Saturday, November 22

Doctors were in the hospital early today. Art’s creatinine is lower, hemoglobin is higher and fluid retained in decreasing. The kidney is still producing urine. He is feeling some better this morning. ALL GOOD!

The latest conjecture of what happened is that Art had an allergic reaction to the thymo globulin (immune suppressant) he was given after surgery to stop the kidney from being rejected. Art apparently had some antibodies in his blood that reacted to the thymo and caused an immune complex. The antibodies in his blood and the thymo clumped together and clogged up the micro filtering veins in the kidney – so the kidney function slowed down and fluid built up in his body. Doctors were all stumped. They had not seen this problem before in kidneys – but they learned it had been seen in a few livers. Plasmapheresis is how they decided to treat it.

Plasmapheresis treatment replaces the plasma in blood with “synthetic” plasma (albumin protein). It will remove the antibodies that are causing the clumping problem. The process is not very efficient so a series of five treatments in five days is necessary. The doctor in charge of the plasmapheresis says the clumps are beginning to be removed – they can tell by blood tests results. It should be a one time event. The nurse doing the plasmapheresis this morning said – if you can’t figure it out pheresis it out.

The hope now is that all the “clumps” will be removed from the kidney and it will recover with minimal damage. The kidney doctor says he will ultimately be happy with a creatinine level under 2.

The hematologists are still looking at Art’s blood to find out WHY this happened.

Things look like they are finally moving in the right direction!

Tuesday, November 19
Art has had a reaction to one of the immunosuppressant drugs, so he is still in the hospital and likely will be a couple more days. The Dr has not dealt with this before so he is watching closely.

Internal bleeding from a required needle biopsy sent Art back to the operating room yesterday for repair. Biopsy results the doctor received last night gave him the information he needed to know what the problem was. Blood tests are being done every four hours to help him make medication adjustments.

We are hanging in there!

Tim is doing well recovering at home with Nurse Bonnie taking care of him.

Thursday, November 21
The doctors are still working to figure out exactly what the problem is with Art’s antibody reaction before they treat it. Art is getting tired of waiting and being in the hospital. He is sleeping every chance he gets – they wake him up pretty often to take blood, vitals and replace IVs.
God knows what is happening and the only thing we can do is wait on his timing.

Monday – November 18

Tim got to go home yesterday! He is doing well. “Nurse Bonnie” is now on duty to feed him and make him comfortable. They are borrowing a recliner chair from Ben so Tim is able to sit easier.

Art will likely be in the hospital another day or two. They are doing a few more tests to make sure he has the correct medications and they are all adjusted correctly so the kidney can do its job.

Thursday, November 14
We praise God for a successful kidney transplant! Art and Tim are both doing will – tired, sore, groggy – but the doctors were pleased with Tim’s “beautiful” kidney and how well it is working in Art’s body. They were both very sleepy when we left the hospital late Thursday afternoon. Ben & Becky (son & wife), Matt(son), Anne (daughter here from Michigan for a few days), Bonnie (Tim’s wife) and Laurie (Bonnie’s mother) and I spent the day at the hospital.

We checked in at 5:30am this morning. Surgery started about 8am for Tim and 9am for Art – it was a 5-6 hour procedure. The doctor said the kidney started producing urine about 15 minutes after being transplanted. We heard the words “beautiful kidney” from the doctors several times. We were able to see them when they were taken to their rooms (just down the hall from each other) – Tim at 1:30 and Art at 3:15.

We were all very tired but grateful that all is working well. The expected hospital stay will be about 3 days for Tim and 5-7 for Art.

Friday, November 15
Art was awake, talking, and feeling much better this morning. Tim is feeling the pain from surgery this morning. All of this was expected and everything is working like it should at this point.

Sent from my iPad

It’s 4:20 am and I’m sitting here waiting for Mary and our daughter Anne to finish getting ready. We have to be at the transplant center by 5:30 am to be prepped for the operation. All of our kids will be there to give me a send-off and then we can get started.

