Friday, 11 November 2011

Two more days

image via weheartit

Just two more days and it would have been too late.

Yesterday my Mum told me that she was talking to one of my doctors with MR after my operation and he told her that my liver was so badly damaged that if we had to wait another two days for a donor liver it would have been too late.  He likened it to a skeleton leaf, apart from one very small section that was still semi-functioning, all that was left of my liver were the veins.


I had no idea it was that bad.

The days leading up to the operation are missing, lost in the fog as my body and brain attempted to cope with rising levels of toxicity that my liver could no longer handle.  I couldn't tell you what day or year it was, when my birthday was, I could barely remember any details about anything.

I have a fragmented memory of the one of the nurses coming in to tell me that they had a liver for me and then of us trying to call family and MR to let them know.  I couldn't remember any phone numbers and it was very early in the morning.  No one was picking up their phones.  I remember being really stressed that I wouldn't see MR before surgery.  The doctors were worried because I wasn't allowed to sign the forms for the surgery (due to state of brain confusion) and no one had arrived yet to sign them and they wanted to take me to theatre.  I remember asking every person I saw if I could have a drink of water (no) just a small sip? (no) can I just wet my mouth? (no).  I remember being so relieved when my Dad and MR arrived.  And then I wanted my sister.  No one had phoned her.  Oops.  I only have vague snippets of going into the operating theatre and hardly anything of being in intensive care recovery afterwards.

I think I am quite grateful for not really having these memories.

I am definitely grateful for my family and MR and his family who do have the memories and had to deal with all the stress of me being very sick, juggling work, life and managing to fit in practically daily hospital visits for over a month.  I am so very lucky to have them.

There is also immense gratefulness to MR who has taken carer's leave and has been looking after me since I got out of hospital.  The first few nights I woke him up practically every hour for assistance in getting up and out of bed so I could go to the toilet.  He has been cooking me dinner, washing dishes (his pet hate), washing clothes, inspecting wounds and scars, changing dressings, going for very slow walks up and down the street with me and many many many other things, all without a single complaint. 

And I am tremendously neverendingly grateful for my donor and their family for giving me the gift of life.  Words cannot express quite how honoured and lucky I feel.

Finally, I am grateful for the excellent team of surgeons, doctors and nurses who looked after me.   I am quite sure I was a fairly dreadful patient at times, although I would like to blame the toxicity in my brain and resulting confusion for most of it.  I took in five dozen Krispy Kreme donuts (bought through a fundraiser my Dad did, we don't have Krispy Kremes here in WA) to the ward last week when I had a check up to say thank you to everyone.  You don't realise quite how much nurses have to deal with until you are stuck in a hospital bed, unable to do anything at all for yourself. 

More gratefulness over here.


Wendy Sice said...

As Dawn French would say, Oh. My. Actual. God.

I guess you're feeling a bit better about that big t scar after finding out how much you needed it.


Baa-Me Kniits said...

Wendy's comment says it all, wear that badge with pride...goodness lucky you. It must be quite humbling actually?

Michelle said...

You are a very lucky girl. I'm grateful that your sharing these brave, scary, times with us so that I can tell you that I'm grateful you got that liver and are here with us now x

CurlyPops said...

2 more days. That is soooooo scary. Unimaginable.

Even now, I'm still freaking out that I got a call so soon, because deep down (even thought I won't way it loud) I know that it's because I really need new lungs soon.

I feel horrible about what my family is going to have to go through as well. I don't know how I'll ever be able to thank them.

Thanks so much for writing about your experience.

Sally said...

F*ck says it better I think!!!

So much to process. I'm so glad you're still here with us. Two more days hey. F*CK!!!

Tammy said...

Such a miracle...
Hope things are doing well now.

Mum on the Run said...

Woah. Woah. Woooooah.
Now that is a grateful.

I'm in awe of your strength and amazed by your story.

2paw said...

Death can be quiet confronting. Thank goodness for MR, family and friends and definitely all the staff at the hospital. I can assure you, they take it all in their stride and you would have been a lovely patient to nurse!!
Being grateful has been found to have a very positive effect on the immune system and also helps you to be mentally well. Being grateful is something I do too, you have Silver Linings, I play The Glad Game from Pollyanna!!

Michelle said...

Hi! I am reading your blog posts about your transplant surgery now thanks to a beautiful post that Sally wrote tonight about donations.

I had a health scare last year (to put it mildly) with my gallbladder which caused jaundice and liver failure. It's called Mirrizzi's Syndrome and is all about a gallstone blocking my bile duct. Sounds so innocent. Luckily they solved the problem with major surgery which saved my liver and my life. I came so close to dying. Reading your story has been eye opening, and while it reopens bad memories (the brain fog! OMG! So bad, even now) it's good to remember these things so I can value life even more.

I don't even know if that made sense. Sorry - I tend to ramble.

I'm so impressed with your scar. I think only a fellow scar victim could admire such a scar. They did a beautiful job. I should show a photo to my surgeon - he's deeply embarrassed by how they left my wound, but given it started out laparoscopically and then became emergency open surgery, and they had to effectively "join the dots" between holes, I guess it's not too bad. Plus I'm overweight and they took my staples out too early, forgetting about the "gravity factor" of my stomach pulling down on the wound. I wear my revolting scar now as a badge of honour. It's strange to be proud of a scar like I have, but I think sometimes it's the only way I can cope with what's happened!

Thank you so much for posting about your liver transplant. I hope you are feeling better now, I really do.

Michelle xx