Monday, March 31, 2008

Church Check-In

Gail felt up to going to church yesterday. We were a little nervous about people welcoming her back too boisterously, so we sort of snuck in late and sat at the back.

It was Dave's last service before his sabbatical, so everybody was there to see him off. As she was welcoming everyone, Heather announced that she had seen Gail and me come into the sanctuary, and that we were back for the first time after Gail's successful kidney and pancreas transplant. The room filled with the sound of people clapping, and then they started stomping their feet (led by the choir, I am sure), and then they all stood up and clapped and cheered some more. They kept clapping for a really long time. It was an incredibly sweet moment and meant so much to us.

We stayed through communion and then left early. Gail was pretty tired but really happy that we went. She rested or slept for the rest of the evening. She was hurting a bit, so she took something stronger than Tylenol, which she rarely does, and that made her feel better. We went out a little this morning, and she has been sleeping most of today.

Tomorrow we go back up to SF for the transplant clinic. I don't think she will get her staples taken out until next week, but her incision is beginning to look very good to me!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Home Sweet Home

We had a very restful night in our own home last night. Gail is feeling well enough to go out to breakfast this morning. We even walked briefly around the farmers market. I bought her some brussels sprouts, which I don't like, but I guess I'll cook them for her. (Yech!)

It is wonderful to be home again. It is wonderful to be typing on a full size keyboard again. I did all the blogging for the last two weeks on my phone, and it wasn't the easiest thing to do. On the other hand, it was way easier than carrying even a laptop around.

We're trying to get organized around here! Enormous quantities of new medications to bring in and a surprising amount of old meds to get rid of somehow. We have a bunch of vials of insulin in the refrigerator taking up space that she doesn't need any more! Other diabetic equipment and supplies as well. It's pretty amazing.

Thanks to all of you yet again for your support. I have about 80 emails saved that we got over the last two weeks. I am going to print them out for Gail to read again. It meant so much to both of us to hear from you!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

We're Comin' Home...Again!

The docs cleared Gail to come home this afternoon. They'll remove the IV and let her go. I am really glad we came up here. She is much stronger and more well rested than she was when we came home before.

She looks so good that it is hard to remember that she has undergone such a huge surgery.

When they remove the IV, it will be the first time in 5 years that she hasn't had a tube of some kind inserted in her body.

I am so happy to bring her home. Again. And better than ever.

C Dif Free

They just popped in and told us that her test for Clostridium Deficile turned out negative, so that is good news.

Now we know one thing that didn't cause her problems. We still don't know what did cause them, but it's a step in the right direction.

But wait! There's more!

Things are very quiet here. Gail is napping. She is still having bouts of diarhea, but she is is on a saline IV so we aren't worried about dehydration.

WWill probably be here till Saturday, but it's fine with us. I have decided that they didn't discharge us on Sunday. They just gave us a 2 day leave for a little R+R. We've come back to finish ourvtour of duty.

Plus we are in a private room and that is infinitely more comfortable.

It's not best hotel we've ever stayed in. But it's not the worst, either!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Small Setback

We are back in UCFS tonight. Gail was having diarhea and vomiting all day. After consulting with her doctor we decided to readmit her so they can give her an IV to be sure she doesn't get dehydrated.

She is a little sad and a little scared, but we are both glad she is here. This way no damage will be done while they figure out what's going on.

Our friend Mary said, That's just what happens.One step forward, one syep backwards, and the tango continues.

And the dance goes on!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Back for our First Check-up

Gail is doing great (how many times have I said that in the last 8 days!!). Her strength comes back a little each day, and she is sleeping well at night. Yesterday I took her to the Medical Clinic here in town for a blood draw. She will have to go in every Monday and every Thursday for the foreseeable future to get blood drawn. The Transplant Team will monitor her this way.

Today we are driving back to San Francisco for her first transplant clinic. We'll do that every week for a couple of weeks and then it will taper off.

We are learning her new medical regimen which mainly involves the ingestion of 17 or 18 different drugs at various times of the day. It is definitely doable, and will soon be second nature. At the moment, it is taking quite a bit of concentration and much fumbling of papers.

Headed home

Headed home
Originally uploaded by gr8what
Gail came home on March 23rd wearing the socks Sarah knitted for her so many months ago. She is doing great. Our deepest thanks go out to all of you who wrote and called and visited. Your support made all the difference!

And words cannot express our gratitude to the person and his or her family who donated her new kidney and pancreas. The expanse of our joy was deepened by your sacrifice.

Look ma! No central line in my neck!!

We measured the success each day by how many lines and tubes were removed. This was a great day, because the central line was removed.

She walks!

She walks!
Originally uploaded by gr8what
Notice she has her glasses on! Nothing wakes you up quite like having your glasses on!

She did a good amount of walking around on the floor, building up her strength so she can come home. Everywhere she went, she had to drag the IV pole around, so that sort of slowed her down a little.


Originally uploaded by gr8what
Here is Gail a day or two after surgery! She is out of the ICU and in a regular patient room on 9 Long, the kidney/pancreas/liver transplant unit. She has an oxygen tube, a nasal/grastro tube (to keep her stomach empty), and a central line into her neck to deliver drugs.

In the ICU

In the ICU
Originally uploaded by gr8what
Here is a picture from March 17th or 18th. Gail is in the ICU, sitting up. She has many inscrutable tubes going in her and out of her. She enjoyed having friends visit her, even tho she got pooped out pretty quickly!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

And then...

