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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Trips to Mayo Clinic

This is for those of you who have asked, and those of you who have commented about our trip to Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. And probably for those of you who have wondered about it, but thought it was impolite to ask:)

My hubby got very ill in late winter of 2004, and no one in KC could accurately diagnose the problem. So we went 7 hours north of here to Rochester MN Mayo Clinic and within 24 hours he had the diagnosis of end stage liver disease. Apparently it was hereditary, and there was no known cause for the failure other than that. What a surprise! On top of that he had a condition (also undiagnosed before then) of Factor V Leiden which means his blood clotted more quickly than normal - actually, the reverse of hemophilia. This factor could have been the cause of his 1998 blood clot in his main artery that caused him to lose all but 42" of small intestine while we were traveling in Japan (another nightmare story for another time). This in turn, then added more stress on a sick liver for 6 years, so he was in a fine mess by 2004!

So, he was put on the transplant list, and we came back home to the Kansas City area. We made several trips back and forth to Mayo for interim treatments during the next couple of months. Around Memorial Day, he became very, very ill with a severe abdominal infection, and we made a 90 mph hour highway trip back north, and he was immediately admitted to the hospital there. Now, the good news was that he was at the top of the list nationwide for a donation, but the bad news was that he was so very sick, he wouldn't be able to accept it. Within a few days, the meds did their magic and he was about to come home when he got the news that a liver was available. So, his wait was shorter than most, and he was so very lucky to have received it when it did.

This is the time I found our short term lease furnished apartment. I decided when he was in the hospital for treatment of the infection, that we just couldn't keep making the middle of the night runs between KC and Rochester - especially with the winter and spring weather like it is in the Midwest.

The apartment is within walking distance of the Clinic/Hospital; there is a shuttle bus that runs every half hour both ways; there's a shuttle to HyVee grocery store and to Walmart; the apartment is clean, and completely furnished with everything a person might need; security is great; it's right by the Zumbro River walk and the Civic Art Center and the Honkers Baseball park. Management (Judy) is wonderful, and I feel like we have a home away from home.

The liver transplant was a success, but the anti-rejection medication was hard on his kidney, so last summer in 2005, his brother gave him one of his. So, we were back in Rochester for another Fourth of July. That in itself is a wonderful thing - the parade comes right by the front lawn of the apartment, and we could watch the fireworks out our window overlooking the lake and the river. But, I have to tell you, it was wonderful to be in our own home, with our wonderful neighbors this year.

We were originally scheduled to be in Rochester this year, again for the Fourth, for his annual checkup, but one of the doctors that we especially wanted to see was not going to be there. We didn't find out until the last minute, but we've rescheduled for all of next week - tests actually start Sunday and our last known appointment is on Thursday afternoon. But, we kid each other about Mayo "weeks" are like dog years to human years. A Mayo week is probably more like 10 days, so we never know how long we will be there:)

Yes, there are actually two quilt shops in Rochester, and my favorite one is in an historic 1870 blue house, converted to quilt/yarn shop. The second one, The Quilting Cupboard used to be close enough to walk to, coming or going from the clinic, but she's moved to nicer quarters about 2 miles away. It's a nice little shop with lots of great ideas. Sue, the owner's daughter, Ann Kisro, has great patterns and they are both really really nice folks!

So, with all this, I always take projects to work on while he is running from one appt to the other. Unless you've ever gone to a Mayo Clinic, you don't have any idea of how little "down" time there is. The only time I take handwork with me, is when he is having his biospy (kidney) because he is in the hospital for about 6-9 hours. Other than a couple of review appointments, he goes by himself and I stay in the apartment and sew.

This year we will be going to the Translant Picnic on Saturday and a Honkers Baseball game on Sunday. We plan on hitting the Outlet Mall near Owatona sometime before we come home. Other than that, I am going to sew, sew, sew! I hope to have ALL of the projects I am taking with me completed before I return. Do you think that will happen?

I really don't know how I will do it all without my quilting Clyde, though! I miss my buddies terribly while we are gone.


Screen Door said...

What a woman!!!It just goes to show how strong you can be when you have to be. My Momma always says it's not the cards in the deck... it's how you play your hand that makes the difference. Another Godsend of quilting it's a calm place to go every once in a while when you need a break.
Hang in there... you are a tough cookie.

Susan said...

I remember that whole Japan thing. What a nightmare, is right! I think you *will* get everything finished that you are taking!

Laura said...

Wow Sharon, you both have been through so much! I am glad that you have a nice place to come home to and relax after each day at the clinic. We will keep you both in our thoughts!

Judy said...

Well, it sounds like you are all organized and will get tons done. My MIL used to spend alot of time at Johns Hopkins and all great big hospitals like that have good aparment/hotels for patients and visitors. Glad you found a good one!

I'll keep you all in my prayers!

Dragon Lady said...

OMG is all I can say. I check up on your blog regularly and was astounded at your last post. What a miracle, I am so happy for both of you at the end result. Hang in there and take care.

ForestJane said...

Well, I hope your husband's appointments go great, and you get a lot of sewing done!

Your assistant will probably sleep a lot - mine catch up on their catnaps when I'm gone... lol

Tracey said...

Prayers for safe travels next week, Sharon!! Clyde is such a ham!! :o)

cher said...

thanks for the "rest of the story" about the Mayo's hoping you actually DO finish all those projects and have a blast doing so. Too bad you can't take Clyde with you!

joyce said...

You have had quite a roller coaster ride. You are lucky to have a place like the Mayo clinic. Many people from Canada go there too when they can't get what they need here. I hope all your news is good and that you don't run out of projects before it's time to come home.