Day +133, Tuesday

Breege, our neighbor, wheeling our trash can back to the garage. Every week since I left for the NIH, Breege has pulled our trash & recycling bins out Monday (while Andy was at work) and then returned them just as soon as trash/recycling was collected on Tuesday. It was something that touched both Andy and myself – the kindness of neighbors helping each other out during a challenging time. Since I have returned, this is something she’s continued to do – even though I’m here. So yesterday, I listened for the garbage truck – and figured I would gather ours and Breege’s, and maybe for a change do something nice for her. It was less than 5 minutes since the truck came through – I walked outside and there was Breege, having already collected both ours and hers. I laughed, and she laughed and then we enjoyed a nice conversation in the early spring time warmth. Of course, I had to snap a photo – this is why Breege is my photo of the day.

It was bound to happen, my missing a daily post. But yesterday afternoon, when faced with spending quality time with Andy or updating my blog – I chose Andy. He said to not worry, to take my time and write; but the day was so beautiful, and and we only had two-ish hours before sunset. I wasn’t about to spend that time at my desk, indoors. Instead, we enjoyed a hike at Bent Creek, a visit to favorite brewing company, and dinner at Fat Cats, our local pool hall (thank you NC mask mandate, thank you owners Dusty & Mike for enforcing this mandate). And there’s something really beautiful, really wonderful about this shift in mentality…not feeling the need to publish last night.

Instead of writing about my life, I was living it.

My Tuesday was solid, really wonderful. Of course, I was up late, and breezed into my hematologist’s office a few minutes late. But they still let me through the doors, so I chalk that up as a win. At this point, I don’t even need to request a butterfly needle, the phlebotomist just does it; it makes such a HUGE difference with my comfort level. I make sure to say “thank you” every time.

My appointment went well, with my numbers looking quite good. Last Friday’s Creatinine level was uncomfortably high, at a whopping 1.4. Both Dr. W and I were astounded because my Tacrolimus level was within the 5-8 range that the NIH wants. It is so challenging to understand the fluctuations and variance of these numbers, and I appreciate all of the hard work my body does to stay in balance as best it can. I’ve only ever had one other time where my Creatinine level was that high; I was given a liter of fluid, and my Acyclovir dosage was dropped from 800 mg to 400 mg, and eventually all was well. I also increased my water intake at the same time, adopting a more “aggressive hydration” stance.

Repeat after me: I love my kidneys, I love my kidneys, I love my kidneys….

Thankfully Tuesday’s Creatinine number was normal at 0.87; in fact, it was the LOWEST it has been since I left the hospital last November. Again, Dr. W and I just shook our heads. He asked what I had done differently – the ONLY thing I could think of was drinking cup after cup after cup of hot tea and hot water while watching Andy play pool via FB LiveStream. For hours. He laughed and said, “keep it up, kid.” My liver function was normal (my number was slightly elevated last week as well), and all other results looked good.

By the time I got home, I was hungry and enjoyed a breakfast sandwich (eggs, cheese on a bagel) and then saw the bowl of apples. I cannot remember the last time I ate an apple with the skin, and the thought of peeling it just felt wrong. So I combined my 3 parts water, 1 part white vinegar solution and let my apple soak for 10 minutes, rotating half way through.

That first bite…? One of the best things I have ever tasted. The crunch, the crispiness….I LOVED it! And I’ll probably have another one today.

Then Andy was home and we enjoyed a date night of sorts – hiking along Hard Times & South Ridge at Bent Creek, a brew at Hillman, and what was supposed to be a quick stop at Fat Cats turned into dinner and seeing old friends. It was tough not to hug everyone, even though they were all incredibly respectful and wore masks, but I’m not at that point yet. My grilled cheese with tomato was wonderful (Cooked Peeled Baked), and I just enjoyed being in a familiar place with good people. I was touched when Alicia paid our tab, she laughed and said, “I’m so happy you’re home.” We stayed out later than we should, but you know what? That was OK – for several wonderful hours, I didn’t think about my transplant or worry about complications – I just had fun. I laughed, I enjoyed my grilled cheese, and I was surrounded by lovely humans. It was wonderful.

The sun, dipping below one of many ridges in Bent Creek along the Blue Ridge Parkway
Andy, his Hazy IPA, and FB LiveStream, watching the Blue Ridge APA update on pool league restarting.
Andy, Megan, Alicia and Vicki – all good people – at Fat Cats

Physically I’m doing OK, feeling good, albeit fatigued. This morning I enjoyed the long shower that my poor time management yesterday prevented, and then slathered myself in approximately 5 different creams or lotions. Dr. W and I decided that my runny nose could be allergy related, and in spite of keeping a very tidy home and our air filtration systems (yes, that’s plural. We’ve got a system upstairs and one downstairs) – I’m just tired of sneezing, blowing my nose and having watery eyes. A few years ago, an allergy test results indicated that I was allergic to cats and dogs – but it never really bothered me to the point that it does now. So I ordered generic Zyrtec and am hoping for good results. That’s about all I can think of, at least for now, anyway.

Moving forward, I think I’ll make a practice of writing my blog in the mornings. I believe this will really help my sleep and while I’m a late night owl, I also enjoy waking up with the sun and feeling productive early in my day. This will also be good practice for me, as I start graduate school in August. But even more important and better than that, is it will give me a chance to spend time with Andy when he’s home.

Make it a great day!

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