January, 2010

Four O'clock Monday morning awake worrying about kids the phone rang. The number looked like that of Grandson Canaan so I picked up.

"This is Julie from Mayo Clinic, is this the home of Marylyn Bradley?" I answered in the affirmative. "May I please speak to her?" I took the phone to Marylyn. "A perfect match kidney is available. Can you be here within two hours."

We arrived, I gave Marylyn a betadine scrubbing, she put on a gown and was wheeled into surgery prep. Surgery was from 11:30am to 02:30pm after which Dr. Mulligan walked over to say "The operation went well, the new kidney was actually working as we closed up and Mrs. Bradley is now in recovery."

About 6pm Marylyn was transported to the ICU where she was hooked up to multi-wires and hoses that fed into alarm equipped monitors showing squiggly lines and ominous numbers like those seen on television. I spent the night next to her while a cheerful and obviously competent nurse checked in and out every few minutes all night long.

Tuesday afternoon a Physical Therapist helped Marylyn sit and standup and he and her nurse walked her four times around the unit which was interesting to watch given the many ways she was tethered to an electronic Christmas tree.

A little later most wires and tubes were disconnected. Marylyn was transported down the hall to a new room also fully equipped with a cheerful competent nurse like those I have grown to admire. Another all-nighter but this time we actually got a little sleep.

Wednesday we woke up to learn health care reform was dead having been killed by a rich selfish Massachusetts man who had his and doesn't want to share. Drove home to get the house ready for Marylyn's return where I was assaulted by a John McCain funded robo-call to hear a selfish Massachusetts pig squealing how he was going to kill health care reform. Ever scream in anger at a recorded message?

Wednesday afternoon I walked Marylyn on a leash, lots of patient education followed by too much real food for dinner. Almost free we both got some sleep.

Home Thursday afternoon in time to realize we forgot to stop at the Mayo Pharmacy to pickup "fast-acting insulin." Scrambling we got it here just in time for evening medications.

Treatments nurses make look easy are actually very complicated and we totally blew our Friday morning mandatory routine. For the first time I realized it was going to take both of us, working as a team, for Marylyn to get well. I contacted the Estrella Human Resources Manager to apply for Intermittent Family Medical Leave and we returned to Mayo Clinic to meet the Transplant Manager responsible for Marylyn's case.

Saturday we actually got the morning routine right plus my nurse sister Carolyn, and her super competent husband, are on the way to help.

Said Marylyn to our son-in-law, "Now there's a chance I'll get to attend Lydia's high school graduation."