About a week and a half ago, my good friend Liz Carter had a double lung and liver transplant in the Houston area (St. Luke's Hospital). Needless to say, this is a very invasive and lengthy surgical procedure, and the first few days seemed to be going better than doctors had anticipated.
I spoke a couple of days ago with Bill, Liz's husband, and he gave me some updated information. As with most transplants of this type and scope, there was good news and less-than-good news at this stage.
Overall, the organs themselves are responding quite well so far, and the surgery took hours less to complete than they had budgeted. After a couple of days, they took Liz off of the ventilator and she was awake sometimes, though not speaking yet. He alluded to the fact that she was her typical feisty self, which was a positive sign. However, they later ran some tests and determined that Liz had some stroke activity on both sides of her brain, and she was back on the ventilator. Thankfully, they caught the stroke activity very quickly and this particular type of stroke is largely reversible. Basically, it was a blessing that it happened while she was in the hospital, since they could treat her right away. They mentioned that there could be some residual effects (for example, one of her arms might not work perfectly, etc.).
They were relatlvely sure that the loss of oxygen to her brain was caused by a large mucus clot that she couldn't cough up herself. Bill said that lung transplant patients can usually cough up stuff like this, but Liz was in so much pain because of her high tolerance for pain meds that she was unable to do it, so they had to do a bronchiotomy to remove it.
As you can see, there's a long road to recovery ahead, including the anti-rejection drugs, along with the "normal" healing process.
Please continue to pray for our friend. I hope to have more updates in the upcoming week.
I read a post by Marchel Peterson today which has some additional, new information about the ventilator:
In the photo above, that's Liz (in the red and white) with me and Ricki Eichler at my birthday party in 2008.