God of second chances – thank you!!
From the moment last Tuesday morning when I said goodbye in my “waiting” hospital Ward to an emotional Jan, the Polish seaman who was being treated for pneumonia contracted off the Atlantic coast, until the wee hours of Wednesday nite-Thursday morning, I remember absolutely nothing. And my initial experiences of consciousness were not great, pipes all over my body, unable to speak, desperately thirsty.
But I was wonderfully alert to being alive. And the nursing staff were /ARE fantastic, coaxing & medicating me thru those initial hours. By the time my family arrived, the main pipe into my chest had been removed & I was able to speak, shocked to realise I had been out for the count for 2-&-a-half days, and wildly loopy, having compelling reminiscences about stuff that hadn’t happened.
Every day since then has been a definite milestone & the knowledge and experience of the medical staff has been a balm during the tough moments – like having to take some time to learn to walk because my leg muscles have just shrivelled into nothingness. I’m slowly regaining muscle mass – & some non-muscle stuff.
When I arrived back in Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, I weighed 73 kg & I’ve written elsewhere that that weight has never been on a scale I’ve been standing on since varsity days. Today at 6am – the official regulation time when nurses in SA take you to the big scale to be weighed, I was 81 kg, which sounds fine although I am probably carrying more water than I should.
Last night I left the intensive care unit Ward for an isolation ward where I shall be until early next week when I will be discharged. I’m told there are two other transplant patients adjacent but I have no details. Fighting infection & rejection of the “foreign” organs in our respective bodies is the biggest challenge we all face. I’ve been able to give up some of my prior medicines but the cocktail to deal with these new challenges will be fairly significant, dare I say severe.
When I started to write about my experience of heart failure & possible treatments, I thought it might be useful information for others to avoid them struggling to access basic facts. And there has been much positive feedback from many of you. There’s also the opportunity to promote organ donations and I shall be zealous about that objective.
But I’m breathing, enjoying every intake of blood that is pumped thru my body. I’m fully aware of the miracle which has taken place in my life and, in my family. We really have been blessed.
As always though, there are unintended consequences which just blow one’s mind. The love and support of so many across various spheres & thru various channels is phenomenal, just literally carrying me and the family thru every day.
I am also immensely touched by the sensitive nature of the people I respect & care for towards the act of donation & the incredible gift offered by the family of the person who’s heart pumps in my chest. I will return to this subject again, no doubt & will individually respond to each of you.
For now, thank you God, thank you to my donor’s family and thank you to all of you for standing in my corner & being part of this second chance.