Transplant Tales: to China and back

Friday, March 31, 2006

15 A.T.

Here we are, another day in wonderful Shanghai. The land of about 1.5 million people, exotic fruits, and hospital meals that keep you guessing.

Eric has had the luxury of sampling many of these. The picture here is a fruit called "Dragon Fruit." This fruit was very interesting. Had no taste, but very juicy and refreshing. Needless to say, Eric is growing quite tiresome of the hospital food. Now he truly understands what Daniel (previous transplant patient) meant when he shared that the food tasted like....Hmm, wonder what he said?

The normal meal Eric receives consists of 2 bowls of rice, an a Banana. Along with that he also receives a dish of meat. This is when he gets to play "What am I?" Today's Menu for example consisted of the following.

Breakfast: Meat Bun and Milk or Fried shredded pork and pickled green noodles with egg.

Lunch: Braised weever with brown sauce (does anyone know what that is?,) Salted egg with minced pork, or stewed shredded eel and bamboo shoots..Mmm

Supper: Gingeli and sliced fish (huh?,) Ham and pigeon, or Stir fried slices pork and black mushrooms. Choice of vegetables: Fried sugar peas or saute chrysanthemum. And Choice of soup: Hot and sour soup or Diced duck and radish soup.

Now doesn't that all sound yummy? Fortunately, Eric has a good woman who loves him. I brought him a Filet minion Steak with Onion soup and salad, all for $12.00usd. We have a restaurant called The Bull Fighter, located down stairs from the apartment. This place is about the equal to a Sizzler. No matter how good or bad it was, Eric was stuffed.

Occasionally, Eric lucks out an ends up with a some what yummy meal. Boy is he playing up on the Private Nanny thing. Heck, he even has her hand feeding him. This is one thing you would never find in a U.S. hospital. When I get him home, I'll have my work cut out for me, trying to de-program him.

Seriously, the staff here at the hospital have been fabulous. Yes, communication is at times challenging, but for the most part you are very well taken care of. Eric's nanny feeds him, baths him, an even takes evening strolls with him up and down the hall. I asked Eric if I should be jealous..hehe..

We did have a minor set back in regards to Eric's discharge. Apparently Eric is showing signs that his Hep C levels are growing. So the Doctors started him on Interferon. One shot every other day. "Not so bad," he says. We knew that he was going to have to go through the Interferon as well. We just didn't realize it was going to be literally right after. Eric is getting cabin fever. He went as far as to question the Doctors. He asked them why they haven't check his blood sugar, or tested his blood levels for that last 2 to 3 days? There answers were "Don't need to anymore, there fine." He tried to convince them that there was no reason for them to keep them in the hospital. They told him that he still needed a shot (interferon.) He's just couldn't understand why for 1 shot. This just goes to show you that the hospitals here are interested in rushing you off until it time. Never the less, Eric was bummed that he is now in there for an additional 2 days. Big deal! He's better off in there, With a flu going around and his immune system affected by the anti-rejection drugs. Besides, he's have fun teasing Missy Joe.

So It is currently 1:30am Saturday morning here in Shanghai, 9:30am Friday on the Pacific Coast, and I am wore out. Good night!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

13 A.T.
Today, I took my Aunt Joyce to the Fabric Market. We went a little crazy. All I could think as I was buying, was how my dry cleaning bill was going up. We spent most of the afternoon there. A person could get lost in that place.
We had an early dinner at a Sushi restaurant close to the apartment. Then proceeded to head off to the hospital for a visit with Eric an play a little bones. Just look at what I saw when I arrived!
Now I have seen it all! Eric was telling everyone that he came for a transplant. I am starting to think he is here for the 24 hour pampering. The woman in the pictures, is Eric's "private" nanny. Eric has named her Missy Jean. Thanks to her, everyone was able to see Eric's rear playing golf. She is the one who took the black mail picture!!
Eric is going to be released on Friday, March 31st..Hip Hip hooray!! He will need to go back on Monday to have the staples removed. Once that is done, we will have one last night in Shanghai. Then we are off to the airport to board United flight 858, destination San Francisco!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

