Ann’s Story, as captured from the LDO! Message Board

Hi everybody, I promised a follow-up on the donation process, and here it is. Please excuse the length, as I want it to be as informative as possible.

Mon, 6/24: Reported to Duke at 5:30 am. I met again with the anesthesiologist and was placed in a room, where a nurse checked my vital signs, started my IV, took a health history and gave me a sedative. Last thing I remember before surgery is the sedative. The surgery started around 7:30 and was over between 1:30 and 2:00. I don’t know what time I awoke, but I remember being in ICU, my family was around. The nurses helped me to turn, and got me the dreaded incentive spirometer to help me breathe deeply. When I awoke, I had a central line in my neck, an arterial line in my wrist, an IV in my other arm, a dressing over my incision, a drain from my wound, and a catheter to drain my urine.

Tues 6/25: I got transferred to the surgical unit at around noon. Still kind of groggy. I had a PCA pump connected to morphine for pain control. Got up and transferred to the chair for the first time today. Don’t recall much pain, mostly deep soreness and stiffness. My dressing was removed today, as was the arterial line, the central line and the catheter. Had some nausea today. Got trays today with dispan soup and jello, which I left alone.

Wed. 6/26: Laps around the unit all day. Getting up and down is getting easier. Having problems with temperature control, running a low-grade fever around 100. Still have the PCA pump, but not using as much. Drank a little tea today. The nausea continues today until I finally throw up and clear out the junk that has settled in the back of my throat during surgery. No more nausea after that.

Thurs. 6/27: IV’s are finally out. Still don’t want the soup and jello, and the gas is moving real slow. Walk, walk, walk, deep breathe and cough.

Fri. 6/28: Feeling better. Got some real food today. The gas continues to move slowly. Got the JP drain out today. This hurt a little, but was over very quickly. Got a visit from Mike ( the Duke liver donor in March) and his wife Amy. They shared their donation experience, and this helped me to know what I can expect to be doing, and when. Continue to walk.

Sat 6/29: Took a shower and washed my hair. What a wonderful feeling. Discharged home around lunchtime. Given pain meds to take by mouth.

Sun 6/30- Thurs 7/4: Better everyday. Stopped taking the pain meds on Sunday night. Really not having any pain, just soreness that improves everyday. Slept in the recliner until Wed nite and was able to sleep in the bed with some pillows strategically placed after that. My appetite is improving, just not able to eat a lot at one time. The gas is much improved.

Fri 7/5: Returned to Duke and had staples removed from my incision. Dr. Tuttle told me I can drive now if I want. No heavy lifting or bending. I will return there in a month, prior to returning to work, unless I encounter problems.

Some of the details are graphic, but I wanted to know up front what to expect. I had a very positive experience, and would do it again in a heartbeat. I received excellent care at Duke. The 2 year old that I donated to has done well. His liver enzymes have steadily declined. They rose some on Sunday and a liver biopsy was done. He was found to have cholangitis, some inflammation of the bile ducts, which is pretty common after this surgery. He was started on and responded to IV antibiotics. His white count is a little elevated today, but the MD’s think it may be related to his other meds, and they think he looks wonderful otherwise. He definitely wouldn’t have made it much longer without the surgery. I hope this information is helpful, and I would be happy to answer any questions anyone has. I can definitely say that I am the person who has been most blessed and most humbled during this entire process.