Sunday, January 29, 2012

What it feels like to be a Lab Rat

Day 2 was the big day for appointments, I had 8 on the schedule that they gave me, so we were going to be running like crazy, we had to show up at 8 am and the last appt. started at 3 so it was going to be a full day.   So we woke up at 7, left the hotel at 7:35 and made it to the hospital on time, which is really quite an accomplishment for Kate and me.

The day started with Labs and an EKG, which were pretty uneventful, just drawing blood and putting a bunch of suction cups on your chest for the EKG.  The only thing is at this point I had an IV from the day before and now they are drawing blood again from pretty much the same location, after drawing it at least 3 or 4 times the day before, so I’m starting to look like a drug addict.
Next we met with the social worker, and Kate and I decided that basically a lot of these people’s job is to try to talk you out of donating, which I guess is a good thing, they are just trying to make sure you know what you are in for.  I think if more pre-marriage counselors took this approach there might be less divorces.   She asked us a lot of questions and at one point had to ask Kate to stop answering so she could be sure I knew the situation. 
After that we met with our transplant coordinator, this is the first time we had met her even though we had communicated a lot by email.  We had to watch a 40 minute video that took us through the process of donating and what that looked like, it was very informative, for me it was a lot of review since I had done thorough research on what the process was going to be like, however it was really good for Kate since she hadn’t researched as much as I had
Finally we are on to some of the real tests, at 11am I was scheduled for a renal ultrasound, or basically an ultrasound of my kidneys this test is to find out the shape and location of my kidneys, or to make sure I wasn’t pregnant I’m not exactly sure, but this is the second time in my life I have had an ultrasound, I’d rather not go into the first but this experience was much better.  Didn’t take very long and wasn’t very intrusive.  The next step was a chest x-ray, not 100% sure what the purpose of this test was, but once again no problem and done very quickly.  I will say that I was really impressed with how quickly these procedures went off and how on schedule we were.
Now my next appt at 1 was with the Nephrologist, and at 2 we had an appt with the Financial Coordinator, but the more interesting part was I couldn’t have anything to eat or drink after one o’clock  for the CT, it’s really not that long but when you are talking to so many people you get thirsty pretty quickly.
At the nephrologist we got our first piece of information to be concerned about, my labs had come back and my iron level was low, not anemic but for a young (ok I know I’m not that young) man it shouldn’t be that low, so we were going to have to redo the labs in the morning. He thought with all the blood that had been taken they could be getting a false reading and we would worry about it more tomorrow.  He also informed us of what the procedure was going to be like, and did his best to talk us out of it to make sure we were sure about what we were doing.   The financial coordinator was uneventful just gave us the information on the procedure, Ashley’s insurance would pay for all of my medical bills, but not for any of the travel, we are lucky that Ashley has been taking donations to help with that, and that I am able to use FMLA and sick time from work.
Finally the last procedure of the day, I am just as worn out writing about it as I was that day going through all of this.  The last step was the CT, which I was worried I was going to have to drink one of those thick glasses of stuff that I saw other people fighting down all day.  But they let me know that they were going to inject me with the dye, so they take you back to this big room, and lay you down on the table by the machine, it wasn’t a full body scan so it wasn’t anywhere near as claustrophobic as you see on TV.  I was only getting one done of my midsection up to my chest.  When they shoot the dye into you it makes your whole body warm and makes it feel like you have peed your pants, they warn you about this but it is still very surprising when it happens, and you really want to check to make sure you didn’t but you aren’t allowed to move. 
The procedure went well and we were done for the day, this would be our longest day of tests so we thought we were on the downhill stretch now but we weren’t quite prepared for the surprises we would get on day 3. 
Kate’s friend Liz from Asheville had come into town on Tuesday evening.  It was good for Kate to have someone else to talk to since I am not a very good patient and was getting asked so many different questions by so many different people that I had used up all my words for the day.  We went to dinner at outback to eat some red meat and to get my iron levels up for the tests tomorrow and someone (probably Kate’s Parents) had given us a gift card.  That concludes the marathon that was day 2 and now we are preparing for what we were expecting to be an easier day 3 with only 3 appointments but you know what happens when you assume, and if you don’t I’m not telling you.

1 comment:

  1. All I can say is - I think you and Kate are pretty extraordinary. You make me believe in honor again. And maybe even miracles.

    Wishing you a Wonderfully Iron Man Day 3.