7 A.T. - 11 A.T.

Well I have made it back to Shanghai, in one piece. Eric is feeling quite well. He has been writing away in his journal. He has decided that he is going to write a book to share his experience, and hopefully help others in similar situations.
While I was in California, had called me about 5 times the first day. Simply to share with me that he was BORED out of his scull. I reminded him that he needed to make the best of it and relax. He definitely took my advice. I have returned to find, 20 chapters and a sketching of what he wants the book cover to look like. WOW!
Tony, was kind enough to bring Eric some golf balls and a putter. So after all that writing they decided to play a round of indoor golf. From this last picture it looks like Eric must have been loosing. He seemed to have resorted to distraction tactics.
Some men will do almost anything to win!!

Monday, March 20, 2006

5 A.T.

Well I am so sorry that we haven't posted since the end of last week. But as you can see Eric was very busy in ICU watching DVDS and playing games. No internet access in the hospital so we suffered without.

Eric will be moved out of ICU tomorrow. It would have been sooner, but there were NO vacancies on the other side of the floor.

I am going to fly home on Wednesday with Tiffany, for a couple of days to see the kids and cake care of some odds and ends. Then I will see heading back to Shanghai on Saturday. My aunt Joyce will joining us for a week. Eric was told that he'll have his staples in for another 2 weeks. So, I guess I have some shopping to do.. Just kidding!! I will be making a couple more stops at least, to that wonderful restaurant, Simply Thai. Yummy yummy!

Eric is doing fantastic. He was up and walking tonight and walked up and down the hall. He was like a 5 year old. He stopped at each room and waved at every patient, smiling. Then he stopped and started doing squats. He had all the nurses giggling. It was to funny.

Unless we can resolve our internet issue in the hospital. You may not see a new posting after tomorrow, until I return Sunday evening.

Until tomorrow.

Friday, March 17, 2006

2 A.T. ( after transplant )

Well it's been 2 days since and as you can see Eric is feeling pretty good, despite all the tubes, iv's and wires. We has already said he's ready to go. Isn't that just like him! He's no where near ready. He's already bored out of his mind. Partly due to the fact that he hasn't been able to sleep much. Plus he's a little paranoid. He thinks the nurses are screwing around with him. Tony said the paranoia is normal and is actually one of the side effects of the anti rejection medicine. I think it might also have a little to do with the fact that there is a bit of a language barrier. I try and reassure him that he's fine and just to try and relax as best he can. This hospital staff are professionals and do this job as a daily routine.
Tiffany and I are able to go in and see him any time we like.
"Move over nurse Ratchet!"
He has quite a battle wound. They removed his bandages when they were going to give him a sonogram. Good timing! The Doctor told Eric that he was very lucky. He received a 20 year old liver. Young and healthy. Hmmm...Maybe that's why Eric is feeling so good already!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Eric is doing great!! He is awake an alert. Dr. Fan said he didn't realize that Eric talked so much! He's over come the worst part. Now he'll find himself in ICU for about 5 to 10 days. He needs to shut up and rest. So he can heal. We will go back tomorrow and see him some more. He is on a morphine drip so he has no pain. He did say that his stomach and chest felt heavy. Tony told him it was because the bandages were pulled tight. They cut through his muscles in his stomach, and tight bandages assist with keeping the muscles pulled tight together. This way they can repair and rebuild the muscle.
Say "Hi!" Eric

It's now 3:00 am, Thursday morning. Eric was moved from the operation floor to the ICU around 2:00 am. The surgeon said that the surgery went well and there were no complications. They wheeled him past us, and I could not bring myself to take a picture. Eric was still unconscious with a breathing tube down his throat. Not an image worthy of sharing.

