Mike and I got out of bed at 4 a.m. this morning to get down to UW Hospital in Madison by 7 a.m. Last night it snowed and we had some freezing rain so the backroads were a little slippery, but once we got to the highway it was smooth sailing. The day began with registration and signing up for UW's new "palm scan program". From now on whenever I go to UW for any visit to the Clinic or Hospital they can simply scan my palm and all of my medical records will come up! I thought we were advanced at Marshfield Clinic with our electronic medical records, but we don't have palm screening! After Mike asked if they could also read my future, the registration attendant told us that when they first adopted the system they handed out fortune cookies to everyone who registered. Cute idea!
The next stop was checking in to the transplant clinic. My coordinator Chris was on vacation this week, so another great gal Jan met us at the door and got us started. She laid out the very busy plan for the day and gave me information on all of the specialists I would be seeing. Then it was up to the lab for insertion of my IV line and the first blood draws. After taking 8 tubes of blood the phlebotomist then took out the largest syringe I have ever seen. It was 60 mL in size. To put it in perspective, a typical bottle of eyedrops that you buy in the store is 10 mL. She filled that entire syringe up with my blood! That particular blood will be used for tissue typing. After that I got to drink a sickly sweet bottle of Glucola, which tastes similar to a flat version of McDonalds fruit drink. I headed into X-ray and had a chest x-ray done and then off to Cardio for my EKG. Then it was back to the transplant clinic to meet with the social worker. Rebecca was an energetic woman who spent quite a bit of time talking to Mike and I about transplants in general and how I came to the decision to donate a kidney. We also spent some time talking about the new swap/paired exchange program that we are hoping to be enrolled in. After we were done with Rebecca we stopped in the central area of the hospital/clinic that is called Main Street. There we picked up a snack and a diet Coke that I was able to drink after I headed back to the lab for my 2 hour glucose blood draw. I was hungry from fasting all night so that snack tasted good!
Jan met us at the lab after my blood draw and took us over to meet Dr. Connelly, the health psychologist who works with the transplant teams. She spent quite a bit of time analyzing me and then moved on to Mike. Okay, she didn't really move on to MIKE, but rather moved on to talk to Mike about ME! We certainly didn't have enough time to psychologically analzye Mike :-) After she took copious notes on my mental state she turned us back over to the transplant clinic. There we met Karen Kritsch, the nutritionist for the clinic. This was the 2nd time I actually met Karen as she was also the nutritionist who talked to us when we were at UW with Lonnie in August. She gave me my cholesterol and blood sugar numbers, along with my BMI. I am proud to say that they were all excellent -- even though I certainly can't say that there is anything I do to make them look so good! Just blessed I guess! (By the way, if you would like your own autographed copy of these numbers, be sure to let me know before I get them mounted and framed for my living room wall. HA!) After that we were introduced to Dr. Vijay Vidyaspazar. (Nope, can't pronounce it!) He is a medical nephrologist. He reviewed my medical history and did a brief physical on me, although he didn't look in my ears since he couldn't get the otoscope to work. I promised him that I can hear perfectly fine! After that we were told to wait for Dr. Janet Bellingham, one of the transplant surgeons. We were excited because things were clipping along quite quickly at this point and we both had visions of sitting down to a decent dinner before heading home to the boys. After we had been waiting an hour Jan stopped back in to let us know that Dr. Bellingham was running behind, and it was another 45 minutes until she finally made it in to see us! But that was okay -- we both had books to read and the downtime was nice. Dr. Bellingham reviewed the surgical procedures with us and showed me my CT scan that I had done at Froedtert Hospital back in May. It was cool to see my kidneys and have her show me exactly where they will be performing the surgery. Dr. Bellingham also did a short physical. She was very nice and certainly seemed to be quite competent and knowledgeable. Following Dr. Bellingham I had a brief visit with Franny, the donor advocate. Her job is to simply look out for me. She does not ever have any contact with the recipients themselves. I made it to my 3:00 CT scan with 5 minutes to spare. After drinking 2 large glasses of water and waiting 30 minutes, I underwent an uneventful contrast dye CT. Then we made a quick pitstop to the Culvers drive-thru and headed for home, arriving back here right at 6:00. It was good to be home!
Probably the most interesting part of my day was taking the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. This is a 567 true/false question inventory that is designed to detect personality abnormalities, depressive disorders, social and behavioral defects, psychopathic deviations, and other mental illnesses. They gave me the test in the morning and had me work on it during any spare time I had. Some of the questions made me laugh right out loud! For instance, "I do not have a great fear of spiders", "I often feel good down inside when people who make me mad get what is coming to them", "I worry about earthquakes".....I guess if the questions are funny then maybe it means I am normal??
Now we just wait for test results. Chris should be calling me next week. The transplant team meets the first Thursday in January and they will have to clear me as a donor. After that I believe they will need to clear Lonnie again since it was August when he was last there. Hopefully they will be able to do that without him making another trip to UW. If all goes well we will hope to be placed into the paired donation database soon! Then....more waiting and certainly more praying!