The doctors, nurses, social workers, and transplant recipients associated with the UCLA transplant program are the most positive-thinking and optimistic people I have ever encountered. My husband's attending physician, the surgeon, the optimistic and caring Dr. K., led me to believe that this last surgery would really take care of whatever needed to be taken care of. He also had a long talk with our friend Tom, and said pretty much the same thing.
So when I walked into the ICU yesterday, I expected something better than what I saw. I have seen my husband sedated before, but yesterday, it was different. It was easy to see that the nurse, they change nurses most every day, so I had not met her before, it was easy to see that she was deeply touched by my husband's struggles. We were all wondering how much he felt, how much he was aware of. When he has been awake, he has mouthed (he can't talk) to both Tom and me, "help me, help me." That alone is certainly enough to break my heart.
Yesterday, as they were "rounding" as they now call it when doctors do the rounds, checking on patients, the second in charge, Dr. G., comes into the room and proceeds to tell me what I already know: My husband is the most ill person, by far, at the UCLA Liver Transplant ICU. Neither the procedures done, nor the antibiotics have cleared up his massive infections. Since the new liver was transplanted into a very sick environment, it is not performing all that well either.
Then he says, "but we are doing all we can and we are not giving up yet, so don't give up hope." I tell him that I don't like hope, that I'm a realist, that there's no need to sugarcoat anything, that I prefer the truth. "We will continue to treat your husband, we are not giving up, and if/when we know we can no longer help him, you will have a decision to make," says the good doctor. I tell him I appreciate his honesty. Then I look at all these lines, dialysis, stents, bags -- and I think bad thoughts about modern medicine.
Then doctor number three wanders in, an older guy, a liver specialist, who confirms that my husband's liver, while not failing, is having problems that don't seem to be getting better. But he, yet another optimist, sounds like he believes everything will be OK, my husband will get better. Then, on his way out the door, he turns around and says,"and when he does, of course, he won't remember a thing of all this." The nurse, Tom, and I look at each other, astonished, since this is what all three of us had wondered about earlier
Finally, about blogging. I will continue to post these updates, hopefully mixing them up with other news and pictures from the canyon.
I have decided to use the Reply to comments funtion from now on. I feel the caring that goes into each and every comment and I am touched by what you write. So, using Reply will allow me to communicate more directly with you. And it may just alleviate some of that guilt you tell me not to feel when I don't have the energy to read/comment on your posts.
So, if you have the time to come back.......
And thank you so much for being there for me.
I just noticed today's date. Tomorrow, it will be two months since we took my husband to the ER and all this started. I'm trying to remember what his voice sounds like........