Thursday, July 15, 2010

so happy

I received a call this afternoon from Weill-Cornell with wonderful news - I passed all my medical tests! I almost peed my pants when the coordinator told me, but I didn't, I shed a few tears of joy instead. I didn't expect to hear from them so soon, so when I saw the 'missed call' on my phone, from Marian (the coordinator), I wasn't sure what to expect when I listened to the voice mail. I returned the call to find that everything looks good and I have great kidney function! YIPPIE.

I didn't even have enough time to write a post on my big day there. So sit back and relax and I'm going to share with you my experience. What a great day it was - it far exceeded my expectations, with the exception of the crappy weather. I departed home at 5am on the dot and arrived at the hospital with only 15 minutes to spare for my first 9am appointment. I was so impressed with the fluidity of the appointments. I know I didn't have to wait more than 10 minutes between each one.

Appt. #1: I started with meeting Marian at 9am. She went over the basics of this process, I filled out some paperwork and she confirmed with me my itinerary for the day. Marian was very nice, informative and thorough.

Appt. #2: I met with a nurse and dumped off the 2 jugs of urine I had been schlepping around with me since daybreak. Ugh, what an awkward feeling walking around with a borrowed NASCAR cooler filled with iced-up urine. The nurse then proceeded to take 13, (yes, 13) vials of blood from me. I counted them. EW! I then was asked to pee yet once again and waited to see one of the kidney doctors.

Appt. #3: I met with a kidney doctor, and forgive me but I don't remember his name. Nice man, who asked me many questions about my health history, my motivations to become a donor, family history and some basic personal questions. He went over the basics of the surgery and filled me in on what might possibly be a minor setback with regards to a kidney infection I had about 18 years ago. He mentioned the possibility of scarring, but in the same breath told me I have great kidney funtion. The CT Scan would provide the results of that. He listened to my heart, tapped me here and there and I was done.

Appt. #4: I met with Samantha, the social worker. I again fill out more paperwork and we chatted for about 20 minutes or so about my desire to be a donor and I answered her questions about my personal life, medical history, etc. She too was kind and informative and I felt very comfortable sharing so much of myself with her.

Appt. #5: I still have not eaten, nor have I had a drink of anything since the night before. I feel a headache coming on and more than anything, I just want a drink of water. This appointment was for my EKG. I have never had an EKG. Honestly, it took her longer to put the sensors on my chest than it did for her to operate the instrument that provided the test results. No sooner did I have my shirt off than she told me to put it back on. I seriously don't think I was in there for more than 4-5 minutes. Love this!

Appt. #6: Now I'm getting really excited. Why? Because when I'm finished with this one, I'm going to eat my left arm. I am so hungry now and am very anxious for this next test. It's a CT-Scan. I didn't wait more than 5 minutes for this one as well. I actually felt a little weird because there were many people in this particular waiting room and I cut in front of each one them. Hey, they called my name - you don't have to tell me twice! I lay on a table and it slides into this x-ray type of device. I'm hooked up to an IV and am told that soon they will begin the transfer of the dye, through the IV, that enables the equipment to read the x-ray. She told me that I would feel like I peed my pants. Can we just get off the pee stuff for a while, please? Well, it did feel like I peed my pants. Ew! That exam was probably the longest, approximately 20 minutes or so, but not uncomfortable at all.

Appt. #7: Chest x-ray. Quick and painless! I finish, get dressed and inhale the Soy Joy bar(s) I had packed in my bag. I ate them so fast that I don't even remember what they tasted like.

At this point I have one more appointment scheduled for the day, but it's not until 5pm, and it's only 1:30! I call me niece and her boyfriend and ask them to come back to the hospital to meet me for lunch. They hustled back, in the downpour, and within 20 minutes they arrived soaked literally head to toe. I felt SO bad, and yet there was nothing I could do. We swam across the street to a deli and had a great salad and sat down for a while to catch up on the day's events. They walked me back to the hospital and were soon off to search for an H&M store to purchase some dry clothes. My heart was sad because I felt so bad for them in their discomfort.

I decided to visit the psychiatrist's office in which my 5:00 appt. was scheduled for, in hopes that I just might be able to squeeze in sooner. No such luck, but he was kind and told me to come back at 4:45. I went back downstairs and hung out in a nice, comfortable chair in the main lobby and read my Esquire. I dozed off for about 15 minutes but found that the many distractions prevented me from getting some serious Z's. At 4:00 I found a cafeteria that offered Starbucks and washed down yet another Soy Joy bar with some hi-test.

My view from the lobby of Weill-Cornell - all afternoon!

Appt. #8 Of all the appointments scheduled for the day, this next visit with the psychiatrist was really the only one that I felt slightly anxious about. When I know someone is examining my mind instead of my body, I get the heebie-jeebies. Dr. Loftus was so kind. What a great visit I had with him. We chatted for quite a while and although the conversation touched on many personal elements of my life, I felt completely comfortable with him. I was honest and felt like I learned more about the donor transplant process from him than I had with any others I had met earlier in the day. I truly enjoyed my time with him and it was the perfect experience for me to end my day of exams.

I don't know how I could have done it all without the companionship of my wonderful niece and her caring boyfriend. A special thanks goes out to Amber and Nick for being with me on what was to be such an important day for me. They were so flexible and supportive, offering their ears to listen to my updates, and providing me with a belly laugh at their sarcastic commentary. I love those two!

My niece Amber providing me with humor in the waiting room

I arrived back home in Albany at around 9:30. Long day, but a good long day. Information overload, lots of stimulus, lots of learning, and lots of thinking. I felt so good and relieved to have experienced so much in such a short period of time. I never dreamed I would be getting a phone call so quickly to let me know that all the poking and prodding paid off, big time!

I feel blessed today. I feel so fortunate that God has given me a body that has the ability to share something that is so precious to me, with another person that so desperately needs a slice of good health.

Until next time... take a break from your computer for a day, it will offer you some added time to share with a friend.