Archive for April, 2011


A “No News” Update

A couple of my friends pinged me just to make sure I was "pingable". I then realized I was late on an update.

It is been less than two months since the surgery and it now seems like a thing of the past. That was in a different life. If I wipe the month of March off the books, I didn’t seem to miss a beat. I have been back in the office for over three weeks and doing about 95% of what I usually do. I have my 60 day checkup in early May and I would guess I gain the other 5%. The only side effect from the medication seems to be difficulty in sleeping. Sometimes I am wide awake until 2 AM but then wake up feeling rested. Maybe I am just requiring less sleep. Then there are the abdomen muscles. Everything feels normal except when I move around it feels like I just finished about 200 sit-ups. Otherwise the scar is completely healed and I take great pride showing it off just like LBJ. For a small fee I can share them with you too.

So, I’m certainly not letting the grass grow under my feet. My Vistage chair told me I must be back to myself because I’m starting to irritate people again. Nobody has asked me to leave the office, so it can’t be all that bad. Lots of things on the plate and I am probably back to 90% schedule.

On Monday I have lunch with the folks from Gift of Hope. That is the local organ procurement organization that has a direct liaison at the national level and supplies all of the donor organs for the Chicago area. This is more of a fact-finding mission to see where my talents might be able to assist them. The bottom line is there is a shortage of organs all over the country. People die every day waiting as their options are reduced to zero. Hopefully they can use some of my talents whatever they may be.

Tomorrow we launch the Nancy D splashing it in cold Lake Michigan. (The boat, not the wife). Last year we had two trips–one early in the season from the travel lift to the slip and the other completing the round trip in the fall. In two years we have put eight hours on the engines. This year we plan to dilute the rotten fuel, blow out the pipes, and float it up to Canada. If I’m lucky tomorrow I will get a picture of the Nancy D (the wife, not the boat) holding the anchor or something else of substance relating to the marine industry. We’ve got to be crazy launching in the snow but we are anxious to get it in.

I am making progress on the flying end too. I have not flown since January and I am collecting all of my records for the FAA. On June 1, the 90 day mark, I can submit everything to the FAA so I can fly again. It appears that there are only a few hoops to jump through. No one seems to expect any problems.

I suppose the later chapters of As the Liver Turns will become increasingly boring because "no-news" is the best news.


Released from House Arrest

That was the headline as of last week. Now I am in exile back in the suburbs.

The clinic watches over the patient like a hawk over the first 30 days. One thing is for sure, they don’t want you to stray far from the clinic. But as of last week blood tests are now down to twice-weekly while they look for trends. All of mine are good, and I have one very happy liver. My wound is almost healed and with the absence of holes in the skin there are no leaks. The staples are all removed and they did a magnificent job sewing me up. On Wednesday I have my official thirty-day checkup and I understand they will be cutting back on the medication again. I am not aware if I had any side effects from the medication. They say in six months I will be down to a couple of medications. I am also on a study to wean myself off of the rejection drugs completely. While that may sound scary, they are finding they need less and less rejection drugs. They believe someday soon the protocol will be to get off rejection drugs permanently.

Bottom line is that I feel very good — I just can’t go 120 miles an hour. But every day gets better and the new liver and rearrangement of the old organs seem to feel more like mine. As a freebie they took out my gallbladder so I would assume that has some (positive) effect on me. I should have had him take out my appendix but I wasn’t quick enough to ask.

So overall, the experience was good. From a clinical perspective, it could not have gone better. Knowing what I know today I would be scared silly if I was any facility that was not a center of excellence. It doesn’t take much for something important to fall through the cracks. I have talked to others who have had plenty of bad experiences at other types of facilities. Some of their mistakes could have been fatal. This stuff is so highly specialized that as the patient you will learn more about the process and procedures exceeding the knowledge base of most MDs at your local country club.

From a personal perspective I was determined to walk home after the surgery but that was not the case. Perhaps I was thinking I was getting a root canal, not a liver transplant. Earlier this year my daughter and had a baby. The family was with her with her during labor at which time we learned all kinds of new words for our vocabulary. The next day she said "oh that was nothing". So I guess it all depends on one’s perspective. Prior to the transplant I would be asked "have you ever had major surgery?". My answer was "yes–I had a vasectomy and it hurt a lot". With that statement I would always be smacked around the room by the women around me. Perhaps now I can say the transplant was just like having a baby or hysterectomy and I can garner some sympathy rather than a black eye. I’ll try it out let you know what happens.

So, no news is good news and that’s all the news that is fit to print…