Latest lung transplant update: They have scheduled a "clean out" bronchoscopy on March 27 with the pulmonologist to see how things are going and to clean out the mucus buildup that goes on. I'm feeling better, but my FEV numbers on the spirometer continue to click downward, I can feel and hear the mucus when I breathe, and even light activity makes me breathe hard, though my oxygen sats stay up. Today, they also scheduled an outpatient surgical bronchoscopy on April 11 for more debridement of the slough and to replace the stent if needed. This was what I went in for on March 3 and they kept me until March 11 with two additional surgeries. Hopefully that's not needed this time, but I will do as they say to try to make this thing work. So I'm clearly not out of the woods yet, and didn't expect to be. One in five lung transplant patients die in the first year, one in two in the first five years. But at the time I received the transplant on December 23, I was declining rapidly. I think by now I'd be dead or on death watch in hospice at the least. So it was like calling an artillery fire mission on your own position when you are being overrun--there was no choice. I will continue to march and still have a positive attitude. I have complete faith in the healthcare team at UW Hospital/Madison VA--but this process has things that can be beyond anyone's control. I know a couple of lung transplant folks having a harder time than I am, but still in the fight. And several good folks worse off with other health challenges, so I feel blessed. Thanks as always for the thoughts, prayers and good wishes.
Last Monday, I took three trays of cookies--one for each shift--up to the nurses and health techs on the ward. One of the nurses said I was sweet. I said that they had all been so wonderful I wanted to do something. She said, "You're easy to be wonderful to--it's the people who aren't who make this job a challenge." I try to put myself in their point of view and make things as easy and cooperative as I can. They have a lot on their plates, and I'm hardly the only patient. ~Bob