On Wednesday this week (17 Aug 2011) I had my first ever appointment as an out-patient at Dr Ferguson’s liver clinic in Birmingham. I was referred here by my specialist in Oxford, the lovely Dr Chapman, as he – and his team – believed it was time for me to have a transplant.
As transplants are only carried out at a few hospitals, I was referred to Birmingham as it was the closest to where I lived.
I was unsure of what to expect from this appointment. I didn’t know if this formed part of my liver transplant assessment, or if it was just to get a second opinion from a doctor at that hospital, or if I would have to start all over again at the beginning from diagnosis.
Dr Ferguson was lovely. He was very straight talking which I always find best. I would rather know the ins and outs of something than be kept in the dark.
The appointment started like any other out-patient appointment does. Pleasantries were exchanged – including the annoying introduction of, ‘Hi, I’m Dr Ferguson, how are you?’ British custom requires me to answer, ‘Fine thank you, and you?’.
He took my history, asked what medication I was on, did the strange tapping to make sure I am hollow on my stomach and then sat me down again in the chair. I was slightly worried at this point. We had already been in the room for 10 minutes (the standard time for an out-patient appointment in my experience) and all he seemed to have down is what my specialist would have done.
Then he turned to me and said, ‘Yes, so, I think we need to get you assessed for transplant.’ He talked through this process – which differs to all the information on their website – and explained about the risks.
Over the next four weeks I will be asked to attend Birmingham for 2 out-patient appointments with the transplant team. The first is a day-long session to be scanned, prodded and poked as much as humanly possible. The second is a longer stay of about one and a half to two days where I will be poked some more and I will get to meet the whole transplant team including people who have been through the transplant process already.
After this, the team at Birmingham make a decision of whether to list me or not and how urgent I am. Then the waiting begins.
I will be blogging the process of the transplant assessment so that people who are interested in this can follow it step by step. I will try to go into all of the tests that I have and what is being looked for as much as my stupid brain allows.
This is likely to be a fairly stressful process but one that is needed. And I can cope with the stress. I let very few things get to me.
And, as a huge plus, Dr Ferguson said I presented to him like a typical male PSCer. I was young, yellow and skinny.
He said I was skinny.
I have never been called skinny in all my life. Ever. This is a huge first.
So, thank you Dr Ferguson, you made my week.