Transplant Clinic

I thought i would bring you along with me to a normal transplant clinic.
You aren't given a time at transplant clinic; it's literally first come, first serve.
So of course, the earlier you're there, the quicker you're seen, the faster you can get out and get on with the remainder of your day.
I prefer to set off at 7am so an early night is needed.
Wanting to be prepared the night before. I like to choose my clothes and lay them out my clinic bag.

Contents of clinic bag

In the clinic bag, we have my daily meds, itraconazole, syringe, blood pressure cuff and my tornaque. 
I get my normal bag ready, set my alarm and then head to bed. 

At 6:15am, my alarm goes off. Make up on, clothes on, make bed and downstairs for some breakfast. We set off at 7am and head onto the motorway to get to Wythenshawe. 

Entrance to the Transplant Unit

Tranplant Reception

In reception, i get given a number and then head off to x-ray and lung function.
The x-ray is just a normal chest x-ray. I have adapted the technique of wearing a wireless bra so choose to wear a sports bra and that saves a little bit of time having to change into a gown. Next up is lung function!

X-ray Waiting Room

Lung Function Entrance

Lung function entrance

Lung Function Room

It's here where you're weighed and perform 2 types of lung function tests to see the volume and capacity your lungs currently hold.
1st Test - You're told to breathe normally for a while and then it's a deep breath and a gentle sigh out with no force, till you've emptied your lungs. Then a big breath in. You do roughly three of those so they can get an average result. 
2nd Test - These ones are the fast ones. More normally breathing at first, deep breath in and then a fast and forceful huff out for as long as you possibly can till you're lungs are empty. Again you usually do three of those. 
You're all done at lung function so now you'll be heading back to clinic. 

The lung function unit is right next door to Pearce Ward (my CF ward) so if i have time, every now and then i like to buzz on to say hello to the ward nursing staff and physio's. 
Next up it's back to clinic to be seen by the Transplant Outpatient nurses. 
It's here that you'll have a chat about general health and state of mind. You report any problems to them or in my case have a leisurely chat because they're all so lovely and friendly. 
Blood samples are taken and your observations are recorded. You can then take your meds as you have to wait to have your bloods taken before having your tablets. That's because when taking bloods, they check lots of things like infection levels, white cell count, kidney functions and the levels in your blood of the meds your taking. That's to make sure you're having the right amount of anti-fungal meds and anti-rejection meds. 
Now you just have to wait to see the doctor who's usually just finishing off the ward round upstairs. 

One of the clinical rooms

There are a few little things dotted around the unit. I took a few photos of some of them that i like and find interesting.

Little wooden ornament with a crystal at the base

Bill Noble was a heart transplant patient who had won all these medals at the transplant games for swimming.

All these medals have been won by the transplant patients of Wythenshawe hospital at the transplant games

This is my absolute favourite and think the message is given beautifully.

The consultant usually comes off ward round at half 10-11ish. 
You're invited in to the room to discuss the latest goings on, how you've been feeling and any problems you have. They then usually check your x-ray and lung functions and compare them with previous ones that have been taken. They'll check your latest blood results and then chat about what they think is needing to be done if anything at all. 
Then you'll be given a sheet that you hand into reception to indicate when your next appointment is going to be. 

This little routine works well for me. Some people do things differently and it usually depends on what time you arrived at clinic and what time you took your meds the previous night that will determine in what order you'll go about your clinic appointment that morning. 

Hopefully with no problems you can leave clinic and get out of there fast ready to head off for some lunch or go home. That's a normal clinic appointment, sometimes bronchoscopies or both bronchoscopes and biopsies are combined into your clinic appointment. 
Later that night you will sometimes receive a phonecall off the outpatient nurses to tell you of any changes or concerns regarding the days earlier tests. I like to jot these changes down in my planner so i can keep a record for myself.  The nurses won't ring you if no changes are being made or there are no concerns raised. 

My latest clinic some could say wasn't the best but things are getting sorted now so i guess it depends how you look at it.
My infection levels had crept up ever so slightly than last week, my lung functions were down a little bit and my x-ray hadn't improved so it was decided i was to have a bronchoscopy the following morning and started on Oral antibiotics as well as home IV's.
The following day i went back to clinic for the bronchoscopy where they put a camera down your throat and into the lungs to have a look around, take pictures and then give your lungs what they call a 'wash out' and suction up all the sputum to clear you out.
Some people have no sedation for this but i prefer to have it! I can't imagine it is a pleasant experience without and i am certainly not brave enough to attempt it. My gag reflex is ridiculous so i guess it helps being away with the fairies to even notice.
I usually need a lot of sedation as for some reason my body likes to fight against it and even with the maximum amount of sedation i can still remember, struggling with the washes.
They're over before you know it though, thanks to that lovely medazalam sedation they use. Then you are kept in a recovery room to have your observations recorded over an hour. Once you have come back round and are showing no signs of problems, you're allowed back home but obviously need someone to go with you who can drive as you can't drive for 24 hours after.
Thanks for reading! 
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