Monthly Archives: June 2014

SF Sunny Sunday

Happy Sunday everyone! Parm and Heidi were up early today, and the recovery continues.

Heidi looked good.  She did an ultrasound early this morning to take a peek at the new liver.   She came back, saying that the doctors said all is good.  The nurse came by and took her blood sugar, which also came back normal.  I believe the official word is that she no longer needs insulin.  Yipee!  Heidi’s also on a full diet now; she can have anything under the sun (hospital approved that is).  It was a happy moment when I got to order apple sauce, yogurt, and scrambled eggs for her.  She didn’t eat all of it, but it’s nice that she’s thinking about food again.  In general, Heidi says she feels different and feels very different than when she had the old liver.

Unfortunately, Parm is still feeling pains.  His bodily organs are still trying to wake up from the surgery and drugs, so that is causing him quite some discomfort.  The good news is that Parm has been unhooked from his dance partner, making him pretty much wireless again.  The epidural line was also removed.  It’s nice to know there’s nothing tapped into his spine anymore.  Right now, Parm’s just hoping his body warms up quick so he can feel like himself again.  Good luck Parm!

More News from the UCSF Liver Resort

Heidi and Parm had more victories today.  Heidi stood up and walked for the first time today!  Fantastic!  I believe she has done about 2 laps.  Heidi has also been moved off of a clear liquid diet and onto an all liquids diet.  I have never been more excited to see a berry shake on her food tray!  Parm, on the other hand, is now up to 13 laps on the hospital floor.  He did have another bad day with pain though…  The doctors started weaning him off of the epidural meds, so he is now really starting to feel the effects of the surgery.  They are hoping to take him completely off of it sometime tonight.  As hard as it has been for him today, he has been quite the trooper.  He’s set on getting home ASAP.

Here are some pictures from the resort:

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Heidi doing laps

Parm and Heidi Heidi and Greg 6-29-14 Replacement Gallbladders

Thanks Yous

This is my first post since before the surgery.  I have some very big thank yous to give out.

Most importantly, to Wendy for being at my side at nearly every hour.  When she was not at my side, she was usually visiting my mother, clipping her nails, gossiping, or generally keeping her spirits up.  You are my biggest hero right now.

Also Thank Yous to Steve, Kevan, and Connie for subbing in and giving Wendy a much deserved break. Thank you to Ryan, Brian, Mark, and Mio for stopping by to check in on me.

And also equally important, a huge Thank you to the surgeons, doctors, nurses, assistants, staff, even the janitors at UCSF for helping make my mother’s and my Surgeries successful.

Thank you to all of you out there wishing us better, praying, sacrificing large and small animals… It seems to have been working, so keep it up.

I am still on my journey, and today they have been transitioning me off my epidural, which means pain, and lots of it.  Please keep sending the healing juju in the  general direction of UCSF, and I am sure some of it will make my transition much better.

-Parm

Thank Goodness It’s Friday!

It is Friday night.  Such a huge sigh of relief that so much has passed without complication.  I feel very blessed and thankful to have been able to share this moment with the Parmelee family.

As of right now, Parm is in his room.  He is doing better than last night/earlier this morning.  I truly hope he has a good night tonight.  It would be great if he is able to get him some solid shut eye.  Since he started walking, I have been greatly concerned.  Parm likes to push push push (we all know it).  Doctors were hoping for 2-3 laps around the block.  So far, Parm has been done 9.   Showoff.  I’m very proud, though.  He’s sort of pretty amazing.  He’s been okay in spirits too–got a visit from Brian and Ryan today.  Parm’s very determined to keep walking and keep exceeding doctor expectations.  See picture below for his goals for today…

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Heidi is also back in her room, as well.  They moved her from the ICU later in the afternoon.  She was finally stable enough to be taken off the insulin and moved for regular recovery.  Yipee!  The blood pressure did go up a bit, but doctors are watching closely.  She turned on her sound wave/doppler artery monitor for me as well.  The sound of the blood flowing through the new liver was definitely comforting.  Right now, she is fast asleep.  I’m not sure if she’ll be taking visitors yet.  Heidi hasn’t started walking yet.  Please check with Steve if you are planning on visiting.

Oh, and one last thing.  Well, in this instance you don’t need my narration.  Sometimes, a picture says 1,000 words.  🙂

Heidi and Chris share a liver

Second Hurdle: Getting Through the Night

Even though the surgery is now over, the challenges are not yet done for Heidi and Parm.  And it turns out, mother and son both had pretty eventful nights.   It was not an easy night for anyone.  I did check on both this morning, and things are stable and very well.

