Saturday, October 3, 2009

On squirrels and other beasties...

On our last walk today Bernie, once again, was his imitable self and had me thinking. During our time together he must have chased 200 squirrels that escaped by scampering up trees, leaving him with his paws up on the trunk looking up. I’ve told him dozens of times that he can’t climb trees, but it doesn’t make any difference. Today he stopped down by the lake and sat for a full minute looking up at squirrel high up on the branches of an oak while it chattered away at him. He just refuses to give up.

I’ve picked up a lesson in his stubbornness. When we were at Shands earlier this week, the doctors explained to me that I’m not in acute rejection. It has morphed into another condition called chronic rejection which is sometimes known as bronchiolitis obliterans. I wouldn’t be surprised if that somewhat indelicate medical description conjures up Indiana Jones’ classic remark, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” For the record, the median survival time for patients with chronic rejection is 31.34 months.

However, with a nod to Bernie and his squirrels, I want to emphasize the word median in those research results. There are many transplant recipients with chronic rejection who have survived much longer, years longer. This week the doctors put me on a regimen including Zithromax which has a proven record of halting the progress of chronic rejection and in some cases actually improving a patient’s lung function.

Finally, I want to point out that I can climb trees. And I refuse to give up.

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