Friday, May 31, 2013

Oh Duke, it's been so long...

Well, I could put it off no longer so my sparkly clean lungs made their triumphal appearance at Duke last Friday the 24th.  After an x-ray, blood work, pft, arterial blood gas draw, and 6 minute walk, I met with Dr. Norfolk to go over the results.  She is fabulous--very approachable and thorough.  Here is how it went:

Dr. Norfolk
1.  X-rays looked similar to the previous ones they had on file there.  The IV's helped out with that I'm sure.

2.  Blood work looked good except for the 277 blood sugar it flagged as high.  Well hello, I had just inhaled a bowl of Raisin Bran and a yogurt on my way over to the clinic to make my 8:00 appointment.  I knew I'd get busted  testing so close after eating breakfast.  But a gal's gotta eat!

3.  My pft was an amazing 30%.  Yes, the IV's most definitely helped along with the extra prednisone I am tapering off of.  Open airways are a pft's best friend.

4.  My blood gases showed a slightly elevated amount of CO2 in my blood but still within a good range.  However now my poor wrists look like I tried to end it all.  They bruised to a mottled purple color due to them fishing to find my rolling artery on the first attempt then hitting paydirt on the second.  Ouch!

5.  In 6 minutes of walking I covered 1,400 feet.  The transplant docs like to see at least 1,000 feet so I knocked this one outta the park hallway.  Dr. Norfolk could tell I hadn't been a pulmonary rehab slacker back at home.  She said my strength is great and to keep it up! 

My ever-dwindling antibiotic list is a point of concern.  I will meet with Dr. Wolf, the infectious disease specialist, to discuss a plan for transplant and post transplant medication at my next visit.

My glaucoma diagnosis does not interfere with the transplant.

My frequent hospitalizations suggest I should be seen at Duke on a more frequent basis.  They will schedule me to return in two months for another check.

All the tests I did for the evaluation are now outdated so I will begin to retake them at my next scheduled visit.  I won't do the "5 Days of Purgatory" but will have to do some of the tests over a couple of days and then finish the rest on a subsequent visit.  Oh joy, they weren't that much fun the first time.

Visiting the Mecca of Duke basketball.
Since the lovely schedulers decided to set this appointment up on Memorial Day weekend, we decided to extend the stay and do some sight-seeing for the holiday.  Josh purchased a ticket and came along to check out North Carolina.  He was amazed at all the trees and had no sense of direction.  (At least I had a clue as to our general location most of the time.)  We took him all over Raleigh and Durham showing him where we lived, the Duke campus, the hospital, clinic, and Center for Living, shopping areas, etc.

We took a side trip on Saturday to Wilmington to visit my awesome cousins.  They took us on a tour of Historic Fort Fisher then treated us to Britts Donuts, a local Carolina Beach favorite. Smelling their donutty goodness wafting through the air was like inhaling calories and even made waiting for the long line which snaked back past several other storefronts worth it. They were a piece of fried heaven.   Then for dinner, the Walkers took us to an ocean side restaurant, The Oceania, where we dined out on the pier.  The seafood was fabulous and the company was even better.
Becky and Brad at The Oceania.
Sampling the local cuisine became part of the fun on Sunday and Monday.  The boys went online to find unique places.  One was a legendary steakhouse in Raleigh, The Angus Barn, which nearly gave Josh a heart attack. He had offered to pay for the meal before we got there and his eyes just about bugged out of his head when he opened up the menu.  Holy cow!  With picnic looking tablecloths, you wouldn't expect such high-class prices.  It was totally rustic chic. When the waiter places the napkin in your lap for you before taking the order, one can rightly assume you are out front of The Outback.  Even their outside portable bathrooms (indoor restrooms were being remodeled) were the standard by which all others will now be judged; didn't know outhouses could be so fancy.  FYI:  My steak was melt-in-your-mouth tasty.

Rheid outside Dame' yummy.
An "almost world famous" Durham eatery, Dame's Chicken and Waffles, served our final North Carolina meal.  Yes, that's right--chicken and waffles.  Who knew this unlikely pairing could taste so incredible. I will definitely be making a return visit to try all the other flavor combinations.

Doesn't it look deee lish us! 

For something fun to do on Memorial Day before heading to the airport, we stopped at Frankie's Fun Park.  The boys destroyed me in 18 holes of putt-putt golf, a round of skee ball, and at the shooting gallery.  Wish I could blame it on oxygen deprivation but alas, I just plain stink compared to them.

Thought I was doing great until I saw Josh's score.

The wall of this Durham shopping area says it all!


  1. You, your family, and Dr. Norfolk are all awesome! Keep up the good work - I'm rooting for you.

  2. Sounds like a fun trip (with the exception of the testing :P) - we love you tons!