When I first checked on Heidi last night in the ICU, she was doing well.  Steve said Heidi did not have a mouth tube inserted, and she was responding to sound and voices.  She nodded when Steve mentioned Parm.  Doctors actually told me later, after everyone had left, that Heidi woke up.  I took the elevator upstairs to just say hello, and sure enough, Heidi was awake and talking!  She was very very tired and hooked up to every monitor I could imagine.   Although she was not quite stable enough to be moved back to Parm’s floor, everything seemed, as the doctors reported, well ahead of schedule.

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This morning, after talking to Heidi, she told me there were some hiccups late last night…  However, things were pretty calm when I walked in.  Heidi told me that her blood sugar actually spiked last night, so they put her on insulin, which they are monitoring.  Heidi also told me that her blood pressure actually dropped as well.  Another hiccup.  She didn’t really complain too much of pain, but she was still tired.  Since I wasn’t sleeping with her in ICU, I can’t really say what is her true pain level.  All I know is, she wasn’t too tired to fit in a few embarrassing stories about Parm as a kid.  She has grand plans to try to stand on her own this afternoon.  There are no pictures of Heidi right now–maybe later.  She’s keeping a low profile until I get her a proper photo shoot.

With Parm, I know a little bit more of what he went through.  He had a hard night.  Things were okay for awhile past midnight, but he started feeling pain around 1:30 or 2 a.m.  His body, his abdomen muscles, were seizing.  A cramp like sensation.  I have never really seen Parm in pain, but it was very hard for me to watch.  Nurses came in multiple times during the night to adjust his medication and his bed position.  It was really hours later until he felt more ease and comfort.  I felt helpless; I couldn’t do much.  I ended up falling asleep, watching him.  When I did wake at 4 a.m., he had hot packs that helped him feel better and drugs were helping to control what he was feeling.  Turns out, he had a fever in the night too.  He didn’t get much rest at all.  Doctors came in later and said nothing sounded out of the ordinary.

A few hours later, Parm insisted he wanted to stand up.image_10

Needed to stand up.  His nurse, Thien, did give Parm a look of, “I don’t think so…”  Especially since Parm went through so much in the night.  I’m not sure if Parm saw it, but Parm was determined to give Thien the credit.  Thien brought in another guy to help shift Parm about the bed.  How fast Parm sat up and stood up definitely made me uneasy, but that feeling soon passed.   He was up!  My Parm was standing!  He looked good standing!  Parm then insisted on getting to walk around the 9th Floor.  We opened the door, and Parm pretty much just started taking off.  He did good!  He did one whole lap around the floor! Check it out! See Parm Go!

I am so relieved that the night is over.  Heidi and Parm are A-OK.  Parm had a great nurse, Thien.  Thanks Thien for getting Parm situated.

First Hurdle: Snoozes from Parm

Remember the pictures from when Parm checked into the hospital on Day 1?  Grey and dreary.  Today, the view from his room was amazing while we waited for Parm to be rolled back from surgery.  Amazing.  Parm did something amazing today.

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Words can’t really describe what it felt like to see Parm finally rolled back into his room from the PAC-Unit (Post-Acute Care Unit).  This happened around 3:00 p.m. today.   Eyes open, laying back on a gurney.  He immediately started was moving his hands and lifting his hospital top to show us his “gnarly scar.”  The next few words were, “How’s Mom doing?”  At that time, Heidi was still in surgery.  We then quickly stepped aside to make way for nurses as they moved Parm from the gurney onto his hospital bed.  They shut the door–you know, just in case they were to drop him…

Steve, Kevan, Connie, and I were so relieved to finally see him.  It was an even better treat to see him awake.  Once we were in the room with him, he looked at me and asked, “Have you been updating my blog?”  Oh, Parm.

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So, how is he feeling?  Parm’s feeling great, all the drugs (pardon my humor).  Parm is feeling very tired.  He is a bit groggy.  Every so often, he wakes up to talk to you, but drifts back to sleep during conversation.  He has been telling the nurses that he feels some pain.  About a 3 on a scale of 1-10…  Last time the nurse checked, Parm could feel the touch of the nurse’s hands on his feet and calves.  No food until tomorrow.  I’m happy that I hear a gentle snoring.  Did I tell you about the “gnarly scar;” he is still trying to lift his shirt to show me…

Now, that Parm’s out, part of the entourage moved on to the ICU (intensive care unit) waiting room for Heidi.  Below is a good picture of the eager, smiling from good news.

