“Good news,” said BMT nurse practitioner Julia. “You’re CMV test came back negative – that’s two weeks in a row. You know we’re all excited that you’re doing so well, and we think it’s time to transition you home.”
Knowing the healthy benefits of being home, Julia and team were enthusiastic to send me the short 120 miles west, so long as I was continuing my upward curve – uppity (or at least stable) blood counts, absent graft-versus-host disease, no new infections, etc. – and two weeks’ worth of negative CMV tests. The second negative means they can spare my kidneys one dose per day of the tough anti-viral IV and switch to once daily doses at home, given through these things that look like baby bottles.
After a few days of arranging by Mayo, I got word that a week’s worth of home healthcare was set, specialty pharmacies identified, and my weekly doctor appointments at Mayo scheduled. My mom, sympathetic to my 72-day stint in Rochester and excited that I was leaving Mayo-land a whole 38 days early, left work early and picked me up amid a flash flood warning.
We left my elastic-waistband-denim-wearing, Wheel-of-Fortune-watching old friends at the Transplant House, only to arrive in New Ulm, a town that has nearly as heavy of a concentration of traffic-watching, home healthcare-receiving people. But alas, I’m still one of them.
But really, in these weeks at the Transplant House I’ve learned from several astounding people – old and young(er) – who are going through unimaginable trials. The man from Colorado who received a heart, liver and kidney at once to halt the progress of an organ-killing disease; the couple from Oregon who have been at the Transplant House for 10 months waiting for a set of lungs for his wife; the Mennonite girls who leave their own homes for six-month stretches to clean the kitchen I use at the Transplant House, sing to me in the hospital, and entertain my questions in the hallways.
The other condition of being homeward-bound is that I remain just as much of a hermit as I was in Rochester. No bars, restaurants, grocery stores, shopping malls. Cleanliness. Rest. Close watch. But of course I’m finding some things to do. I surprised my grandparents and a few other rellies by popping my still-bald head around a corner. I’ve already had a hearty meal of sauerkraut and dumplings (Czech, not German), cooked Jay Vancura-style. I even made it home in time for Bavarian Blast, but the combination of Amazon-level dew points, kegs and kegs of beer, and crowds make it an anti-Jenna event this year. Good thing I’ll be back next year.
To leave a comment,just click on “Comments” below this post. It will take you to a new page. Scroll to the bottom where it says “Leave a Reply.” Fill in your name, email address, and your comment in the boxes. When you’re finished, click “Post Comment.” It’s great to hear from you!