Thursday night was probably the longest night I spent at the hospital. I had been cleared for discharge on Friday by the “A Team”, earlier that day but a lot could happen between now and then. I took care of what was within my control. As much as I wasn’t into walking “Laps”, I knew I’d be asked if I had so…. out and about… chit chatting with anyone I passed along the way. I met a really nice lady and her husband out by the lounge. Her transplant day was the next day. As we got talking, I found that she had had a half dozen different unrelated surguries in the past, so it wasn’t hard to be very upbeat and assure her that if anyone was ready for what lay ahead, she was. I put in 2-3 laps, until my leg didn’t want to walk anymore and headed back into my room.
I ordered breakfast, lunch and dinner on Thursday.,, Even went back to the crab cakes for a second or third time. I drank about 6 pitchers of water along with various beverages that came with the meals. I know I’d be quizzed on the eating and drinking and didn’t want there to be any doubt in anyone’s mind that all those systems were working. It’s not too hard to imagine where all that liquid ends up so there was a lot of up/down/back and forth during the day. Throw a shower into the mix and my check list was complete. Everything that was within my control, was taken care of.
It was now down to the things that were out of my control, mainly any sort of fever or crazy move in my blood counts. It seems like the “Vitals” lady came in a dozen time that day. Each time she stuck a thermometer in my mouth I counted the seconds to the triple beep….OK? Yep.. great…
I got to bed early on Thursday night. I had a few movies left that I hadn’t seen yet so I set the laptop up as my mini-movie theater as I had done in the past. In the past the movies had put me to sleep but not tonight. I took an Ativan at 11PM, my regular time, which usually took the edge off if the movie didn’t but…. not tonight. I just laid there in the bed with my eyes wide open. The last thing I wanted was to be half asleep when the “A Team” came in Friday morning so after about 8 seconds addition thought I pushed the call light and when right to the Lunesta…. lights out. The next thing I remember was the vitals and jump on the scale lady coming in the room at 6AM.. Whew… I felt great… and rested. The thermometer want in, and I counted the seconds until the faint. Beep,,, beep,,, beep. Very calmly I asked… How we doin?… Great…. Bingo. I jumped out of bed and onto the scale for one last weigh in and laid back down feeling pretty good. I didn’t go back to sleep because I knew the nurse was going to be in momentarily to draw blood, one more time. I was almost there….
The NP came in early and we discussed discharge as well as letting me know that they would probably give me a bonus bag of platelets to “top me off” prior to uninstalling the catheter. What time do you think I’ll be out of here? Awww….. mid afternoon or so. Not bad, sounded reasonable enough. Shortly after that the NP came back with the rest of the “A Team”. Discharge was confirmed for later that day… the only part of that conversation I remember… I was almost there.
My wife and son showed up around 10. It didn’t take long to pack what I had. Meanwhile the bag of platelets had finished and I was ready for the catheter to come out. Having had the benefit of that other catheter coming out by mistake on transplant day, I knew it wasn’t going to be a big deal. Three breaths and on the third, keep exhaling until I say to stop, the NP explained. No problem…. Within seconds it was all out of my chest and the NP was applying pressure (I guess she didn’t want me to spring a leak). Before I knew it, she put a bandage where the catheter used to be…. whoopie… let’s get out of here.
The next part was on last truly amazing moment. Anyone who has ever been to the hospital before, knows that when its time to move anywhere in the hospital, it usually involves calling “Transport” and someone show up to push you to wherever you happen to be going… OR, Radiology, Front door. It took me all of about 3 minutes to get ready to go after the catheter had been taken out. Within abut 3 ½ minutes, my RN was standing there with a wheelchair. Come on Mr P… let’s go. My son ran ahead to bring the car around to the front door. I got in the wheelchair and was ready to be dropped at the unit door to wait for someone from transport. Next thing I know, another RN shows up and the two say let’s go and proceeded to push me into the elevator and off to the 1st floor. Wow….. Is there any wonder why I love nurses. Next thing I see my son pulling up to the front door and the nurses push me out to the car and help me up and into the front seat…Goodbye Mr P… What a great way to end my hospital stay. Before I knew it we were headed up 1st Ave headed home. It was only 1PM. It was so nice to be in my own care with my wife and son. I didn’t care if it took 2 hours to get home from there. Within a short period of time I was in my own bed… boy did it feel good.
Our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was pretty low key but it was still the best Christmas I can ever remember. Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers. God Bless Everyone.