Friday, April 26, 2013

How to Prepare for a Transplant

 1 Week 'Til the Transplant

Every Thursday, Ben and I begin making a list of all the things we want to accomplish or do over the weekend.  And it hit me that this would be my last weekend before the transplant. WOW!  So naturally, there are a lot of things on our weekend to do list.  We have things to do for the wedding, things to do with our families, and things that we're doing for ourselves.  I'm no expert on preparing for a transplant or major surgery, but I'm trying my best.  Here's what I managed to come up with:

  • Cleaning the apartment:  Once I depart for surgery May 3, I won't be back in Ben's and my apartment until the weekend of May 17.  I'll be staying with my parents, who live 30 minutes away, for a short period of time.  One thing my transplant team has really been enforcing is the importance of staying away from tons of bacteria and germs. Which means really, really washing your vegetables when you get them from the super market, throwing out and purchasing new sponges and dish towels regularly, and just all around good behaviors that most of us slack off on when things get busy.  So hopefully Ben and I will be able to clean the apartment top to bottom this weekend, as well as do many loads of laundry.
  • Take care of a handful of major wedding things:  We're planning to focus on this for the next five days. After that, wedding planning will go on hold for a week, until  Mother's Day, which is probably when I'll leave the hospital. Our big priorities include getting Ben's new suit tailored; purchasing my veil; attending my final dress fitting; and apply for our marriage license. And hopefully, I'll get a chance to make a small list of things that I can delegate to different members of my wedding party and my wedding coordinator and they can get to work on some of these things while I'm on bed rest for 1-2 weeks.
  • Pay Rent and handle any other monetary issues:  I'll probably make a list of all my passwords and credit cards to give to Ben. And I also need to get my checkbook. There are a couple of checks I need to write during my off period, mostly for vendor payments.
  • Make arrangements at work:  I won't be working for an entire month.  My employers have been really understanding throughout this whole ordeal and I've prepped them for my departure. I just have to make a few lists for the people filling in for me while I'm gone; turn in my FMLA paperwork, in case I have to go into unpaid leave; set up out-of-office messages and message forwarding, and clean off my desk, which has been a long time coming.
  • Have the hard discussions with Ben:  One of the things I've learned during this entire process is what it will really mean to be married.  The first time I went through these health issues, I was 15 years old, and was just diagnosed with kidney disease.  During that time, I leaned solely on my parents, because I am their child, and I was their dependent, emotionally, financially, in every way. Now, I'm 26 years old, going through the same thing, but things have changed. I live with Ben and part of being married is learning to depend on and lean on your spouse during hard times, every time.  A friend of mine described the change best:  when you're not married, you run to your family first; when you're married you run to your partner first.  And that's how I feel.  I am CRAZY CLOSE with my family.  Like, I talk to all of them at least six times a day.  All of them. And I see them every weekend, just about.  I know it's definitely been hard for them, not always being in the loop about every aspect of my life, especially when I'm sick and have all sorts of problems.  But I kind of feel like, that's how it's supposed to be.  I think getting married doesn't mean that I'm leaving them out in the dust completely, but that I'm starting a new family and I have to learn how to put that new family first when it comes to the decisions Ben and I make about every aspect of our lives together.  I know most parents understand this, because at one time they had to make the same choice.  So this weekend, Ben and I are going to talk about the difficult things-- like money, post surgical care, and emergency decisions.  We are becoming our own family now, and it feels pretty good.
So those are the big boring things, I guess you can say.  We've also got some fun stuff on our radar.  Ben and I are hosting his annual "Draft Day" party at our apartment.  I probably won't be there the entire time because I don't find watching the NFL draft as riveting as most people (?).  Then on Saturday, my parents are throwing a family barbecue at their house!  My mom has even agreed to offer up some low-potassium options since I'm trying to stay on the straight and narrow until the surgery.  Lord, give me strength!  I'm already making plans for a "Post Transplant Junk Food Binge Eating Party." 

Happy Weekend :)