Several years ago, Randy was diagnosed with the lung condition NSIP. While this was a blow, at that time the condition could be controlled (in a way) with drugs and exercise. Within the last year, however, Randy discovered he needed supplemental oxygen to be able to exercise--which is important to keep the lungs and the rest of the body as healthy as possible.
Over the last year Randy's lung function has continued to decline and a couple of months ago his medical team at Kaiser decided that now is the time to be looking into the possibility of a lung transplant. So Randy began a long series of tests, the results of which would determine whether he would make a solid transplant candidate.
Kaiser doesn't do transplants, so last week we went to Stanford hospital to meet with some members of the transplant team to find out more about the process. The doctors were concerned that Randy was not getting enough oxygen from his portable tanks and decided he would be better off in the hospital where someone could monitor his levels and keep him from walking around and trying to do too much and "desaturating" which is a fancy word for getting short of breath. Shortness of breath in someone with bad lungs means the lungs steal oxygen from all the other organs, making them weaker as well.
There wasn't an available room in the main hospital, so we walked (very slowly) down the to the emergency room, cut in front of all the sick people with broken bones, and got registered. Mostly him--I was just watching. They put him in a bed, gave me all his belongings, and sent me on my way. I left him with nothing but his underpants and his phone. It's a 2-hour drive back to Alameda, so it wasn't until the next day that I could take him all the important things he needs to survive: iPad, special toothbrush, floss, tongue scraper (really), and clean underpants.
I'm looking at this and it's very long. You're supposed to do individual journal entries, but since all this happened in in the past I don't want to back-date a journal.
Anyway, after that there was a flurry of paperwork, an emergency meeting of the transplant team a couple of tests, and Randy was put on the transplant list. Which is good. And he's completely safe and not in any pain. Well, except they didn't shave his chest before they stuck all the little monitors on him and sometimes when he moves a certain way there's hair-pulling.