Yesterday I drove myself down to Philly for my post op check-up with Dr. Pochettino. It was my first time driving down to Philly by myself since my whole transplant process started nearly a year ago and it was the longest drive I've taken since being allowed to drive again. I took the "back way" down to through Princeton and avoided The Parkway and Turnpike. I don't think I'm quite ready for a long drive on those yet (but then again, is anybody ever really ready to drive on them?). Going that way takes a little longer but my family and I decided it would be better because there were more places for me to pull over and take a break if I needed to. It felt really good driving and I wasn't anxious or nervous during it at all. I guess driving is like riding a bike, you never really forget how to do it.
I got down to The Perelman center about 11 a.m. because I needed to get a chest X-ray before my 12:15 appointment. I was done with radiology around 11:45 and then had some paperwork to drop off at the Transplant Clinic which only took a few minutes. I checked in with Dr. Pochettino at about noon and I already could tell it wasn't going to go smoothly. The receptionist kept asking if I was positive my appointment was today and I pulled up the MyPennMedicine App on my iPad and showed her the appointment. She then found my appointment but couldn't "me" in the computer. Apparently radiology never checked me out so I wasn't able to check me in at the doctor's office. I guess she figured it out because a few minutes later she gave me my paperwork and told me to have a seat and wait to be called. I waited about twenty minutes before the Nurse came out called my name, and again asked me if I was sure that my appointment was today and then asked who referred me to Dr. Pochettino. I told her that he preformed my heart transplant so I guess the Transplant team would be the referrers. She seemed surprised that I was there for a post op visit but I also saw the light go off above her head as to why my name wasn't familiar to her. She called me into the exam room about ten minutes later where she went over my medication list and asked the usual questions. She left the room and I proceeded to wait another half hour for Dr. Pochettino to come in. He asked how I was feeling, examined my incisions, I asked a few questions and then we were done. He said everything looked good and that everything else would be handled by the Transplant team. All that waiting for an exam that took less than ten minutes.
By this time it was after 1:30 p.m. and I was starving. I went down to the Gia Pronto Cafe to grab something to eat. There, I ran into my social worker and was reminded that I had want to speak with her. I asked if I could stop by to see her after lunch and she said that would be fine. I got a salad from there which was huge! I could barely eat all of it. I could feel myself starting to wind down and was getting concerned about making the drive home the same day. I decided it would be best if I got a hotel room for the night and drove home the next morning fully rested. Plus I was nervous about driving in rush hour as it was nearly 2 p.m. and I didn't know how long I would be with my social worker. And on top of everything else, President Obama was in the city for a fundraising event so traffic was even worse than it normally is. I booked a room at the Sheraton down the street which worked out nicely because they were having a special so the room was pretty inexpensive. I had discussed this option with my Dad before hand and packed an overnight bag just in case I needed it.
After I spoke with my social worker I checked into the hotel and took a little nap. I told my friend Kris that my plans had changed and I would be staying in the city for the night. He stopped by and we went out to dinner and that was my exciting night in Philly. I woke up this morning, showered, packed, and then drove home. I ended up meeting my Friend Cait for lunch because she is leaving for Ireland tonight to finish her masters program in Dublin and I wanted to see her before she left so although I left at about 10 a.m., I didn't actually step foot into my house until about 3 p.m.. Again, there were no problems with the drive except when I was on my way home from lunch. I didn't think about traffic in Bergen County on the Friday before the Fourth of July weekend. I took mostly backroads (to again, avoid the Parkway which I'm sure was a parking lot) but was still a little anxious by time I got home. It was nice to regain some of my independence I find it fitting that it happened right before Independence Day.
My next Check-up/Biopsy is scheduled for next Thursday, the 7th. I'm going to talk to my Dad tonight about what the game plan is going to be. I have to be there at 7a.m. again so we're going to have to figure out if if he is going to come down with me and if we should go down the night before so we don't to get up quite so early. The good thing about having the biopsy done at The Perelman Center is they only use a local anesthesia so I could drive myself down the the night before and then home after the biopsy. I don't think I'm ready to do the trip by myself in one day, especially since I would have to leave the house by 5 a.m. which means I would probably get up at 4 a.m.. All logistics that we will figure out. Thanks again to everyone for all of your support and generous donations that make these trips less of a financial burden. I know I've said it probably a million times now, but I feel so blessed and loved to have such wonderful people in my life who are willing to help others in their time of need.