Walking into the new Clements UT Southwestern University Hospital today felt like going back in time. Back in time to a nicer, state of the art hospital. I’d rather not be here, though.
Randy is here because he has been running fever every morning this week. He has a fever, he chills, he takes tylenol, he’s fine but lethargic. We were supposed to leave for Cozumel on Saturday…we know that is not happening. At least not now.
They are running a series of tests on him: CT scan of his lungs, and a Bronchoscopy, which is an outpatient surgery. They will take a few samples of his lung tissue. I’m waiting.
I’m remembering the weeks and months I waited at the old hospital, knowing that life will henceforth throw us unexpected events. UT Southwestern is the place to be, though, if you need a transplant, especially a lung transplant. The doctors and nurses on the transplant team are truly exceptional. I heard about another amazing advance in transplant surgery from the doc who is performing the bronchoscopy. He came to UT from the Cleveland Clinic, also a top rated heart and lung transplant institution. Whether you are pre transplant or post transplant, UT Southwestern excels in their treatment of patients. The new technology will create “breathing lungs” for transplantation. 80% of harvested lungs are unusable due to many different factors, inflammation, injury, poor condition. There is a new device in which the lungs alone can be placed, and a determination as to whether or not they can be used is made after the lungs have had time to recover and other therapies have been used. This will double or triple the lungs available for transplant! UT Southwestern will receive this device very soon. UCLA has already used it, check this out! This is very exciting news! Here’s a video from the U of MN explaining the process.
Randy has had a remarkable recovery. September 10, 2013 was the date of his transplant, but he had been in the hospital, in critical condition for almost 6 weeks by then. He spent almost two weeks on ECMO, a life support system which kept him alive until lungs were found. When he woke up with lungs, he could barely lift a finger because every muscle in his body had atrophied. Amazing how fast that can happen. He remained in the hospital until the end of October, and even when he came home he was unable to walk. 16 months later he is working out every day again, and taking daily walks. We’ve taken a few trips together during 2014, and he has just continued to go up, up, up. He was able to attend his 40th high school reunion in October!
Not every moment has been easy or pleasant though. Not by a long shot. As anyone knows who has had a long recovery from a surgery, it is a tough road back. Medication side effects, an acute rejection episode, and now this…whatever this is. Overall, everything has gone well.
I just heard the good news that his bronchoscopy looks clear, they are prescribing antibiotics, and we just have to wait a few days for him to feel better. I’m headed to Cozumel with our friends Greg and Lauri tomorrow, carrying televisions Randy is out buying right now. Yes, he is feeling better with the antibiotics. We are hoping he can join us in a few days. I guess I’ll pack now.