I’d like to type about my liver transplant today. Before I had my liver transplant I was on a waiting list. The doctor told my parents that the wait was most likely going to be a looooooong one. Some people wait for years and some don’t even make it, because it was too long. But for me, in less than 2 months we got a call telling us that there was a liver waiting for me.
It was the morning of a March day. I remember being woken up by one of my parent. It was early and I was tired. Everything went by slowly – we got ready slowly, we got into the car slowly and the ride to the hospital went slowly. I remember we were all half asleep and everyone was silent in the car. Okay, there were a few words being said here and there but other than that it was silent.
I was 13 and a few months old, so I didn’t know the full meaning of what a liver transplant meant. I mean, I knew that I was going to have a new liver but other than that I didn’t know enough to worry about things like, the risk involved. So there I was, in the car, on the way to the hospital, feeling nothing.
The walk to the lifts was also in silence. When me and my family finally arrived at Ward 5 (or 3, or 7. I can’t remember.), I remember sitting down watching The Saddle Club while waiting. We were waiting for the surgeon, the anaesthetists and for the nurses to prepare me for my big day! I also remember a lady coming over to see me (I think she was the chaplain?). While I continued watching The Saddle Club, the surgeons in their scrubs finally arrived. They introduced themselves and took us to the theatre.
My mum came along with me to the small room, a little room where the anaesthetist put me to sleep before wheeling me in to the next room, which is the operating room. My mum was with me, to watch me as I fell asleep. I was knocked out for 12 hours.
I remember the first few times when I woke up, everything was so blurry and I was so groggy. I kept waking up/opening my eyes and then fell back to sleep, wake up, back to sleep, wake up and backt o sleep again. The anaesthetic was still going strong in my system. I wasn’t fully conscious or alert, but when this phase was finally over, I went through another phase. In this phase, I was still in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). I was awake now, so awake that I couldn’t go to sleep! I tossed and turned, turned and turned some more, still wide awake. I closed my sleepy eyes and tried my hardest to shut down, but still, I was wide awake. There were so many darn wires, tubes, plugs, cords, whatever you wanna call it I don’t care! All I know is that it was all around me, under me, on me, over me, beside me… oh my goodness! I was truly going crazy. I never want to experience this ever in my life again.
I remember missing my mum and wishing she was next to me. I would look and constantly stare at the door, hoping that the next person that came in was her. Every time when it wasn’t her, I would be so disappointed. I still remember this one time when a women came in I thought it was my mum disguising as a radiographer. I was so excited and overjoyed that I think the women must have thought, “Wow, I’ve never met such an alive patient in the ICU before.” That was how delirious I was from the lack of sleep I had.
I also had another bad experience when I was in the ICU. So, it was time to take my medicines. But because I was extremely tired, I just wanted to be left alone. But the nurse working that night was so impatient! She forced the medicine into my mouth and when I didn’t open my mouth, she literally threatened me. “If you don’t take your medicine I am going to put a tube through your nose.” Was she for real? But real or not, I was so mad at her. We kinda had a little fight. Lol! Despite this incident with this one nurse, the nurses are great at the Royal Children’s Hospital 🙂
Slowly, as the weeks went by things started to go, one wire at a time. Finally, the day came, I was allowed to go to the ward. Yes!! The nurses from the ward came and pushed me up to my room. I had a room to myself, mainly because after a transplant your immune system is seriously low and so I had to be kept away in a room. Overall, the stay at the ward was ten times better than the ICU. The nurses and the doctors were really great! I could sleep. I could walk around the room. I could draw, colour, use the laptop (from the hospital), in short, everything was good. Hmm, besides the 12 different types of medications that I had to take every day… all was back to normal. At the ward, my stitches (at the right side of my neck) were taken off and my last, thin tube that was connected to my liver was cleaned by the nurses everyday. Also, I couldn’t have any visitors, but I received gifts and get well letters from people.
The main surgeon, Prof. Bob Jones, told my parents that the liver was a perfect match! And for the first time in my little life, my LFT (Liver Function Test) was normal. Woohoo! God has given me a perfect liver in less than 2 months!