To ER I Go

Sunday, January 3, 2010

As I sit here surveying the massive amount of Christmas decor I have yet to pack up, I
definitely feel more up to posting a blog. :) Our holidays were wonderful. Finn's first Christmas
season was much fun for all. His Aunt Kylee and Uncle Rob got to spend the week of Christmas
here in town with us and the rest of Zac's family, which we throughly enjoyed. Two days after
Christmas I begin feeling feverish and achey. By the time I took a rest around 1:00 p.m. I was
feeling so terrible that I couldn't sleep. Since one of the first signs of rejection is fever, I am
supposed to call the clinic anytime that I run a temp that is 99.9 or higher. I called and spoke
with Dr. Ventura, and he told me that if it continued to go up that I would have to come in to
the hospital. Well, long story short - my fever continued going up and by the time we decided
that I should go in, I could not even sit up to change out of my pajamas. We went straight to
the Ochsner ER, where there was a 163 minute wait! However, being a transplant patient I was
made top priority and only had to wait about 10 - 15 minutes while found me a bed in the ER
and contacted TSU about going up there. My temp. topped out around 101.9, and the body
aches were excruciating. It took almost two hours to get my IV put in, blood work and cultures
drawn, and IV pain killers going. Everyone there thought for sure that it was the flu, and I did
as well. Let me tell you, being “stuck” in the hospital is not so bad when you feel like hell. This
was not near as frustrating as last time. I continued to have and severe headache through the
next day but the pain Dilaudid took care of the body aches. My blood work and test results
showed no evidence of the flu or any virus! I was very glad to hear this and that it wasn’t
caused by anything heart related. It was my Prograf level. Prograf is an immunosuppressant that
I take twice a day. Everyone’s liver metabolizes it differently; therefore, the doses are adjusted
regularly to accommodate your own body needs. When I have blood work drawn, this the main
level that they check. Typically, we like to see it around 9 - 13. It has gotten up to 23 before
and that was major; my dose had to be adjusted. When the level gets too high it can cause
liver and kidney damage and other physical ailments. Well, my level the night that I checked in
was 65!!! Dr. Mandras and Cindy both said that they had never seen a level this high before -
period. Dr. Mandras also added that I typically at a level like that I should have been seizing.
Once again, my body compensated and all that it managed to do was make me feel like hell for
a day or two. My headaches continued, and when my level was checked again it was still in the
40s. She released me after two nights, and cut my Prograf dose in half. I go to lab in the
morning to see how the level looks on the new dose. On Tuesday, I have my echo-guided
biopsy and clinic visits. If everything looks good I will get to come down on the steroids again!
The swelling is coming down a bit finally. I am 1/4 of the amount of steroids that I was on to
begin with thank goodness. I am also hopeful that she will clear me to begin cardiac rehab and
will be able to exercise and begin getting my strength back up: you wouldn’t believe what two
months in the hospital will do to your arms and legs. Sometimes I forget that I can’t do certain
things yet that I used to take for granted like getting up out of a chair or couch, bending over,
lifting, etc. How about this: a while back I dropped a ponytail holder on the bathroom floor and
then squatted down to get it without thinking - and I was stuck there. Thankfully, Zac happened
to be within shouting distance and was able to lift me painfully from the waist, since you can’t
pull or tug on my arms either because of the sternum precautions. That was not so embarrassin
g. However, just before I left the hospital Beth had brought me some of Target’s Monster Trail
Mix. It is soooo good! Anyway, I knocked it onto the floor of my hospital one night around 1:00
a.m. or so while I was watching T.V., so I had to get up and find a pair of gloves then clean it
up by supporting myself with the bed and not bending my knees. Of course that is when nurse
tech came in to take my vitals and blood sugar. Plus, I had already picked up most of the raisins
and nuts, so it just looked pathetic - scrambling around on the floor for M & Ms and chocolate