Here are some photos Ted took during last Saturday’s dry run…
Sarah, Mom and I in the hospital room on 7-West at University Hospital. I got the call at home around 4:30pm last Saturday and headed to the hospital within an hour or so. Usually there is not a huge rush to get to the hospital because it takes a long time to procure the donor lungs. My Mom picked me up and Sarah picked up Ted and we met at 7-West. We all missed my Dad tremendously. Had he been there, he would have flashed us his trademark grins and kept us lively with his enthusiasm. As my Mom said, he was with us in spirit.
It wasn’t just the event that brought him to mind. The University Hospital surgical waiting room doubles as the ICU waiting room. In ’98, my family waited for me there while I underwent my first transplant. Almost exactly a year ago, we waited there until we could see my Dad in the ICU. And now, my Mom, sister and brother would be waiting there during my second transplant. I always say (and believe) that I have the easiest job. The docs put me under and I wake up with a new lung. The hard part is being in that waiting room.
Wackiness did ensue at times. We would end up spending about four hours in the room on 7-West. For the first couple hours, I was still riding on an adrenaline high. We probably all were. As you can tell, I’ve changed out of my street clothes into a hospital-issue gown. Normally, I refuse to wear hospital gowns. I decided the day they are operating on you is the exception. However, next time I’ll wear sweats until I leave for pre-op.
Ted and I, the one photo he did not take. The chief cardiothoracic surgeon (Dr. G, who was my surgeon in ’98) called my room and told me the donor lung was out-of-state. He was about to get on a plane to go check it out.
First blood. I indicate where they stuck me for some blood tests. The cardiothoracic surgeon who would be the #2 surgeon for my surgery spoke with us for a few minutes. He said we could expect surgery to last four to six and a half hours. Shorter than my double-lung was in ’98 but longer than a standard single lung because of scar tissue and other issues. He said they were planning on going in through the left side of my old scar, which was interesting. I thought I’d be getting a new scar. (Part of it will be new.)
Ted gets artsy, Sarah and Mom from my POV. Note the clock. Early on, we were told I’d be moving to pre-op between eight and nine. Not long after this pic was taken, we got the word, “Off to pre-op!”
Nurse Shannon gives me some meds as I’m wheeled out of my 7-West room.
My triumphant departure from 7-West!
Mom gives me last minute advice in the elevator on the way to pre-op. We waited in pre-op for about 45 minutes. The surgical nurse gave us the rundown as far as what to expect and the anesthesiologist was about to start a line in my arm when a couple surgeons arrived. Bad news. The donor lung was badly bruised and could not be used. The bruise had not shown up in the x-ray but was revealed upon closer inspection.
This led to my not-so-triumphant return to 7-West, where I got my street clothes back on and we all went home. We were all mentally and physically exhausted and I think we all slept well that night thanks to sheer fatigue.
This was my second dry run. The first was back in September 2005. Let’s hope the third time is the charm!