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Everything Changes.


Not more than an hour after I posted my last entry, everything changed.

My husband came home, and asked if I had gotten a call from a Cleveland number on my phone. I had, but I was on the other line with my sister, and it wasn't from the usual area code, so I didn't answer. So, they called my husband instead (he's third on the list of people to call, and my sister also had not answered the call). The call was from a transplant coordinator at the Clinic. They were calling to tell us that they had accepted a liver for my mom, and she would be going into surgery the very next day. I was beside myself. I felt guilty for not answering the call, but also remembered how I wasn't going to feel guilty about things like that anymore. I called my brother, who immediately broke out in tears, and he told my sister, who also started crying.

The next day, the coordinator called me at 7am, to let me know that the time of surgery was scheduled for 9pm on Tuesday. My husband had rearranged his schedule so that he could be there with me, and my brother planned to go, too.

We all visited her in MICU around 8pm. My sister and cousin had gotten there earlier, and my sister got the ok from the surgeons and nurses to introduce my mom to her new grandchild. We showed up, and then my brother and his girlfriend showed up. My mom thought we had all just stopped by to see her, and she told us, "hey, i'm glad you guys came to see me, because I have good news. I'm getting a new liver tonight!" She was alert and talking more than she had in recent weeks. My sister was able to let the baby lie on my mom's chest. She said "I can't wait to get home and hold and kiss on this baby!" We all laughed and talked to her until they came back to take her to surgery, which ended up being around 10pm. The hospital let us walk down with her to the doors of the surgery unit.


While we were in the room, I had to sign a bunch of paperwork for her, because I'm her medical proxy. The surgeon explained the procedure, and said surgery would take anywhere from 8 to 15 hours, and her case was complex because of how sick her body was, but they expected her to do great and get through the surgery.

My brother, husband and I kept ourselves busy in various ways. We went outside to smoke. We went to the cafeteria and tried to find somewhere to charge our phones. We hung out and slept in various waiting rooms around the hospital. We eventually settled in in the lobby where the Yayoi Kusama pumpkin is located.

My phone rang at 5:10am, and my heart dropped. It was the only call I had received all night, and it hadn't been 8 hours yet. But on the other end of the phone was her surgeon, Dr. Hashimoto. He said they were finishing up. He said the surgery went well, and he wanted to come and talk to us. He came downstairs, shook our hands, told us that her new liver is beautiful (it was from a brain dead donor, which is preferred to a dead donor, because the liver is kept alive longer). We hung around and tried to see her in SICU, but they were in the middle of a shift change and kept pushing it back more and more. We headed home to get some rest. The sun was blinding, but I was happy to see the sun out. We were home by 10:30am. I took a pain reliever and promptly passed out.

Tomorrow, they will go back in and make sure everything looks good, and then they will close the surgical site, sewing up the muscles and everything that was separated during surgery. She will hopefully be off of the ventilator soon.

I keep wondering if her skin and eyes have gone back to their normal color yet. Or if the swelling in her legs and feet has gone down. I wonder how much she will remember about the past year of hospitalization and nursing homes. But I am thankful that she was able to get a transplant. I didn't think we'd get here, but we're here.

I still need to write about my sister's birth, too. It's been a long, wild week. 2018 has been full of huge changes, mostly for the good.

Thankful doesn't even begin to cover it, but it's a good place to start.

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