After transplant there are some very strict rules to live by. I thought some of you might be interested in them, and it would help me in the future if my friends are aware of them.
Rule number one: Wash Your Hands before everything!!!
It is absolutely essential I avoid any germs and take all necessary precautions, the most important of which is regular hand-washing particularly when preparing and eating food. My immune system is suppressed so my body can’t fight the usual germs and bacteria that won’t harm most normal people but a simple infection can end up being fatal for me.
It sounds rude but please don’t see me if you have any symptoms, even a slight sniffly nose is worth avoiding!
Good hygiene standards and basic common sense is really all that is required. When wiping kitchen surfaces, it is important to use proper disinfectant and kitchen towels not dishcloths (as these harbor germs).
I need to ensure all food is washed thoroughly (even pre-washed salads etc) and cooked properly. There are certain foods that it is particularly important to cook thoroughly: eggs, meat, fish- anything that is a usual source of food poisoning.
I’m not allowed to eat any unpasteurized dairy products, and I need to stay away from shell fish, raw or rare meats and fish (its basically a pregnancy diet!). I also must totally avoid any grapefruit- this is particularly important as it interacts with my anti-rejection meds.
You need to be very careful with pets and hygiene. We have to wash Disney’s bowls in a separate sink, with separate washing up brush etc. She has to be kept very clean and fully vaccinated and wormed etc. She is not allowed on our bed and she is not supposed to lick my face (sometimes hard to avoid!).
Cat litter trays and Dog poo are a no no!
I also need to be careful around children. As lovely as they are, they are a constant source of bugs and colds etc. Chicken pox is extremely important for me to avoid and I can’t be around babies who have recently had live vaccines. Dirty nappies can be hazardous (no loss there!) and gardening too (again not my favourite pastime!).
There are quite a few medicines I’m not allowed to take and vaccines I can’t have. There are also quite a few it is essential I keep up to date. I take long-term antibiotics to help avoid infections but I need to keep on top of things and watch out for any signs- like cuts or similar and make sure they don’t get infected. Dental work has to be done under sterile conditions and with extra antibiotic treatment. I have to have regular health checks as the medication often causes certain types of cancer, for example I have a high risk of developing skin cancer so it is factor 50 and hats all round!
I have to take my temperature, weight and lung function every day and report any changes to the Transplant Clinic. There are also other symptoms like swelling and any general signs of illness that must be reported. I need to keep my general fitness levels up with regular exercise and stay a healthy weight.
There are more restrictions in the first year, you can’t fly at all and you cant swim- they seem to be the main ones. Once you can fly, you are free to go on holiday but need to make sensible choices as to where you go and stay.
Overall, you just need to avoid unnecessary risks but then get on and enjoy everything you couldn’t do before and make the most of your amazing new lungs ☺ It’s all about getting a balance.
Please don’t be offended by anything I check- these lungs are just too precious to risk 🙂