The doctor just took the dialysis catheter out after 17 months. That is a huge deal. Having it removed is like the closing parenthesis.

He tild her to be sure not to get dehydrated. "Be sure you eat plenty of salt and drinks lots of fluids" he said, to our amazement and amusement.

I think we wull head home around 6 this evening.


Gail is doing great. She still has one IV in, but it's not hooked up to anything. She is free to get up and walk or pee or anything she wants without pulling the IV pole behind her.

She looks better than she has in a very ling time.

Her blood sugar after brekfast was 120!!! Normal!

We are pretty sure she'll go home today. They are going to to take the dialysis catheter out this afternoon, and we wikk see how she is feeling after that.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Saturday Morning

They took the central line out of her neck late last night and they are going to take the remaining IV out today. They have cleared her to start drinking liquids.

Not much else to do but send her home tomorrow!

Poop Happens

And when poop happens, nose tubes can be removed. And life is easier without a tube up your nose.

After last night's hard time, today was much easier. She got a bed bath and felt much better.

She still isn't taking anything by mouth, but that should happen very soon.

Much progress today along with three visits from three dear friends, right when we needed them the most.

Friday Morning

Gail had a rough night. Now that the foley catheter is out, she has to get up and pee every two or three hours so her sleep is disturbed.

The night nurse was nice but scattered. She was emptying Gail's drains and did something that suddenly hurt her. It surprised her as well as hurt her and that was upsetting.

Then in the middle of the night, she got up to pee and got chilled and couldn't stop shivering. So that scared her.

The euphoria of the transplant is beginning to fade, and the grind of recuperation is beginning.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thursday Afternoon

Things continue to go well.

They removed the foley catheter, so Gail is more comfortable now. She walked for about 20 minutes and even climbed a short set of stairs. We are feeling very confident about her being able to climb the stairs at home.

The only thing we are worried about now is the puppies trampolining off her belly, as they sometimes do in their doggy excitement.

Her pancreas is still sluggish. She went down for an ultrasound this afternoon to be sure there aren't any problems.

More Good News

The docs just came in and said she's doing good. We are still waiting for her to pass gas, which means her digestive system is working.

They said they are planning to send her home on Sunday!

Woo hoo!

Day 3, 8 pm

Things are still going well. Gail looks good and she walked around a little this afternoon. She felt very proud of herself.

A friend of ours visited who saw Gail a couple of weeks ago. She said she looks much better now than she did then, before the surgery!

I agree. Her color is good, her eyes are bright, and she is sleepy but not exhausted. That's a big change!

They took the bandages off today. It is a very long incision right up the middle of her belly. I took a photo if you want to see. It's interesting in a gruesome sort of way!

One of the nurses began giving us instructions on how to live after transplant, which mostly consists of what meds to take when, and on how to recognise infection and rejection. It's not as complicated as we feared it would be. We can do this.

It was also the first time in many years that we have been the recipients of a presentation about the importance of safe sex. That was fairly amusing.

Lots of you have sent emails and they are wonderful. Thank you so much!

Wednesday, Day 3, 11 am

Gail continues to do very well. She slept well and she looks great. They will make her start walking around today, which I think she is both looking forward to and dreading at the same time.

I have been reading your emails to her and she loves them.

Unfortunately, I don't have time to respond to each one, so I hope this thanks will suffice for now.

We are filled with gratitude!

Day 2

Gail is in her regular room now. It is blissfully quieter than the ICU.

She is still hooked up to lots of tubes doing inscrutable things, but she is in no pain thanks to the wonders of modern day pharmacology.

Her dad and Mary came today, and Cheryl and Kathy and then Dave. It was great to see them but it did wear her out.

She has been sleeping since she got here.

And the second day was good too.

Still good.. She hasn't had

Still good.. She hasn't had any insulin and her blood sugar is dropping, so we are very happy.

She is getting ready to sit up for the first time

Day 2 I just saw

Day 2

I just saw Gail this morning and she is doing fine. They will probably move her out of intensive care today. She is still very groggy.

Monday, March 17, 2008

So her blood sugar is

So her blood sugar is dropping, that means her new pancreas is working. Gail has been a diabetic for 35 years. And now she's not.


She's out! The doc called.

She's out!

The doc called. The surgery went well. Very little loss of blood. And get this! He said the organs are both working already!

Gail has been in surgery

Gail has been in surgery for four hours with two to go.

I am feeling supremely confident that everything is going to work out great. It's good

They took Gail into the

They took Gail into the OR at about 6 am. The doc said the surgery will take about six hours. We didn't get much sleep, but she looked good.

It looks now like Gail

It looks now like Gail will go into surgery at 4 or 5 this morning. Then she'll be in the ICU for a day or two.

So far so good.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Call! There we were

The Call!

There we were having a bowl of gumbo (me) and a grill cheese sandwich (Gail) when the transplant center called this afternoon.

We drove to UCSF and we are sitting in a room waiting for things to happen.

it could still be a false alarm, but so far so good.

you can send us email at

Friday, March 07, 2008

Racing Stripes

Racing Stripes
Originally uploaded by gr8what
And here is a picture of it from the side.

I haven't chosen to give it a name yet. Any suggestions?

MINI at the Beach

MINI at the Beach
Originally uploaded by gr8what
Look what I got!!

It's red! It's cute! It's just like my Vespa except I can drive it in the rain and it won't give me "hat hair!"

I'm a happy camper!