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Shortly after situating Parm, Dr. Roberts (Heidi’s doctor), came and found us.  He told us, Heidi’s surgery went well.  She is done and will be moved to the ICU with time.  Doctor said Heidi received a good sized new liver!  Even better news–her body seemed to be working and functioning with the new liver.  They also did some clamping on the spleen to decrease her blood pressure and patched up the hemorrhaging from before.  Although Heidi would not be waking up today, she was taken to the ICU and we were allowed to see her.  The doctor hopes for her to be discharged in two weeks.

The report from Steve, Kevan, and Connie is that Heidi is looking good in the ICU and doing well.  Nurses are impressed how well Heidi is doing.  They didn’t expect to be able to take out her breathing and feeding tubes from her mouth/throat so quickly.  By the time Kevan, Steve, and Connie got there, Heidi was breathing on her own.  They heard machines whirling way, indicating her arteries were pumping blood through the new liver.  Modern medical miracles.  Steve said they told her Parm was doing alright, and Heidi nodded.  Although not awake, Heidi is clearly lucid and present.  So happy!

Dr. Asher just walked in too.  She said the surgery went fine and took a look at Parm’s scar.  “Looks good!” she says.  Can’t argue with that woman.  She is one amazing warrior woman of a doctor.  Looks good doing it too!  And if you know me, I am all about the strong women who get business done while looking sharp.   She also asked Parm, “do you remember fainting when we had to give you the epideral?”

At this moment, the gang has returned home.  As for me, there will be another session with the chair tonight.  Parm’s doing well, and he is being checked on every hour by nurses.  Thanks again, everyone for all the support and love.  I am reading Parm all the comments and loving words being expressed.

 

 

Parm’s Successful Gauntlet Run

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About 4 a.m. this morning, Parm and I were woken up by the nurse coming in to take his vitals.  Parm from his fancy, self-adjusting hospital bed and me from my…chair.  The nurse  gave us word that everyone would be ready to move him around 6:15 a.m..  We really didn’t fall back asleep after.  Today was the day–surgery day.

Right at 6:15 a.m., they came back in and said the gurney was outside.  I walked with Parm down to the Pre-Operation room.  His mom soon followed.  Kevan and Parm’s dad came in shortly, followed by family friend Connie.  Parm was probably officially rolled into surgery around 8 a.m..   They told us to expect him around noon – 2:00 p.m..  The entourage (Steve, Kevan, Connie and I), went up to Parm’s room to start waiting.  We waited.  Then we waited some more.

8 hours later…we were still waiting.  Personally, I started panicking when we still didn’t hear anything at 2:00 p.m.  Finally…

Dr. Ascher came into Parm’s room with news.  All she said was 1) Parm’s surgery has been completed, 2) he did okay, 3) he will be in recovery for a few hours before they bring him back to his hospital room.  She’s a lady of few words.  Steve, Parm’s dad, said it correctly, “to me, she is an angel.”  I fully agree.

Thank you everyone for the prayers and the love.  I’ll continue to update for Parm until he is up and about.

Admitted, the Adventure Begins

imageHeidi and I have been admitted to 9-Long, the transplant wing at UCSF Parnassus.  We have separate rooms, but we both have private rooms which means that someone could spend the night in the room with us.

The hospital beds are extremely comfortable, and must have some form of AI, as they self adjust shortly after I have settled.  The menu for hospital food is surprisingly diverse, with attention paid to local produce and pasture-raised beef, and free range chickens.  The bad news is that I won’t be able to eat anything for a while, most likely a few days.

I have had about 5 tubes of blood drawn and had an EKG.  I am also about to have another chest X-Ray.   The view from my room would be wonderful if it wasn’t such a dreary day outside.  I will try to attach a photo to share (first time posting from my iPhone).

5:30pm, 6/25, T-14 hours until surgery…

Mom looking fashionable in her shawl:

Mom shawl admit

Liverzilla

On Thursday June 26th, 2014, I will be donating the left lobe of my liver to my mother.  This was an easy decision for me to make.  My mother gave me the opportunity of life, and I am in a very unique position to be able to repay her with the same thing she gave to me.  I want her to be able to enjoy her retirement.  I want her to see her grandkids.  I want her to have a chance; the same chance she gave me.

i_liver_you_mom

So how did we get here?