Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Not Quite There Yet - An Update

Its been two weeks since my brother had his kidney transplant in Cebu, Philippines and he still in the hospital up to this moment. There were some problems on his recovery. His new kidney is not yet fully functioning so there was a need for a series of dialysis. He actually had four dialysis so far just to keep his creatinine toxicity low. He was given a stronger dose of anti-rejection drug that would literally slow down his immune system so that his body would accept the new organ. As of today he was feeling alright and the new kidney started to function. He can produce urine on an increasing volume and his creatinine level is going low. As I talked to him over the phone, he needed 2 units of blood for transfusion because his hemoglobin was low. This is always the case for those who are dialysis patients. So far everything is looking bright for him and I was thankful that God had heard my prayers. Just hang in there brother and you are on your way to full recovery and a brighter future ahead of you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It’s Not Over Yet

Last Tuesday, May 11th was my brother's kidney transplant operation. It was done in Cebu, Philippines and my whole family was with him. I was alone here in Las Vegas wondering what was happening on the other side of the world. I had my computer on almost the whole day and used Skype's calling feature to get updates of the operation. I was nervous and afraid of what might happen to him and I felt I was at a loss since I could not do anything to help him. I knew my parents were also feeling the same way I did, just imagine that their son underwent a very critical operation. I didn't like the feeling of waiting, it was very agonizing.

Since I was online the whole time and planned to remain online until the end of the surgery, I used my Facebook account to broadcast updates to my friends. I did it so that I won't feel alone. I knew my brother and I had lots of friends online so I thought it was a big help to virtually gather them around for support. Fortunately I wasn't wrong. Lots of friends left positive comments on my updates and offered prayers for my brother's safety. Most of them also left assurances that everything would be alright with God's grace. Seeing all the positive feedback encouraged me to keep on posting updates online. I'd been calling my brother's wife to get updates and if there are new developments I posted them online. I felt better because I felt I was no longer alone.

The surgery lasted almost 9 hours for both my brother and the donor and the longer it took the surgery to finish the more I felt uneasy. It was a very big relief when I finally got the word that he was about to be transferred to his room in isolation. The next 48 hours was very critical for him. Infection is the biggest threat in this stage. Symptoms of organ rejection can be reversed with massive doses of anti-rejection drugs. On my last call my brother was already awake but still weak and sleepy. He is currently in isolation in a sterile environment. He will remain in that state for the next 2 weeks with a dedicated nurse monitoring over him all the time. He will stay in Cebu for another month as he will still be closely monitored by his doctors.

At this point, it's still not over. We still have to pray to the Lord for his full recovery.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Island Escapade

This is quite late for posting but nevertheless I still have to blog about it.
On my last days off, some of my close friends invited me to go with them for a short island trip to Santa Catalina Island often called Catalina Island just off the coast of Southern California. Catalina is one of the eight Channel Islands Archipelago of California. It is also the only one among the eight islands to have a significant permanent civilian settlement. The city of Avalon, where we landed is one of the two places where you can find concentration of population, the other one is the unincorporated town of Two Harbors.
The night before our trip, we had a farewell party for the mother of my friends because she just retired from her work. They invited me to go with them and since I was still on my dayoff I immediately agreed. I slept in their house that evening after the party since we were planning to leave Las Vegas very early in the morning. I volunteered to drive that morning all the way to Long Beach, California where the catamaran fastcraft terminal is located. In the early morning, about 3AM we started our 4 to 5 hours drive to Long Beach. I felt excited for the long drive and I even did not feel tired or sleepy at all.
We arrived at the Catalina Express terminal about 8:30AM, that was about 5 hours of drive. I was hoping to get to the jump off point in 4 hours but we were caught by the early traffic when we were in the vicinity of Los Angeles. We were still early though since the fastcraft's depature would still be at 10AM. We still were able to take breakfast at the cafe inside the terminal. After an hour of boat ride to the island, we arrived at the bay city of Avalon around 11AM. We immediately debated what to do in the island. Actually there were so much to do in the island but you need to plan them out. Since our stay there is limited we decided to take the island tour by bus since it would cover much of the island's interesting places. With our driver/tour guide talking all the intersting facts (or fiction?) about the island, we went around the city and up to the mountains. One fact of Catalina's history though is that in 1919 the island was bought by the chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. He was also one of the latest owners of the island to develop it successfully to become an island resort for visitors. We were enjoying so much of the tour specially when one of our detinations was their so called "airport in the sky" located high up the mountain at the elevation of 1,602 feet. Going up there required steep road climbing but on our way, we saw some of the glorious bird's eye view of Avalon and the surrounding parts of the island.
We still have ample time to explore part of the city of Avalon after the tour. We initially planned to rent out golf carts which is one of the available tour transportation of the city but turned down the idea since our remaining time is limited. Our fastcraft will leave at 3:45pm that afternoon. Armed with our cameras, we had a blast in shooting some pictures around the city. You can view some pictures I took in my Facebook page. By the way, did you know that Catalina Island is also rich in Hollywood hisotry? Some of the famous classic movies were filmed in the island. You need to visit their official website for more information or just Google or even search it through Wikipedia.
Check out this link: http://www.catalinachamber.com/
I'm planning to go back to Catalina Island and stay overnight there....someday soon.