6/27/00 No answer on cosmetic closure so I called LI to ask her again.

"Oh-yeah-that's right," was her answer.

7/11/00 LI called to arrange final meeting with transplant team, I received a shot to boost hematocrit and donated blood to be used on me if needed during the surgery. I asked LI again about the cosmetic closure and LI gave me Dr. K's name and number.

LI told me that a plastic surgeon would be on hand, anyway ,to attach any tiny, difficult veins in the recipient.  I asked, again,  if I could ask about a cosmetic closure and she gave me Dr. K's info.

7/12/00 Dr. M called to say I needed an additional test done called a Tessla? MRI to get a clearer picture of my bile duct. Sharon (a scheduler) called to set up the test date.

7/13/00 My recipient has her meeting with the transplant team even though donor and recipient were supposed to meet the transplant team together, as per L I.

That is how DP and her recipient had their meeting as well--all together.

Dr. M explained to my cousin about the Tessla? MRI indicating that it was for all donors beginning 6/1/00. He said he didn’t expect a problem but better to find out now.

Needless to say, my recipient was a little nervous. Three weeks from surgery and another test???

7/20/00 My fiancé B and I met with Dr. Teperman, LI and J R (J O, my designated social worker, is off). B expresses serious concerns about the magnitude and invasiveness of the procedure and its unproven nature. He tells Dr. Teperman he is against the whole idea and doesn’t want me to go through with it. He also tells Dr. Teperman that he couldn’t care less if my recipient died because he is only interested in my safety and well being. He demands Dr. Teperman treat me as his number one priority and not my cousin. Dr. Teperman assures us both that "Laurie is my hero and number one priority" and that we shouldn’t worry because "she will be fine". B tells Dr. Teperman he will support my decision only if he promises to make my health his top priority and "be fucking careful!" Dr. Teperman once again assures us that he will. He explains that, like all surgery, this one has the potential for complications such as bleeding, infection and death from anesthesia.  He puts the odds of complications at one percent, shakes B's hand and we leave feeling we are in good hands. I received another shot to boost my hematocrit. I was given a prescription for folic acid, iron and Colace. 

The meeting was very heated, but I think that was necessary. B was looking for assurances and Dr. Teperman was giving them.

7/26/00 I met with Dr. K, the plastic surgeon. He told me that he would close the incision if he could , but mostly he's on hand to connect any tiny veins to larger ones in the recipient. I also went to the transplant office for another shot.

I showed him the picture of DP's scar. He said that it was a big job and it would be a big scar no matter what.

8/7/00 Arrived at the hospital at 4 PM. I was assigned to a room at 5 PM and then told we would be called when it was ready. We went across the street to the room rented for B. We waited until 6:30 and then we were called to say that there was a room. We went back to the hospital and were told that there in fact was NOT a room. We waited for 5 hours until a room was finally given to us in the co-op wing. After getting in the room around 11 PM, showering, preparing for bed AND being visited by the anesthesiologist or an assistant), we were visited by a nurse who told us to go to a DIFFERENT room in a different building. We collected our items and moved. It was after midnight. Upon arriving in our room, we were told by the nurses that they'd been waiting for us since 4:30. I was given a blood test and a chest x-ray. We went to sleep around 2:30 AM. B stayed in the room with me.

This was NOT a perfect beginning. We met my recipient and her husband and my mom in the lobby. Eventually we went to dinner (in the cafeteria, because they told us not to go far) and returned to wait. My recipient got her room about 8:30 pm. We could not believe that I had not been assigned a room yet. By the time we were sent to the co-op, it was clear that the admission lady just wanted to get us into  ANY room. The co-op looked like a hotel room.  There were 2 beds, a TV, bathroom and large sitting area. We wondered if I was just going to walk over to surgery the next day.  When we were finally situated on the transplant floor, the unit nurse was clearly flustered at my late arrival.

8/8/00 Surgery 7AM. 50+% of my liver was removed and a  JP drainis installed in my abdomen to allow seepage and  bilefrom the sectioned liver to drain out of my body. Before going in to surgery, B attached labels to my abdomen for the doctors reminding them to be careful. They said something like "This is Laurie x Living Liver Donor. If there are any doubts Please Close!" All seemed to go well.

I was put on a gurney and began the short trip to the operating rooms. B was able to ride in the elevator with me, but waved good bye and told me he loved me from there. I was wheeled to the outside of an operating room and was left there. It was 7:20 or 7:30. There was a clock in the hallway. This was a VERY busy place,and many people were buzzing by heading to this room or that. One person wished me good luck. I was in that hallway for 25-30 minutes. It was the longest wait of my life. I was ready for surgery. I wasn't ready to stay in a cool, blank hallway with seemingly no one expecting me. Finally, a person in scrubs came to me and confirmed my name and my reason for surgery. Then I waited a few more minutes. I was taken into the operating room and there were a LOT of people in there-5 or 6...all in scrubs and seemingly working feverishly to prepare for surgery.  They smiled and nodded and the next thing I remember, I woke up in recovery.  I heard my mom's voice saying, "they tell me my daughter is here."  I started shaking my right foot (I just wanted to be noticed and it seemed to be all I could do!) and she spotted me and came over.  I must have been quite a sight with the tubes and the machinery and the giant inflatable leg stockings.  She said hello and then B came in.  He smiled and held my fingers and I was back to sleep.

8/9/00-8/10/00 I was recovering in ICU. The ICU staff was outstanding. All of our questions were answered and all of our needs were met. I was handled with intense care, professionalism and respect. I saw Dr. Teperman on 8/9/00 and he told us that on 8/10/00 he would be going to Geneva, Switzerland.

Sheila was the name of the nurse during the day . There was a male nurse that I saw all night long. They were keeping an eye on my blood pressure  (in the beginning) because it wasn't coming up. When I was awake, I was drooling because of the tube down my throat. It very uncomfortable and equally humiliating.  I couldn't talk, so I would write letters on B's palm with my fingers for things that I wanted. It was a primitive system, but it worked.  B was there all night in a hard back chair keeping vigil. In the late morning of the 9th, I think, the throat tube came out.  I was able to talk.  This brought some relief to B.  He told me about Dr. Teperman coming down from the operating room during surgery with the labels to show the family.  There were about 10 people there that day waiting for us.  Comfort and support for my mom and the family and B.

The ICU was an interesting place.  Picture one large room with a 4-5 of patients in beds, separated by curtains, and the control center is the nurse's station smack in the middle. There are a lot of monitors and IV tubes and everyone is in some dire need of constant watch. The nurses were within talking distance and their response time was immediate.

There was a woman there who had made the ICU her home.  She was waiting for a liver transplant and had been in ICU so long that she had her own afghans and a television.  Her husband came and went like a regular at a local pub-and everyone knew his name.  Another patient was very quiet and seemed quite lethargic.  Unbeknownst to me, my recipient was about 50 feet away.  She was experiencing the "morphine mumbles" and the family was coming to terms with that.

8/10/00 Dr. Teperman leaves for Switzerland.

  previous next home
    This website is a factual account of my experience. You may send me feedback here.