The surgery lasted a total of about 5 hours. Tony shared with us that they were doing 4 liver transplants tonight and 8 kidney transplants. Eric of course was the last one to be brought to ICU. One of the surgeons inquired on if we wanted to see the liver they removed from Eric. I told him yes. We went down the surgery floor and the surgeon brought a large bowl with a huge roast. Really, Eric's liver was huge. The doctor said his liver was twice the size of a normal liver. This size was due to the Hep C and the cancer. The average liver weighs around 3 pounds Eric's was all of 6 pounds. The size had to be what made up most of his belly.

Tony and his friend Ben stayed with Tiffany an I at the hospital while we waited for Eric to come out of surgery. Tony has made this a fantastic experience. He has succeeded in minimizing our stress and anxiety.

Tomorrow, Tony is going to pick us up at 11:00 am, and take us over to the hospital. He has arranged for us to see Eric. So I am going to try and get some sleep. It has been a very long day, emotionally draining.

Ok, it is happening! After my last Blog post, Tiffany an I went to grab a bite to eat since we figured it was going to be a long night. From what they told us the surgery was going to be at 8:00 pm, and it was 4:00 pm. Plenty of time, right? Wrong, while we were sitting down eating the cell phone rang. It was Tony telling me they were about to take Eric into surgery. I freaked! We grabbed our stuff and leaving our plates only half eaten. While I tried to pay for the meal. Tiffany was already outside hailing a taxi. I jumped in, and we were off. We were not very far from the hospital, about a mile. When we got to the room, the stretcher was in the hallway, and Eric was still in the bathroom shaving. Mind you, he had to shave everywhere no just his face!
I was relieved to know that I could kiss him and tell him how much I love him, before they took him from me. I went down the elevator with him to the next floor an away he went.
They say the surgery will take about 5 to 7 hours. I know the Lord is here in Shanghai with us. When he comes out of surgery, they will wheel him past the room we will be in. So I will be able to see him on his way to the ICU. Tony said normally the ICU allows no one in for visiting. But tomorrow morning they will make an exception for me.
Dominic and Samantha, Mommy and Daddy Love and miss you both very much!! We will be home real soon!

P.s. Just to warn you my next posting will have some graphic pictures

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Well right now..It is 2:50pm here in Shanghai. Eric is still at the hospital waiting for the transplant. We haven't received word on whether or not the organ passed the screening. But they are pumping him full of fluids and have already began prepping him for surgery. The nurse came in and shaved his chest and belly. I don't remember Eric having hair there..haha.
We assume that everything is a go for tonight if they are doing all this. Eric was told surgery would be around 8:00pm tonight which means 5 hours to go. All of our anticipation and anxiety from these last 2 weeks has now turned into nervousness.
I have never admitted this but I am really scared. I have no regrets in reassuring Eric we or he was doing the right thing.
As soon as Eric goes into surgery I will post to the blog.
Thank you

