I realize it’s been over a week since I last posted about Jody and I apologize. My laptop battery charger stopped working so the battery died leaving me unable to blog. I left the hospital Sunday for work so I picked up a new charger and am now back in business. I just read over the last post I wrote about Jody so I can update you from that point.
Jody’s breathing is doing great! On chest x-ray his lungs are still recovering from the infection that hit them so hard but clinically he is feeling good from a breathing stand-point. He has been off all oxygen (with and without activity) for over a week. Actually, sometime this past week they even took him off the continuous O2 monitoring.
On Saturday they delivered the PFT machine that Jody will use twice a day at home to measure his lung function. Prior to surgery Jody’s lowest lung function (recorded) was 22%. From the time we started dating, nearly 10.5 years ago, I have gone with Jody to his doctors appointments and watched him perform these pulmonary function tests. About three months before surgery I stopped watching; it was getting too hard. He would take a deep breath, blow out the air as fast and as hard as he could, giving it his all, and the results would be so disappointing. His face would turn as red as can be, the veins in his neck bulged, and the coughing it brought on was torturous to hear. His inability to do something so natural…breathe well, was heartbreaking. I couldn’t sit there and watch it anymore. So, for the first time in 10 years, I began staying in the waiting room until the test was complete. By the time I saw him he was recovered and I could pretend he never had the struggle. On Saturday when Jody tried out his home PFT machine, his lung function was 50%! This number is expected to climb through pulmonary rehab and as his lungs recover from his infection. Even better than the 50% is that the test seemed effortless. His face didn’t turn red, his veins didn’t bulge as before, and instead of five minutes of intense coughing, he didn’t cough at all. It was an emotional time for the both of us as we realized once again the implications of this gift of life he’s been given.
Since I last posted, Jody’s main issues have been GI related. After having his feeding tube revised he started complaining of abdominal cramps, bloating, and nausea. At first it was blown-off by the staff but as it grew in intensity they started to take him more serious, ordering an abdominal x-ray and CT scan. When Jody had his ‘J’ tube revised the doctor told me that he didn’t know how the tube had moved in the first place, and noted, “It should never move (into his stomach) again… and if it does… I’ll eat my shoes.” Well guess what, he needs to eat those shoes of his. Just two days after Jody’s revision (and possibly sooner, we can’t know) the tube was back up in his stomach and this time, all coiled up. They planned to revise it again but Jody was persistent that he wanted it out. Because nutrition has been an issue (he’s down to 109 lbs), they decided to leave it as is and do a calorie count over the weekend to see if Jody is eating enough on his own to sustain him. I should also mention that in addition to the feeding tube issue, the CT scan showed that Jody had a bowel obstruction which was probably the cause of his GI symptoms. Over the next few days they gave Jody treatments to help with this issue, but it never seemed to work well. While the doctors didn’t feel the misplaced and coiled ‘J’ tube had anything to do with Jody’s GI issues, we didn’t agree. It seemed he only started having problems after his tube was revised. Finally on Sunday, they pulled his ‘J’ tube out at this bedside. He said he could feel it uncoiling as it was being pulled. It was a relief to him to have it out and since then he has tolerated food without the painful cramps, bloating and nausea. I’m sure the team would deny any correlation, but it seems more than just a coincidence. Now we need to pray that his appetite will return so that he can start putting on weight.
There is so much more I could tell you about what’s been happening over the last week. Since I’m a little behind in updating you I can’t expect to get through everything in this one post. The best, most notable and surprising news I have to share with you right now is that Jody came home tonight!!! His long recovery will continue here at home. He’s still very weak and frail, and easily fatigued. There is so much for us to learn and adjust to as well as an unbelievable amount of medications to figure out. Hours upon hours of education have come down to this. We ask you to pray that the transition from hospital to home will be smooth. I look forward to telling you more about this when I get the chance. We are stunned that transplant has come and gone, and after five weeks Jody is finally home! We appreciate your continued support and encouragement as this journey is far from over. More to come… I promise. Now check out the surprise ‘going home’ shirt I gave to Jody, I think it’s my new favorite; no truer words have ever been spoken.