05 January 2009

An unexpectedly pleasant journey...



Today's Day 13 post-transplant; tomorrow's my 2 week anniversary. Feeling pretty good, actually. I've lost most of the post-surgical swelling now so I can do things like climb stairs and bend at the waist :)

One of the responsibilities I have as a new transplant patient is to get my blood drawn twice a week down at the transplant clinic at Ohio State University. This includes some special lab draws which absolutely must be drawn within a specific 1/2-hour window. So Monday and Thursday I go in for a blood draw at approximately 10:15 am. Typically I've just gone in, got it drawn, and left.

Well, I've had a couple other things going on - some stitches that needed to be removed, and the unfortunate recurrence of my gout. So after my blood draw, I went back to the receptionist window:

Me: "Hey, I've got some stitches from a previous catheter that Dr X. said should be removed in 7-10 days. It's day 8. Can I get that done here somehow? Is that something I can arrange?" (thinking that they'll make me an appointment)

Receptionist: "Hold on one second, let me ask your nurse". (exit)

Enter Dr. Y., the surgeon who performed my transplant

Dr Y.: Hey, Mark, how's it going? Give yourself a hernia yet? (This is surgeon humor. It's funny 'cause he actually thinks the surgery will eventually cause a hernia).

Me: Pretty good, I....

Monica (interrupting): His gout is bothering him.

Dr Y.: Oh really?

Monica describes symptoms.

Dr Y.: Do you have any colchicine? (alkaloid medicine for acute gout) Start taking that at the following dosage. It won't hurt the transplant.

Me: OK. (Wow, free advice!)

Mark and Monica sit back down in the reception area. Within 30 seconds Mark's name is called. It's Mark's nurse.

Nurse: Come back to the treatment room.

At treatment room

Nurse: OK, we've got your blood tests from last week. Everything is fine. We want you to lower your dose of your immune suppression med.

Me: Woo Hoo!

Enter Dr Y.

Dr Y.: Let me look at the stitches. OK, based on the fact that you heal slower than average, go ahead and leave them in for another 5 weeks. Don't forget to lower your immunosuppressive dose and take your gout medicine.

Exeunt.

And that was it. Let me emphasize that all of the above was done without an appointment and immediately upon request. With zero waiting time and unscheduled, I was seen by a surgeon and a nurse in a private room. This is simply the most amazing medical service I have ever received. This is a class operation.