Two Days post transplant………..

And all is well.

 

I’m sure any type of stem cell transplant is quite the shock to the system.

When you have this type of stem cell therapy……it will quite literally blow your mind away……

If……..

It doesn’t blow your brain up first.

 

The appointment was Tuesday at 11:00a (1:00a back in Seattle) Julie and I had only arrived in Athens on Sunday so we decided to take Monday and just hang around the hotel.  The hotel has defiantly been the nicest thing so far.  Of the three cities (Tel-Aviv, Rome and Athens)………Athens is defiantly the dirtiest, craziest, and most chaotic of them all.  The part of Athens that we are staying is just OK.  The hotel has been a godsend though.  It’s quiet, very nice, affordable, and the staff is friendly and speaks English well.

 

After taking a crazy polluted taxi ride to the hospital we arrived to the Neurology portion of the complex (have the email address Orit sends you…..very important). 

The hospital is older….clean,… but reminded me of something from the 80’s or the end of the “cold war” years.  (I don’t know why,.. but some Greek writing reminds me of Russian although I don’t speak either language).  There were a lot of people waiting in the lobby of the ward when we got to the second floor but someone quickly found us and directed us to the right room down a short corridor.

 

It was good to see Mike and Dennis already waiting.  I had not seen them since the bone marrow aspiration done in Tel-Aviv and it was a good feeling that I would be going though this with someone from the states.

It was your normal sized hospital room with a small bathroom.  (Three beds… that extra bed would be critical by night fall….(for Julie).

The day started off like any other normal checkup with your MS neuro.  Two Greek doctors (Neuro’s ?) came in and checked us out with the standard re-flex checks w/ that hammer thing. Then the finger to nose thing. And finally the follow my finger with your eye’s test.  Every MS’er knows these tests.

After the doctors had left……three representatives from the CTCI came in and spoke with us for awhile.  I remembered Samira from the bone-marrow aspiration.  It was good to see her again.  The people from CTCI speak excellent English.  I got all of their cards and I’m glad I did.  I will be emailing them later after this update with some not so kind words about the Greek facility.

The CTCI people stuck around to oversee the procedure.  Mike went first.  (Just like last time…..if anything was to go wrong…..Julie and I were outta there).  I dismissed my not wanting to go first as a seniority thing…..I don’t really think it really matter much to either one of us at that point………..need-less-to-say, he went ahead and everything seemed to have gone well.

 

My turn……..

Spinal taps are not fun.  It had been awhile since my last (16 years) and from what I remembered….it was not the most comfortable thing.

This one was a little painful and one sharp “lighting bolt” shock from my lower spine though my right quadriceps and out my right knee cap (lasting all of 2 seconds….but hurt none the less).  She told me to relax….

 

Easier said than done. 

 

After a couple of minutes they were done.  Julie watched them drain some spinal fluid out and then reinject the new MSC’s (a little over 19 million……which I believe not to be more than a tablespoon)

 

Next you are to lie on your back with your feet elevated for three hours.  This is also much easier said than done. After about a half hour I told Julie to go back to the hotel and that it seemed as though I would be okay until morning.  She left me with the cell phone and my appointment book that needed some updates.

 

At about the three hour (legs elevated) mark,……Mike and I we’re more than ready to get out of that position.  We were then told to lie down.  I had to go to the bathroom……after I was done the nurse caught me walking back to the bed……

”What are you doing?”……she said. 

“I had to go”…..I replied

“NO,..NO,..NO!!!!”……“You need to keep lie down!!!!!!”……….

“OOOOO……Kay???????”

 

I lied back down and gave Natedog a call…….he was getting ready for school. Also talked with Mom and told her all was well.   Shortly there after is when my brain just started pounding.

Mike was over on the other bed and having some leg spasm problems and some cramping……he wanted some ibuprophen.  This is when we started to get into some communication problems with the hospital staff. The staff could not understand his symptoms or what he was asking for. It was then that I realized that Julie had gone back to the Hotel with all my medication.  We got a hold of Julie and she came back to the Hospital with my Meds and some ibuprophen for Mike.

By the time she arrived back from the Hotel,  the head was pounding pretty good……it was getting dark and from what we had seen so far in Athens………Her and I did not feel like it was a good idea to head back to the hotel.  She ended up spending the night on the extra bed.

By 10:00p I had made the decision that this would be just a one night stay. It was a very loud and crazy night in the hospital and with the pounding headache…..it turned out to be sleepless night for me.

 

Come morning the dayshift doctors checked me out and asked me that on a scale of 1 – 10, how bad were my headaches.  I lied.  I told the doctor they were a 6 or 7.  If fact….they were still a 95 or 96!!!!!!! Well off the chart!

We took a taxi back to the hotel and it started to get a lot better.  This hotel is nice and quiet and with headaches that bad….that’s exactly what I needed. The headaches continued till about 2am today.  But now I’m back to writing and will be touching base with my fellow MS’er about the going’s on and reaching out to Professor Slavin to report the Greek Hospital’s continued shortcomings.

 

Julie and I are going to try and hit the Acropolis Saturday as it is supposed to rain here tomorrow.  It a good thing that we did not travel to Istanbul.  Right now they are experiencing terrible flooding.  Maybe somebody is looking out for me.

This is going to work.

Be Well

Todd

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