Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Trying to keep up with Dorothy

Dorothy, aka Wonder Woman
It doesn’t matter whether I’m at home, checking my email, or out and about. The question always is the same: How’s Dorothy?
So on the heels of her latest medical appointment, which took place Wednesday morning, here’s an update.
Dorothy -- or Wonder Woman as she’s known in these parts -- is terrific. She really is. I knew she was
Despite a number of speed bumps after her Sept. 23 kidney transplant, she now is flying high. Believe me when I tell you that her energy level is higher than it has been in years and years.
We discovered in 1981 that she had been born with one kidney and that it was deformed and already starting to decrease in its efficiency. By the autumn of 2009, her energy level was a mere shadow of what it once was and she was being prepared for peritoneal dialysis.
After almost four years on dialysis, she underwent a kidney transplant.
Today, she no longer needs 10 or 12 hours of sleep per day -- oftentimes she wanted more. Today, she sometimes sleeps seven hours or less, such is her energy level.
You may remember that in late October, Dorothy ended up with an infection of some sort that set up shop in two spots. One pocket appeared above the new kidney; the other took root in the area of her navel, where a catheter had been surgically implanted more than four years earlier as part of the dialysis procedure.
Yes, she was on antibiotics through all of this, and that, combined with a drainage tube that was inserted in January, seemed to take care of the infection above the new kidney.
The other one pocket was more troublesome and it wasn’t until Dr. James Baughan at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops went in and took a look that the problem was solved. He cut out some infection and also found something foreign -- a stitch, a microscopic piece of the catheter, who knows? -- that may have been the root of all evil.
Anyway, that was on April 1 and it was as though someone waved a magic wand and it disappeared.
But then there was the gall bladder.
It seems that Dorothy’s gall bladder was making stones that were ending up in her bile duct. That, it seems, is bad news -- really, really bad news -- for someone with a suppressed immune system.
So the gall bladder had to go, and it went on July 7. Once again, Dr. Baughan was at the controls. Surgery was scheduled for 9:15 a.m., and she was on her way home by 3 p.m. The next evening, we were going out for coffee.
The follow-up appointment took place yesterday (Aug. 6). Dr. Baughan indicated that he hoped he wouldn’t see Dorothy again. She said that if she was to see him again she hoped it would be in a shopping mall. (Yes, she’s back to shopping, it just takes her longer to drop. LOL!)
So what’s next?
Well, there are these cataracts. They were developing before the transplant surgery. But it seems that one of the anti-rejection drugs is “fertilizer” for cataracts. So they will get looked after at some point over the next few months.
Dorothy continues to visit a local lab and give up some blood, in order that her levels might be read by the terrific medical people who have provided her with such tremendous care. She still has to check in with the post-transplant clinic, but those visits now take place about once every three months, something that once occurred on a weekly basis.
In the meantime, we are enjoying our new freedom, if we may call it that.
We spent a week in Victoria with our best friends. She doesn’t want her name used, so I call her Joan. She gave up a kidney through the Living Kidney Donor Program, so that Dorothy could have a transplant.
She and her husband flew into Victoria; Dorothy and I drove. We then spent a week touring around, the highlight of which may well have been seeing the naked bike riders. Yes, only in Victoria.
There also have been a couple of jaunts over the Coquihalla to Vancouver to visit our son, Todd, and his gal pal, Joanna. We’ve been to Bellingham, Wash., for a couple of days. This week, we spent a day mingling with all of the Albertans in Kelowna.
Joanna and Todd are coming to visit later this month, after which we plan on spending some time in Jasper.
So, as you can see, things are well. Again.
How did we get here from there?
With outstanding care from the medical staff at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver and at RIH in Kamloops. There aren’t enough positive adjectives in a dictionary to describe the care. It was beyond wonderful.
The nurses who did so many dressing changes in ambulatory care in Kamloops were great.
The gang at the post-transplant clinic has made us feel like family.
We also continue to be so thankful for all of the other caring people out there, people who always ask how she/we are doing. You know who you are, and you can pat yourselves on the back because you have been part of this.
I also can’t say enough about Dorothy’s positive attitude. Every step of the way she was adamant that “I’m going to beat this thing; I just know it. I’m going to beat it.”
And she has.
These days, she often is heard to say, “I’m so blessed,” and I don’t think she’s referring to being married to me.
Look out, Jasper, because Wonder Woman is on her way.
feeling a whole lot better when she reclaimed ‘her’ kitchen. She loves to cook and to bake, and she’s back doing just that. Yes, she already is talking about baking for Christmas.

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