It’s been a while, I know. To recap real quickly, I finished my semester! Woohoo! I checked for my grade everyday like a
nutty obsessive fool. I knew my grades were not going to be as great as my first semester…but not too bad overall. I got two A’s, a B, and a C+. I know, the C+ killed me, I wanted to cry…but considering that it was my toughest class, I will take it with a smile and much gratitude. I am ashamed to say, my GPA of 3.75 dropped to 3.53…but as J said, considering my environment and all I had going on, it is a really good GPA.
So after my semester, I read like a mad woman. I’ve been reading one book in a day and a half. For my book club, we’re doing Lori Foster’s SBC fighters series (my favorite, Sublime). OMG. I LOVE my SBC fighters (don’t judge me, I don’t drink or do drugs or go on *irrational* shopping binges…romance novels are my guilty pleasure)…I’ve read the series a few years ago, and when I suggested it at book club (because we LOVE Lori), we agreed to give it a go. And re-reading it now still gives me heart palpitations. What is it about MMA fighters that makes me swoon…I am really looking forward to our next meeting!
M & I joined our friends and did a 5k run called Color Me Rad. It was A TON of fun. We got sprayed and pelted with colorful cornstarch every 1k or so, by the time we got to the finish line, we were a colorful, beautiful mess! This is M’s second 5k run, and I’m SO uber proud of my little baby. She actually ran it and really had fun!
Color Me Rad – the AFTER
Ok, that brings us the this week. On Thursday, after I picked up M from school, on our way home I get a phone call from J. The first words out of his mouth were, “The hospital called me.” And of course, I go into panic mode, “Why?! What’s wrong?!” and a million scenarios run through my head in that split second. It turns out that the hospital had a liver for my dad. It was from an 86 year old gentleman. They would run the biopsy and as they await the results, they want to know if we want it.
SO. Of course, my emotions kick in. As I’m talk to J getting the info., I’m in tears sitting in CVS’s parking lot with M asking me if I was ok. I don’t hide from Madison when I cry, we are all human and if we feel like crying, there is no shame in it. I don’t want her to think Mommy is a robot or that since Mommy doesn’t cry, maybe it’s not ok for me to cry. No. It is ok to f’ing cry…I cry all the time…ok, no I don’t, but I do cry. Anyway, I said yes, I’m ok and bless my baby’s little heart, she waited so patiently until I got off the phone to ask me what’s wrong. Granted, she could hear what J is saying through the BlueTooth in the car, but she doesn’t interrupt.
Back to the story. *Sorry, I tend to get off topic* My initial reaction after emotions kick in is YES, WE’LL TAKE IT! But the slightly more rational side of me demands that I make some quick phone calls. One, call my parents. Two, ask J to call my friend who is a geriatric doctor and ask for her opinion. Three, call my dad’s oncologist and ask for his opinion. I get off the phone with J and then M comes out with the inquisition:
Why are you crying? Because I’m really emotional right now. The hospital called Daddy and told him, there is a donor liver available for grandpa. So he can get a transplant. Remember I told you grandpa has an unhealthy liver because of the caner tumors? Well, the doctors wanted him to have a liver transplant to make him healthier.
What’s a transplant? It is when they take a body part, an organ, from one person and put it in another person to help them.
What’s a donor? A person who donates. In this case, the liver donor is a gentleman.
Where is the gentleman now? *SIGH* The donor past away, baby…he’s in Heaven now.
I feel like I’ve said too much. But I don’t want to lie, and M sometimes can be either very detached and unaffected (not insensitive but just like, Oh…ok and moves on), or very inquisitive and concerned. This was not the latter. I will talk to her more about it later on, but for now, she seems ok. I’ve answered her questions to her satisfaction.
Anyway, J rushed home, thankfully it was 2:30 in the afternoon so there wasn’t much traffic. We also had the HVAC guys here installing our new unit since 9am! Luckily, my sister and my baby niece came down to hang out with us. So she had to stay with the HVAC guys until they were done and took M to her house to spend the night. While J & I took my parents and rushed to the hospital…poor J just rushed home from the city and to now literally turn back around and head BACK out in rush hour traffic. My anxiety was killing me. We had to be at the hospital at a certain time frame, it’s not like they can keep the liver or OR waiting.
We get off the GWB and were FIVE, FIVE…1, 2, 3, 4, FIVE miles from the hospital and the f’ing GPS said 25 minutes. The hospital is calling us every few minutes, Jay’s phone, my dad’s phone to ask us how far we were. It was bananas. I never hated traffic more. To know that we were so f’ing close and all this traffic stood between us and a liver transplant.
We get to the hospital and J drops us off so he can go park. We rush upstairs and like droves, the transplant team was on him. We walked in and it was non-stop.
*Mr. C? *Yes! We made it! Sorry we’re so late, the traffic was terrible. *Come with us. We have 40 mins until the OR.
