Today I went to the gym early at 9:15 so I could join In on the ICU tour that was happening at 11.
When I had my transplant 12 years ago I was in the ICU that was located on there third floor of the hospital in the middle so there were only windows on one side. The ICU I was in had about 7 beds in a large room that were seperated by hospital curtains. It also had two private rooms that had their own tvs. I was in the main open area when I first woke up then was moved to a private room about three days later so I could watch tv while I was awake. The new ICU where you go if you have any surgery involving the chest or cardio vascular system is located in the new heart institute. We were able to go into the ICU and see someone who had just come out of having surgery and was just waking up. The new ICU now has all private rooms that are spacious and bright. The rooms had huge windows and the one we saw had a nice view. There looks like there is less equipment in the room. Equipment has become more technology advanced and made smaller. The equipment that I would most likely be hooked up to will be a ventilator, IV, chest tubes (pleurovacs),epidural, a central line in my main artery in my neck, and an IV line possibly in my wrist for taking blood pressure and blood and a catheter so I don't have to go pee while hooked up to all the equipment. I had to get up a few times last time I was in the ICU and having to drag all the equipment sucks. Usually after a lung transplant they try and get you up and moving right away even walking as soon as they can so fluid doesn't get on the lungs and turn into pneumonia. The average stay in the ICU is 3-5 days and then I would go to a recovery unit for a bit before going to my current unit to complete recovery.
After the tour we met so we could talk about and get answers to any questions we had for the recipient transplant coordinator. She went over the process that happens when you get a call that organs are available.
1. Is the official phone call were a transplant coordinator will call and let us know that there are lungs available and let us know how much time we have to get to the hospital. It depends on were you live were you will be picked up. In Alberta recipients can only get the helicopter in the province of Alberta so I would have to go to the nearest Alberta airport and the helicopter would arrange to pick me up. In the other provinces such as Saskatchewan the recipient has to make arrangements before the six week program is finished with there province to register and get picked up only in sk. I cannot be any further then 2 hours away from Alberta and if I am I have to let the transplant coordinator know and then they would put me on hold on the transplant list. So guess I'm stuck in Alberta for the next while till I get a call. Also there are rules when traveling in the air ambulance like how much weight can be brought onto the plane and only one person can come with me as the support person. I don't know much about that part yet because I haven't met with the coordinator yet to talk about all of that. I will be meeting with her before I leave.
2. Exceptional release- this is were the transplant coordinator let's me know depending on the condition of the lungs and the timing weather or not they have been able to test for different diseases and what not. For example they don't have enough time usually to test the donor for stds, some infections and stuff like that. Basically it is them letting us know that there are possibilities of certain things wrong with the lungs and I am aware of them and agree to the transplant still. They want to get the organs in the sooner the better because the least amount if time outside the body the better. They can treat with medications and such after the transplant if any thing were to show up or they haven't received results on.
3. While I am getting flown to the hospital there is a special team that flys to retrieve the donor organs. This is when they get more information and get to see the organs to make a decision weather or not that they will be a suitable match or if there is something wrong with them and they are not able to use them. This is called a dry run if something happens to the organs and they are not able to be used. Depending on were the organs are usually the recipient me will be at the hospital before the organs. Getting test and ready for the transplant. If the organs are going to be awhile to get then it may be even possible to drive because I only live two and a half hours away from the hospital. This would be better to me as I Love to Fly! NOT