Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Transplant Clinic

Since we spend so much time at the Adult Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic these days, I thought you all might like to know a little bit about what it looks like and what we do there. It is housed on the ground floor of a beautiful tall medical building 4 blocks from the main Duke Hospital. I love that I can drop Ernie off right outside the entrance, and that there is a parking garage specifically for this building with special parking places for transplant patients. I appreciate the fact that everything is in close proximity and so well kept.

The Duke ABMTC is well known in the transplant community for its success as an outpatient clinic, and we are so blessed live closeby. How nice not to be hospitalized for weeks at a time while recovering from transplant, but rather to be able to go to an outpatient clinic 7 days a week for care, and then return to your apartment...home away from home!

On the way in to the Clinic, you must first wash your hands for 15 seconds, and put on a mask. There are two different treatment areas or sides in the Clinic, A & B, and both have a number of private rooms, and an open area with beds and recliners around the perimeter separated by curtains. The nurses' station sits in the middle of the room on each side. As you can see, it is very neat and CLEAN!

At first I wondered if we would mind the days when we aren't in a private room and are kind of "out there" with other patients. But you soon learn that you are all in the same boat, going through transplant of some sort, and it creates a bond of understanding and empathy. You see many of the same people each day, and can often learn a little about their journey, pray for them, and stay in touch. You see couples, or patients and caretakers, hand in hand, walking laps around the treatment areas. 17 laps means you have walked a mile and it is encouraging to see people up, moving, and trying to keep up their strength.

Our doctor, Cristina Gasparetto, has a primary clinical interest in myeloma and has received numerous honors and awards for her research. She is Italian, compassionate and knowledgeable in this form of cancer. We KNOW we are in excellent hands. Her Nurse Practioner, and our Coordinator, is Amanda Yopp, and she has been wonderful to work with...a Physician's Extender as they are called. She truly is the hands and feet of Dr. Gasparetto, consulting with her, organizing Ernie's procedures, answering our emails and phone calls, writing prescriptions, and examining Ernie. They are both smart, beautiful women who are taking great care of Ernie. (Dr. Gasparetto's eyes were closed, but it was the only picture I got).

The nurses, social workers, and physicians that we have met are all wonderful, talented and dedicated to what they do. They are pleasant to us every day, work so very hard, and know what they are doing.

And lastly, we have been pleasantly surprised twice at the Clinic when Music Therapists quietly played for the patients as they were receiving treatment. First was a woman playing the dulcimer...we have always been fascinated by this instrument when we see it at the NC State Fair, Village of Yesteryear. Second was a woman playing the mandolin and flute, and we could even request what we would like to hear. What a nice touch to soothe and calm one's spirit.

The Clinic is about 7 minutes from our apartment, and we spend anywhere from 2-5 hours there a day. Patients are weighed, taken to a room, bed, or recliner, and prepared for labwork. Blood is drawn and then we wait (this is when many walk) to see what the next step is going to be. Many walk pulling their IV stand along with them, and others sleep, watch movies, work on laptops, or read. Caretakers go get food, ice, and blankets, and generally help however we can, and entertain ourselves in the meantime.

We certainly are grateful for the Duke ABMTC and the many fine people who work there.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. I John 4:11

1 comment:

  1. I love being able to read your updates about Mr. Ernie especially since I am at school! Love you two!