OMG. Deep breathes. He couldn’t even go pee, poor guy had to hold it until they got his blood work. EKG, lab work, X-Rays, etc. As one of the doctors said, this may seem chaotic and scary, but it’s organized chaos. While I spoke with the doctors, trying to grasp this, my dad is cool as a cucumber! Dr. L kept asking if we had any questions but at the time, I really didn’t. Dr. L (I must say, he is one good looking surgeon! Ok, ok, I’m sorry, back to the event) tells us, It will be a 6-8 hour surgery. He will be here for about 7-10 days depending on his recovery. After surgery, he will be moved to Surgical ICU and we will not wake him until later on the evening since we will be going in tonight and won’t be done until tomorrow morning. We might even wait to wake him the following day. There is a chance of an infection and even a chance of death.
Wow, party pooper, huh?
My dad gets changed, goes with Dr. L down to Xray and we walk with the nurse to the holding area. Our nurse is awesome, very straight forward and kind lady…funny as heck, too. She shows us where to wait for him from Xray and where to wait for him while he’s in surgery. Told us to go get food while he’s in surgery since it’ll be a long night, and then bid us goodnight and told us she’ll see us in the morning. It made my heart warm and fuzzy because she said, don’t worry, he’s in good hands, he’ll be fine…I’ll see you in the morning. Something about her simple (perhaps even automatic) statement had some calming effects.
My dad comes back, the anesthesiologist comes to chat with us. She gives him his IV fluids. Explained that he will get two IVs, one for fluids, one for anesthesia and once he’s under, they will put a catheter in his neck for the full effect. He will also have a breathing tube fed in because it is such a long surgery. And they will not remove it until he is awake and they see that he is strong enough to breathe on his own. So they don’t want him to panic when he wakes up and sees/feels a tube in his throat and tubes/IVs in him, etc. Even after all this, he is still so calm. My God, I would be a damn hot mess.
We wait and wait in this holding area. It looks like a less restrictive ICU. Many beds with a central command center. Once in a while, the automatic doors will open in the end and if the timing is right, if the other door opens when someone is exiting or entering, I can look in and see the actual OR where they were ACTUALLY performing surgery! I nearly passed out. Bright light and people in paper scrubs & blue bouffants (as it is so oddly called as per the box of them staring at me next to my dad’s bed for 3 hours) looking down at something.
So…we met with two of the surgeons and the anesthesiologist. Dr. L comes back and explains that it may be another 40 mins. because while the liver is here, Dr. R who would perform the actual surgery (Dr. L is the fellow doctor who will assist in the transplant) is looking over the liver to be sure. The doctor who removed the liver was a little concerned with the vein but Dr. R wants to look at it now that it is here. We wait.
11PMish, Dr. L comes back and breaks the news. We are not going to use the liver. I thought for a second that I had dozed off and was dreaming. So I come to full attention and for some reason, for the first time tonight, he doesn’t look at me when he’s talking. He looks at J. From the moment I met him when we walked in, he looked me in the eyes and talked to me…even after J showed up and introduced himself. Dr. L always looked at me and spoke while looking in my eyes. And when he made this declaration, I almost wanted to hug him and say, it’s ok…
So there you have it. The doctors rejected the liver. Dr. R came out and talked to us for a while, explained that while age doesn’t effect the liver, it was a healthy liver…the vein was a different story. It was too fragile and would not have made it through the transplant. Did I want to cry, yes. Were we devastated…no. When my dad happily shook Dr. R’s hand, I saw he was ok. He wasn’t torn up or angry or upset.
Words cannot express how grateful I am to the donor. To his family. To my dad’s transplant team. I am humbled. Even though the transplant didn’t happen and we left the hospital without a new liver, I still feel we are truly blessed. All the emotions just sort of froze. I didn’t know how to react. My parents were fine. And surprisingly, I feel ok. I was worried that I would crack, but I’m humbled and I am grateful. For the blessings of the donor and his amazingly altruistic intentions, I would never be able to thank him or his family even though it didn’t work out as planned…but I do pray that he and his family knows how grateful we are. I can only pray that his family receives the strength they need for his passing and I wish I could tell them and the donor, thank you. It’s all I can say because there is no word, just no word strong enough.
To be an organ donor is such an unselfish deed. While I know there are hundreds of thousands of people on a wait list, a list that holds the power of their well being…I cannot imagine the fear, and the angst. My dad may or may not get another phone call with a donor. If I was a match, I’d do it. Scared and chicken-shit as I am…I would. While he may or may not get another call, I can only continue to pray. Pray that his MRI scans come back negative. Pray for his continued positive spirit. I continue to pray for guidence and strength. I know I can’t control everything…the more I try to control things, the more I realize just how little control I have.
I’m exhausted. I’ve cried enough writing this post. I thank God for my amazing family and friends. Without them, I would crumble. Even the most random text or email, just to say something silly, not related to my dad, it makes me smile. It reminds me just how truly blessed I am. For now, all I can say is, truly…thank you.
Until next post, I am going to plant myself into my next delicious book (hey, it keeps me sane). Peace and love.