July 1, 2020 – Annual Study

Today I had my annual study. My annual study is my biopsy, but more comprehensive because it’s done to evaluate my heart’s function at the end of the year. It was initially scheduled for April, but because of the coronavirus, it’s been rescheduled to today.

Miranda, my friend from transplant camp, told me about her biopsy experience. She had to get a coronavirus test two weeks before the procedure. The doctors at Lucile Packard are really cautious about COVID19.

On June 24, I waited for the coronavirus test. Luckily, they’ve advanced testing so it wasn’t two weeks before. We awoke early and drove in line about 30 minutes earlier because the tests at Alameda County Fairgrounds usually run out pretty fast.

“The test was like a feeding tube, but better,” Miranda told me. That’s what I thought about when the doctor put a test up my nose. It wasn’t that bad, but it did make me cry. I think it’s reflexive to cry, but luckily it wasn’t for that long; it only had to swab for 10 seconds. Overall, it was okay.

Today I drove to Lucile Packard. I don’t have my license yet (thank you coronavirus for closing all the DMVs), but I did have my permit. It was my first ever time driving to Palo Alto, which was a nice drive. The Dumbarton Bridge was also not as hard as I expected.

The first thing they do when you enter is check your temperature. Of course, temperature isn’t always the holy grail since people can be asymptomatic. They also require masks and hand sanitizer. 

It was so nice seeing all the nice nurses in the short stay unit. Especially since they’re all super sweet, I’m glad they’re all doing well and staying safe.

We kind of got into the swing of things. The Cath Lab was ahead of schedule, so I changed into my hospital gown, got an IV (ow), and had anesthetic put on my groin (point of entry). They took some blood from the IV but I already had a blood draw earlier in the day. Did you know they’re not taking Prograf times anymore?

I was wheeled down to the Cath Lab, and then everything started. This time, since the annual study is more comprehensive than a biopsy, I did get the same amount of happy juice as last time. Anesthesia is great. I love the feeling of being high.

Another thing was everyone was wearing masks, even me. During the procedure, I didn’t notice the poking and shifting as much since I was high, but it was there. 

You have to lie down (can’t even raise your head) for six hours. I was asleep for two hours, but that still left four hours passing by. I talked to my mom and watched Back to the Future.

I was sad to learn from Lindsay that today was my last biopsy. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to the biopsy team 🙁 Since I turn 18 in October, I’ll be transferred to Kaiser and won’t be a pediatric patient anymore.

Lindsay told me that a few pediatric heart transplant recipients did contract COVID19, but luckily they recovered. That was good news, but I forgot to ask about the long term effects. I’m really glad I transferred to James Madison High School. At the time, Foothill couldn’t be bothered to move to distance learning. Once I saw “First death in the United States from coronavirus,” I was like I have to go.

My blood pressure today was higher than normal. Usually I like to be under 120/80, but today they were above that. That’s still in the normal range, but for me that’s not ideal.

After I was discharged, I couldn’t even walk. My groin was so sore, and I had to be wheeled on a wheelchair. 

The lobby of the hospital was emptier than usual. Probably because of the coronavirus, but it’s not like the hospital was a great place to be in the first place.

I was wheeled to the cafeteria and ate my meal outside. Afterwards, my mom drove back home to Pleasanton. My next appointment is in September.

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