Chapter Twenty-Eight: Apples and Potatoes

My first appointment since discharge was today. Dad and I drove to the Clinic at 6:30 for blood labs, then returned to the suite since my x-ray and pulmonary function tests weren’t scheduled until 1:30. I did nebs and napped, as I wasn’t allowed to eat anything after 7:00 and was only permitted to take my anti-rejection meds this morning.

The result of this was that I ended up in severe pain for most of the day. Having been told not to take my long-acting morphine this morning, I ended up gasping and staggering my way around the Clinic. After being x-rayed and doing PFTs, I met with Dr. Budev who gave me some good news and some bad news. Unfortunately, the bad news outweighed the good by a hefty amount.

Let’s start with the good news: there didn’t appear to be any problems with my lungs (as was later confirmed by the bronchoscopy images), and I may be allowed to go home to Medfield in a matter of weeks rather than months. This all depends on how the next few weeks go. My PFT scores, while not stellar by my previous standards, have improved dramatically since transplant and should continue to improve as my body adapts to its new lungs.

Now for the bad news. Firstly, due to some of the medications I’ve been taking (and initially sparked by the transplant), my digestive system is having trouble. A fairly substantial amount of food is not being digested, even with enzymes, and so I have been put on a full liquid diet until further notice. Luckily, this diet includes things like yogurt and mashed potatoes, but puts a full stop on my culinary adventures for the time being. I also have to return to the Clinic sometime within the next few weeks for an EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) to break up the food that remains in my stomach, as the doctors believe it is stuck due to nerve damage resulting from the transplant surgery. The nerve will ultimately heal on its own, but until such time as it begins to function normally, I am to avoid eating meats and anything with cellulose, such as vegetable skins. Milkshakes, mashed potatoes, and other similar foods are the limits of my diet for the near future. On the day that they perform the EGD, they may also elect to give me a botox injection that they say may help somehow. I’m thrilled about neither of the procedures, to tell the truth.

Just before we left for the appointment, I received several packages and letters in the mail. One was a candy bouquet from the DeRoches, some of which I’ve already eaten. Another was a gift from the dance moms, and contained an Apple iPad, which was a great surprise and came as a bit of a shock despite their forewarning me of a package to come. I hadn’t seen one in person until I opened the box today, and while I am excited to use it I have absolutely no idea where to start. Many thanks to the dance moms and the DeRoches for the gifts, and to everyone who has sent cards, letters, or gifts (ranging from food baskets to edible arrangements and more).

While I’ll continue to research epic food destinations and challenges, and will continue to devise new recipes to be experimented with, I won’t be embarking on any new food adventures for a while, nor will I be doing much cooking, as I can’t really eat anything exciting until my stomach has been deemed ready by the doctors. The next few days, at the very least, will probably be spent sleeping as much as possible so that I can avoid eating (which tends to happen a lot while I’m awake).

Hopefully I’ll have better news in the near future, and will be able to return to my food to-do list and culinary shenanigans soon.

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