Yesterday was a great day for Erika! The day started off with a quick appointment at the hospital for a port flush and ended with a long walk and a long nap.
A port (port a cath) is a type of permanent IV device that sits under the skin in a little pocket created in the chest. About a year and a half ago, before transplant, Erika had her port placed. It was used for her frequent IV antibiotics that she administered at home. It made it much easier for her to manage her own care (Erika is all about independence, and it allowed her to avoid frequent hospital visits and traumatic picc line placements. Since the port is a convenient access point for administering medications and drawing blood, it was worked around during transplant and will stay in place to be used as needed. After surgery, Erika had a variety of lines being used, her port being one of them. As the lines were removed and Erika was discharged from the hospital cord-free, she has not used the port in the past several weeks. If it is left unused, the port needs to be flushed with saline and heparin once per month as part of the maintenance of the device to ensure it stays open and does not clot. The process of flushing the port is relatively quick, and now she’s good to go for another 4 weeks.
After her appointment, Erika conquered her longest walk yet, at Green Lake Park! She even broke her record for her fastest pace yet! The total loop around the lake is 2.8 miles! Erika explained how strange it is that her lungs no longer seem to get tired. Instead, it’s her muscles. This will get better over time, as she has not been used to doing any physical activity in the last year. She plans to keep up with these longer walks on the nice Seattle days, and rest and relax on the rainy days. Today she needed a rest day, which is equally important for her recovery.
Also, zoom in to see the awesome shirt gifted to Erika by relatives in South Dakota. It says “Lung Transplant. Been There, Done That”. We are so proud of all Erika has accomplished thus far, but are always mindful of the fact that transplant is a lifelong journey. We feel extra grateful for the donor and his/her family on days like today when Erika amazes us with what she can do now.