wishing for you and your father good health and many more years.

    JDP

  15. You’ve got me tearing up again jsut reading this. It’s so hard to watch your parents be vulnerable and scared as they age. You don’t know what to say and it’s almost as if the parent/child role starts to reverse. I see my mom doing that with my grandpa now who is just so weak and frail and scared.

    Again, you are both in my prayers. It’s good to know that the doctors made you feel so comfortable – that is so important. Blessings to all of you . . . You’ve got a lot of people here and in your everyday life who are really pulling for you! We love you Terri!

  16. Throughout this entire process, all I’ve heard have been words of encouragement, but in my deepest, dankest moments, I’ve been plagued with those “what if” thoughts – What if it doesnt work? What if she rejects it in six months? What if the transplant causes other problems?

    What if, what if, what if….

    That has been the hardest part for me, knowing that there is still so much I can’t control, and that giving my sister a kidney may not be the ‘solution’ we’re counting on. It’s just the best of many not great alternatives.

    Be well…

  17. All my love, thoughts, prayers are with you, your family and the doctors/nurses/surgeons who will be taking care of you and your dad.

    I know it sounds silly, but I just “know” that everything is going to be just fine.

  18. I’m really looking forward to your post-op post about how everything went off without hitch! I’m praying for all of you too.

    Interesting, as I read how you sat with your dad and he told you he was scared and how you were strong and comforting for him. Parent/child role reversal. We reap what we sow.

  19. “we met with the surgeon who will remove my kidney. I immediately felt comfortable with him and felt a sense of confidence in his abi”

    Thats a relief.

    And when you wrote this paragraph:

    “Dad and I sat for a couple of minutes before he was called in for his x-ray. He told me he was scared.

    “I know,” I said. I had no other words. I wanted to offer him strength and confidence. I wanted to remind him that his God, in whom he has always had so much faith, would be with him; with us. I didn’t know how to say the words. They wouldn’t come. So I just sat with my arm in his and hoped he knew what I wanted to say but couldn’t.”

    I am welling with tears streaming down my face.

    But, with all of this going on, it just goes to show just how strong you are to be able to hold on to your sense of humor with lines like “Dad and I got some lovely, matching hospital jewelry.” in this post.

    GOOD LUCK. GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU.
    xxoo

  20. Happy Cow Day! By now you are probably knee-deep in happy hour with your magnesium citrate. Try not to stray too far from the throne…

    Hey (random thought here), think they will let you have access to the net while you are recovering? While I was in Methodist recovering from my last gig, I lamented not being able to read the latest on territerri and they ponied up a laptop for me…

    We’ll are keeping you and your dad in our thoughts & prayers. Let us know any updates when you can.

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