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Here I complain about something that I really am appreciative of. It is the pre-lung-transplant evaluation process. This was quite and exercise. I went to Stanford Medical Center (Palo Alto California) last week (Mar 6 -9) both with trepidation and yet resigned to simply do whatever they put in front of me. Let me say that the staff from the kitchen to the surgeons were great. Kind. Concerned. Not to knock my local hospital, but these people were really something to watch as they did there respective duties.
OK, I'll share the prodding part. My four day schedule went like this:
Monday (the hardest day):
Blood work - easy peasy
Chest X-Ray - ditto
EKG - ditto
Bone density scan - ditto
Quantitative Lung Profusion Scan - Laying down but given radioactive injection.
Pulmonary Function Test - the hardest and probably all of you know this one, Very tiring stressful inhales and exhales.
EKG with Bubble Study
Carotid Vertebral Artery Ultrasound - easy peasy but I'm friggin' beat now.
Esophagram - weird. Swallo barium in diferent positions as in lying down and standing up.
Social Worker - stressful. Recount life's experiences. The painful ones. Feels like a moral evaluation. Great social worker, but bad experience, Every thought of suicide? Or just "about" suicide? Or take drugs? What are your drinking habits if any? And so on and so forth. I felt like I was naked in public.
Class for Lung Transplant education - easy but 1.5 hours of slides and lecture with very little discussion, Strange to sit among six or so other people in you situation, but there is no dialogue. No group feel. But everyone is pretty stressed out already and this just adds more stress to it. Valuable though.
Pre-lung transplant clinic - "Are you good enough?" Interview with doctors andsocial worker. Your physical condition is evaluates as well as your mental and behavioral state. A couple of doctors and the social worker all lookig at you and the more they look and the more they speak the smaller you feel. (NOTE: I expect there are plenty of pre-transplant people who do not feel this way. So this is not something to generalize, but rather to share.)
Blood draw - easy peasy
Cardiac catheritization - Not very complicated but for some could be a little frightening. I've had this four times now and some others even more so. But this one dragged out forever and took up almost the whole day. It is usually only a couple of hours from pre-op to going home.
No, I am not firmly committed to the transplant, but very close to saying yes and going for it.
Best to all,
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