It seems that our fundraising efforts have created some confusion about Patrick’s transplant. The fact that the Produce for Patrick stands coincided with Patrick’s intestinal reconnection surgery has led a lot of people to believe that transplant has already happened. As much as we wish that were true, Patrick is still waiting for his transplant.
I’m asked every few days how the transplant went. And when I explain that we’re still waiting, the response I almost always get is “Well, you’ll let us know when it does, right?”
So – for all who are afraid that they’ll miss word of Patrick’s transplant, here is a list of ways you’ll know it’s happened. (It’s also a little intro to what we expect life to be like after transplant.)
1) We’ll be in Washington. Patrick is having his transplant done at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
2) Brian will be alone when he’s at home. Patrick needs to live near Seattle Children’s for at least 6 months. I’ll be there with him.
3) Brian will achieve frequent flier status. The plan is for him to go back and forth between cities until Patrick and I can come home.
4) We’ll be germophobes. To prevent rejection, Patrick’s immune system will be suppressed. We won’t often take him into public places, and when we do, he’ll probably be wearing a mask. If you visit us, we’ll demand that you be healthy, and that you make sure to wash your hands… often.
5) Patrick will be allowed to eat. Not just a teaspoon of formula and one bite of solid food every 3 hours. He will need normal quantities of real food because…
6) Patrick won’t need TPN anymore. At first they’ll slowly decrease the number of hours that he has it. A goal before he comes home will be that he doesn’t need it at all anymore. He won’t have an IV anymore. It’s possible that for a while he’ll be fed through the tube in his stomach.. but eventually, even that will not be needed.
7) Patrick and I rack up a different kind of frequent flier miles. For the first little while after coming home, Patrick will need to go back to Seattle Children’s much more often than he goes now. To make these trips while he’s on immunosuppressants, we will probably stop flying commercially and use smaller planes through a service like Angel Flight. Since small planes fly more slowly, the trip will take a day each way, not counting time in clinic.
8 ) We’ll have to start watching our budget even more closely than we do now. Right now, most of Patrick’s care falls under our insurance company’s catastrophe protection. However, immune suppressants are a pharmacy benefit, to which no out of pocket maximum applies. Co-pays for transplant medications average hundreds of dollars a month.
9) We’ll probably change a lot of what we do. Patrick’s care will require a whole new and different routine. Because his health will be at risk, we’ll have to be careful of where we go with him, as well as what we do around the house. (For example, gardening is a huge health risk for Patrick.)
10) WE’LL TELL YOU! I promise, when it comes time for Patrick’s transplant, we will be overflowing with excitement, fear, and anticipation. An intestinal transplant is MAJOR. You won’t be guessing if it’s happened. It will be all we can think about for a long time.
Now, the next question I’ve been getting is this. “If Patrick hasn’t had his transplant yet, why are you fundraising?” The answer is this… Patrick’s transplant is a VERY expensive one. It’s a newer form of transplant with higher rejection risk, and so follow-up care for this transplant is quite intesive. Furthermore, we have to travel to have the transplant done, which ups our cost exponentially, especially when you add in cost of living and travel on top of out-of-network medical bills and medication co-pays. Raising $70,000 can take some time, and we’re trying to be prepared and to help in the fundraising efforts while we are still in a position to do so.
There is, of course, the possibility that Patrick’s health could fail before he gets to transplant. This is one of the biggest reasons that we decided to work with COTA to do fundraising. Any money raised that Patrick doesn’t need will go to the transplant-related expenses of other children.
So there’s my educational spiel of the morning. Hope it helps to answer some of the questions you may have.