This has been a long wait but I am thankful for the many prayers and thoughts that have been sent on our behalf. This will begin a different phase of our lives as we learn to live with a new routine and a new type of medicines for the anti-rejection.

My main thought is with our youngest son, Tim, who is my kidney donor. I pray that he will have no complications and will heal quickly so that he can get back to his life.

I’m a little apprehensive but generally I can say there is a true peace about the entire situation…and I thank everyone who is praying for helping me get through the waiting process.

See you on the other side.

Rocky: “And now…” 
Bullwinkle: “Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!” 
Rocky: “But that trick never works.” 
Bullwinkle: “But this time for sure. Presto! [pause] Well, I’m getting close!” 
Rocky: “And now it’s time for another special feature.” 

Art’s all-time favorite cartoon was the pun-filled Rocky and Bullwinkle show. Most of the humor was aimed toward adults and was even quite political in nature. So when the kidney transplant coordinator called and told us everything was a go to schedule the surgery….his first words were (using his best Bullwinkle imitation)

“This Time For Sure!!!”

Initially the surgery was scheduled for November 27th….the day before Thanksgiving. However our son, Tim, had heard about the process of petitioning for an “off-day” surgery – so he did and they accepted his request.

The operation is officially scheduled for Thursday, November 14th!!!
Pre-op testing is Tuesday. We have to be at the hospital 5:30 AM on Thursday. Apparently they want to get an early start.

We know by now that anything could happen and the date could still change….but we have faith that it will happen on the 14th as scheduled.

This time for sure!!

The week in the hospital helped to get Art’s health back on track. The doctors wanted to see at least 2 weeks of recovery before they re-schedule the transplant. After the first week out of the hospital…Art reported to his transplant coordinator and emailed her his daily vitals he has been collecting daily. The transplant team indicated they were pleased with the progress, but they still needed one more test.

During the hospital stay the doctors gave Art another unit of blood to help with his blood count. This means the team will need to perform another blood cross match. To speed things up we will travel to the University Hospital early Monday morning to have blood drawn and tested. The hope is that the results will be available for the transplant team to evaluate during their Tuesday meeting and will be willing to place Art onto the surgery schedule. Maybe the transplant will be scheduled sometime in the next 2-3 weeks.

Maybe we will be having a happy Thanksgiving.

Yesterday was the last day that our RV called Indiana “home”. The couple (Dan and Carolyn) who purchased the rig left it in storage at the last campground we were in. They wanted to pour a cement pad to park the unit at their house and also needed to put some miles on their new Ford F350 Diesel truck before they towed that monster home. Dan called to inform us he was coming and we told him to call if he had questions about hooking it up. Since he did not…we assume the RV is sitting in their driveway in Cincinnati.

Carolyn also sent Art an email encouraging him to not be depressed about the hiccups and delays in waiting for the transplant. She shared an idea about ending each day making a list of things that were good about the day…even the simple ones.

So Art reflected on the day and made a list.

- We started the day with a garage door repair man coming to adjust the door. He showed us in a straight-forward low pressure manner what our options were and how much each would cost. He was an honest very nice guy. It made the final bill seem not so bad.

- We traveled to the Hamilton County offices in Noblesville to file for our homestead and mortgage tax credit so we will now save hundreds.

- Art took a 2-hour power nap

- We put bird feeders up in the back yard

- We have fast Internet access. After 2 years using campground WiFi systems we finally are back to a Comcast system of fast and dependable access

- Art has planted a lot of grass seed in an effort to fill in some large bare areas in the lawn. He watered everything and saw that most of the seed is coming in (yeah!)

- We had an awesome roast beef dinner

- Went shopping for materials for a project that Mary is doing. Commented how nice it was to live so close to shopping. We don’t drive 30 minutes to get to a store anymore….they are literally all around us.

- Realized again how God helped us find just the right house in a great location. It really fits all our needs.

- Took a pile of pills, but am thankful we live in a country where we have access to good healthcare and pharmaceuticals.

When you actually stop and think, there are many things to be thankful for in a typical day.