May 21, 2004

First Mate Update, Cont'd

Just a short note to update everyone on the First Mate. She's back home and very tired but doing well. What happens from time to time on a dialysis shunt is that the natural tendency of blood to clot will narrow the line where it enters the body. To combat this, the dialysis center fills the line with a medication that suppresses the clotting reaction at the end of each session. (The medicine sits in the line and doesn't flow into the body; it has something to do with the pressure differential, but I'm a bit unclear on that concept.)

If this doesn't work, though, what happens is that the shunt becomes to narrow to pump the blood at a sufficient rate to properly dialyze, and a failure to dialyze is a big deal for the patient. Normally they would have sent her home to try again the next day, but since we're so close to the transplant date, they wanted to make sure nothing happened to postpone the surgery. By the time the hospital's dialysis unit checked on her, the problem had corrected itself and she was able to dialyze there with no problem. Of course, the joy of the hospital stay means she got next to no sleep all night, so she's exhausted, but other than that she's doing fine.

Thanks to all of you who commented or wrote e-mails to me with your prayers and well-wishes. Both of us are truly grateful for all of your concern. I'll keep you updated on her status as we get closer to the transplant.


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