It’s been 5 weeks since I was discharged from hospital, and things appear to be going great. My bloods are looking good, I’m slowly starting to get my strength back, and I’m spending less and less time visiting hospital for these post-transplant clinics.
These clinics are one part of the recovery process I never really thought about pre-transplant. I’m a pretty oblivious person when it comes to most things in life, and the fact that I thought I’d leave the hospital and have the odd check-up here and there is clearly a testament to this.
In reality, being discharged following a transplant is like hospital probation. Depending on the organ you’re having switched out you can spend the first 4 weeks returning outpatient’s clinic every morning, being gradually weened down to 1 or 2 days a month over the following year, and finding out when your next visit will be feels like a lucky dip each time. You could be feeling brilliant, everything seems like it’s to be going in the right direction to score a few extra days away from the hospital, and then you get there and it turns out your tacro level is low, or the team are transplanting, or the pathology lab is closed, and after waiting for most of the morning you’re told you’ll have to come back the next day. Or worse still, your lab results could be so low you need topping up with IV fluids or readmission. It mightn’t feel like such a process if the visits weren’t quite as long as they are, but every clinic visit is generally 4-6 hours long, with about 5 hours and 45 minutes of waiting, and 15 minutes of having bloods taken and speaking with a doctor.
Having said this, I really don’t mean to detract from the importance of these clinic visits or the respect I have for those involved with running them, and I feel incredibly grateful that someone is keeping such a close eye on me and my new liver. This post is rather to highlight one of the many parts of the transplant process I was unprepared for, and just how involved and ongoing the whole recovery process is. Plus, I’ve really had it pretty bloody good, with no readmissions and having just had my clinic visits dropped to once a fortnight. The plan now is to get back to doing as many normal-person things as possible, after I’ve finished binge-watching Please Like Me.