Kate has been doing very well. I won't give you all the details, but she is coming along swimmingly. Both the pancreas and the kidney are functioning well. There was one setback early on, but it turned out that her dialysis catheter (which they had left in) was impinging on the space where the pancreas needed to be. It was also winding around her intestines, so I'm really glad that was taken out.
Since then, things have been going really well, and they're thinking of discharging her on Monday. After handling the logistics of diabetes+dialysis, the logistics of transplants (twice a week hospital visits and medication management) seem almost simple. I am not taking it lightly; it's just that we were in a really tough place already, so now the demands on us seem comparatively easy. It may seem easy because a couple of weeks ago we were not only dealing with the combination of dialysis and diabetes, but also dealing with the loss of Kate's insulin pump. The reseller refused to replace her pump when it broke.
In other words, some bureaucrat at a diabetes supply reseller (who is NOT a doctor) decided Kate was too fat and too old to be a Type 1 diabetic (who are all children and not overweight, in case you were wondering), and that he "didn't want to lose his Medicare contract for a type-2 diabetic." He put that note in her file, Medicare noted it and said Kate had to go through a test to prove she was a type 1 diabetic. In order to take that test, her blood sugar had to be under control, and we had no pump to control it with. She had to transition abruptly from the insulin pump she had been on for twenty years to giving herself boluses of insulin manually, with needles, while flooding her body with sugar water every night in dialysis. (Her glucose monitor often gave no number during this time, merely saying "HIGH." Those of you who are familiar with diabetes will know how bad this is. It generally means your blood sugar is over 400.) She eventually had to forego dialysis one night in order to take the test to prove she was type 1.
In case you're wondering, Kate was first diagnosed as type 1 thirty-six years ago.
So this guy who has no medical training whatsoever was able to put my partner through days of intense stress, pain, nausea, and no small amount of danger. And this during COVID, when I felt I absolutely could not take her to an emergency room.
This experience has opened my eyes to the crazy disparity between different aspects of the American medical system. When they are within their wheelhouse, and choose to exert their talents on behalf of somebody's health, they are magnificent. Practically miracle-workers. (Their wheelhouse, in my opinion, is surgery and the fabrication of medical machines). However, complaints which cannot be solved with a piece of medical technology or surgical intervention, they do not do so well at. And worst of all, (as all here know) the economic and political bureaucracy surrounding medicine is horrendously corrupt, rife with unaccountable authorities and even people who aren't authorities who can assume authority because they feel like it one day and wreak havoc on another person's well-being.
I am more grateful than I can say to all those involved with Kate's transplant, from the donor's family to the surgeons to the nurses and support staff. It is surreal to hold the truth of that experience side-by-side with the noxious experience we were having beforehand, and know that both are real.
I am also grateful to all of you for all the good wishes you have sent us.