27 May 2009

more medical stuff

I had a full day at Vanderbilt yesterday. First up were labs, then the pulmonary function test. The pulmonary department is in the basement. There are numerous elevators in the Vanderbilt clinic. No one told us the best way to get to the basement, so we went down on elevator D. Well, elevator D opens into the service section of the basement.
It was spooky. Lots of weird noises and not well lit. We walked around a bit, then finally ran into a FedEx delivery man who directed us to the right place.

For the pulmonary test I had to sit in a contraption that reminded me of the driver's car in the monorail.

I had to put something that was kinda like a scuba mouthpiece in my mouth and do various breathing things that the technician would describe. And the technician was an interesting person. She was about 4 1/2" tall, round, looked about 80, but I'm sure she had to be younger, had yellow white hair and talked like a typical southern grandmother stereotype. But she really knew what she was doing and I passed those just fine. :-) She even gave me printouts of the results. Then we went back upstairs on elevator F, which was a much more civilised section.

We were ahead of schedule, so they paged both the social worker and the study nurse to see if one of them happened to be free. The social worker showed up first for my socio/psycological exam. She wanted to know things like what kind of support system did I have, was I worried about anything financially, what kind of education I have, what I majored in at college, what were my hobbies, what was my biggest worry, how was I coping, how many countries had I been to outside the US, what medicines was I taking, etc, etc, etc.

Well, I one thing I told her was that I didn't really consider it coping. It's just life. You play the cards you are dealt to the best of your ability. She also seemed rather surprised that I'm only taking one med (Exjade) and a multi-vitamin daily, and that I've been to 14 other countries. When she got to the hobbies I told her about cooking, travel, photography and Photoshop. And Mike told her I collected dishes. Lots of dishes. LOL. When it was over I asked her did I pass. She laughed and said sure. That I had really passed last Tuesday when she met us at the Caretaker's Class. Sheesh! All this time I was thinking she might fail me, since I wasn't sure I could pass for normal!

I also met with the study nurse and agreed to participate in three different studies that are going on at Vanderbilt now. I don't have to be stuck any extra for any of them, and what they find out will help others in the future.

When the meetings were done, I got a unit of platelets. Then Mike & I went to lunch at The Tin Angel and headed for home. Now I am just waiting for the transplant doc to sign off on all the tests and Blue Cross's final OK. The transplant coordinator seemed to think that we might be able to activate the donor next week. And, btw, I have FOUR, count them FOUR, complete matches. That is wonderful news! Three of the donors are 22 and one is 38. I was pretty much assured that one of the 22 year olds will be the donor of choice for me. Once the donor gets activated DD#2 and I are going to have our hair cutting day. I still haven't decided whether to go curly or straight, but I'm still set on true red highlights.

Today Mike left early this morning to go to a meeting in Virginia. DD#2 and I left shortly thereafter for my doc's office, where I was set up for an appointment with him, labs, picc dressing change, B12 shot and platelet transfusion. All that should have been done by 10:00 or 10:30, but my file got misplaced and I waited nearly 2 hours just to see my doc! My platelets were back down to 3, even after getting the transfusion yesterday. Neutrophils were 0.6 and my hemoglobin was down to 8.1. Friday I will need more red cells in addition to the platelets.

DD& I went to a nice lunch at Wild Flower Bistro. Then I slept all afternoon and woke up about an hour ago now. We're having lots of loud thunder and the power has blinked a couple of times. Luckily we know where all the flashlights and candles live.

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