Well hopefully this is it. We received a call today saying that they had a organ match... FINALLY!! Of course the screening still needs to be done. Eric had to check into the hospital around 3pm today. So, here are a couple of pictures in his new wardrobe. I told him he looked more like a member of a prison chain gang from the south, than a hospital patient. He was able to have dinner. So Tiffany an I went down to a food shop on the street and pick up some food. Pork buns, won ton soup, rice, and some chow main. Shanghai give new meaning to the phrase "cheap date." The 3 of us ate till we were stuffed on a total of $4.00usd.
I have to admit. It's been hard on Eric. Trying to quit smoking. I busted him sneaking a cigarette out the bathroom window! Just look at him, he knew he was busted! Just kidding!
Tiffany flew in yesterday to be with us. I am glad in a way that we had to wait. If not, I am not sure what I would have done if I had to go through Eric being in surgery by myself. She is truly a great friend, to come all this way to give support me an Eric.
Well it is about 12:15am here March 15, 2006 Wednesday. Tiffany an I just left the hospital and came back to the apartment. In the morning we will head back to the hos pital and wait to find out if the surgery will happen. We should know some thing by mid day.
I will let everyone know immediately by the blog when Eric goes into surgery. Once again, Thank you all for your love and prayers.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Today is March 12th..The weather cleared up but it was colder than crap!! All Eric wanted to do was head to the market down the street and take pictures..I know what so great about a grocery market. See for yourself. Eric and I could not believe the things that people eat. Vegetables are a big thing. They have an abundance of meat and fish. I have to remind myself that there is 30 Million people in this city. One delicacy here is soft shelled turtle. Those poor little things were individually wrapped awaiting their fate. Someone told me the seafood wasn't that great. I see no complaints here. They had all kinds to choose from.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Today is Saturday the 11th. It rained all day. So we were not really able to do to much. We did go down to Starbucks and relax for a while. Yes Gary, Eric did order one of those fu fu drinks, an Iced caramel machiado. Eric made a dinner date with Tony so we met them for dinner tonight he an a friend of his from New York. Tony took us to a Hunan restaurant which seemed quite popular among locals. I have to say we tried dishes that we would never normally try. I'm glad we are very open minded. We sampled a dish consisting of, get this, "Duck Tongues." I know, I know, eww! It was different. The other dish was fish head.
After getting past dinner, we had a very interesting discussion with Tony's friend Ben. He was explaining to us what had brought him to Shanghai. He was looking to start up a venture in colored diamonds here. Apparently the quality of diamond here is rather lacking. Therefore, a clear diamond is uncommon, but a colored diamond would be more appealing due to the likeness of the poor quality diamonds that they usually see in these parts.
Our evening was full of unusual meal dishes and stimulating conversation as you tell!
Oh by the way, If you are ever in Shanghai. Do not buy the fur coats. Why you ask? Well lets put it this way, We haven't seen any dogs.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Today is Friday and we were hopeful that Eric would have his surgery by now. Well we've been here 10days and so far all we have is great food and wonderful pictures!
Really though, we are home sick and miss our kids.
"Hello Dominic! Hello Samantha!" "Hello Cris, Desi, Athena, and Dre!"
We are trying to make the best out of it. Believe us, it's tough. As you can see from all the pictures!
These pictures are of an area call "The Bund." It is similar to the Embarcadaro or Fisherman's warf. The skylight is something else. They light up the sides of buildings and look like huge televisions. It is unreal!

Now by this time, we are tired of waiting. So, we decided to head to the shopping mall in search of swimming suits. The complex we are staying in has a nice pool and we needed suits! Getting to the mall wasn't bad, wading through the crowds of people was a different story. This mall was gigantic. As you can see, we had floors and floors of shops. The task of finding swim suits would be easy right? Wrong!! We walked every floor. Shops for women, shops for men. Shops for shoes, shops of food. After wandering around for about an hour an a half. We finally found one shop that had swim suits...Yes, Just 1.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

We ended our day of garment making by stopping off at an excellent Thai restaurant called SIMPLY THAI. It was fantastic. The food was so yummy, and WOW, the spices. I needed a few drinks to stop my tongue from dancing. This place is a definite 4 star in our book. The staff spoke descent English which made it even more pleasurable and they were very nice. "Hey Jorge! We found your half brother working here. He's wearing the orange shirt. " Until tomorrow, Keep Blogging!

Day 8,

Today we decided to head to the fabric Market. Now this seemed like we were out of the tourist area. The market was tucked in on this narrow street which was lined with little food shops and various vendors. It was like walking into an indoor flea market. fabric everywhere and dozens and dozens of spaces with different people selling different fabrics and different styles of clothes. Eric found a space that had men's shirts. After discussing price we settled on 92 yuen about $11 u.s. each..not a bad deal to be fitted and have them made just for you.
Needless to say he bought 6 different fabrics for 6 different shirts.

I on the other hand found a nice wool fabric and was able to have a 3 piece suit made for 550 yuen about $65 u.s..Measured to fit. It will take about a week to make. We can not wait to see how they turn out.