After my first check-up I had a two-day reprieve. Then, on Thursday, Sept 28th, it started again. Liquid diarrhea, tear-inducing cramps, and then, at midnight, some vomiting.
I had clear instructions that diarrhea + vomiting = call UCSF. So I did the next morning. They wanted to make sure I did not have a bowel obstruction or some nasty infection like C. diff.
This is why I was readmitted to UCSF exactly 2 weeks after the transplant. I admit, I felt like this was pretty sucky. I was not ready to be back in the hospital. With all the sounds and smells and things attached to my body.
Because I was dehydrated, I got an IV for that. Yay needles.
Because of the possibility of an obstruction, I was marked NPO. That means I could have nothing to eat or drink. Not even water!
Because of the possibility of C. diff, I was on Contact Precautions. That meant I couldn’t leave my room without completely changing my gowns and no one could come in without putting on gloves and a gown.
Oh, and my 2nd day there, a rash showed up around my incision. Why a rash? Possibly I over-scratched and compromised my skin? I don’t know, but that rash was going to get gnarly.
In order to check for a bowel obstruction, I had to have a CT scan again. I’ve had 3 now in the past 17 months and I’m learning to hate them. The results proved I did not have an obstruction and my stool sample proved I didn’t have an infection. So the consensus was I’d just had a nasty stomach bug. Two nights in the hospital for a stomach bug. Kind of funny. Kind of not.
I am SO THANKFUL that the transplant team at UCSF took good care of me and did all.the.things to rule out the scary stuff. They did, however, find a small collection of fluid in my abdomen they wanted to “keep tabs on”.
One of the doctors brought up my CT scan results on the computer in my room. It was fascinating to see him “scroll” through the layers of my abdomen. He showed me how my intestines have filled up the space where the right lobe of my liver used to be. Kind of neat. Kind of disturbing.
We couldn’t bring ourselves to go back in to take a photo. #toosoon
I was discharged on Oct 1st, so my 2nd check-up got pushed back from the 3rd to the 10th. This way they could see me after my body had a little more time to…stabilize…and that fluid pocket had time to absorb.
With my bowels playing nice, the rash took over as Supreme Torturer. It burned and itched so bad it was all I could think about. They gave me an anti-fungal prescription lotion to apply twice a day for two weeks. I had to take Benadryl just to fall asleep.
The upside to the extra-long stay in California was getting more time to hang out with my cousin. It was cool to get to know him better. Also, it was weird to look at him and realize that a piece of me was inside his abdomen. As a bonus, the opportunity came up, organically, to use the “What am I, chopped liver?” line.
Our appointments at UCSF were on the same day, so we went together. For my cousin, he got his drain removed (a big recovery milestone for him) and a glowing report that his lab results were better than expected! Seeing him walk around, looking healthier than ever was an absolute joy.
For my check-up, the ultrasound indicated my liver looked fine and the fluid pocket was gone. Yay! My labs also looked good and I was basically given the clear to go home to Oregon.
Typically, the ultrasound happens at the 2 month mark. Why? Because they should be able to confirm your remnant liver has regained most of it’s original volume. However, as I live out of state, they agreed to do it sooner so I don’t have to go back to UCSF. As long as my lab work looks good, they don’t need to see me in person!