In the early morning hours of Wednesday, October 27, 2021, we received the call that Mom has been waiting for- finally the gift of lungs were ready for her to receive. She and Dad headed down to the University Hospital (UW Madison) to prepare, while the donor family prepared to say goodbye to their loved one and prepare them for donation.
In total, the double lung transplant surgery took around 12 hours to complete. The lungs she received from the donor are in excellent condition, but were slightly larger than needed, so doctors worked to shave them down to her size. (Didn't know that was a thing? Nor did I!) Her lungs were in worse condition than originally thought, which meant she had a significant amount of scar tissue that needed removing prior to the placement of each lung. The removal of the scar tissue led to excessive bleeding; therefore, she also received the generous gift of several units of blood, made possible by selfless donors. (Shameless plug- If you have ever considered blood or organ donation and are on the fence, this is an excellent reason to hop off the fence and follow through.) The surgery had touch-and-go moments due to her significant health history, but was successful.
On the morning of Thursday, October 28, 2021, she was wheeled into ICU recovery, where she will remain for several weeks while she heals. Her breathing tube has been removed, along with several other IV's and ports, as she successfully breaths on her own and grows stronger each day.
She had a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) placed today, November 2, 2021, essentially eliminating the need for ongoing pokes and prods. The plan is to remove her femoral artery line once her PICC is proven successful. This will hopefully allow her to rest a bit more comfortably. She has not yet started with nutrition, but is receiving IV fluids regularly.
She is on high doses of IV steroids, anti rejection medication and blood thinners, all having their own side effects. The pain medication, coupled with other meds she is receiving, has her seeing some interesting things- the doctors are working to find a happy medium with pain mitigation. More to come there.
Once she is ready to be discharged, Mom and Dad will need to live in the Madison area for a period of time while the post-transplant team continues to monitor her progress.
The transplant doctor has cautioned us that she will have ups and downs, but that is to be expected with a surgery of this magnitude. So far, there have not been any notable setbacks, albeit it some bumps in the road, but in the interest of positivity- we will continue to celebrate her successes.
Moving forward, updates from myself or Dad will be posted here. Please send kind words, prayers, positive vibes, whatever your flavor, her way- she can certainly use them as fuel.
We are grateful to God for continuing to watch over her and provide her strength, as well as the talent He has bestowed on the team of doctors, nurses and hospital staff who have allowed for this tremendous opportunity to take place. They are quite simply, incredible- and dang- GOD IS GOOD.