Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Welcome Birthday Gift

It was an unusual way to spend a birthday, but it came with a welcome gift. As Alex and Tasha headed off to the first day of school (4th and 1st grade, respectively) I headed for the NYU Transplant Clinic for a nine-month check up. I wasn't concerned about heading to the hospital on my birthday. Heck, I was in the hospital for my very first birthday and that turned out pretty well. I was in the hospital for my rebirth day, too now near 33 months ago.

Dr. Lewis Teperman, the wonderful head of the department was on duty today. I have been feeling great, no problems and expected the usual - the transplant clinic followup equivalent of rotating the tires. But Dr. Teperman is famous for his tinkering and after reading my latest blood work and a thorough exam, he cut back on my meds. He once told me the trick is to get me on the lowest possible effective dose, as I'll be on the anti-rejection drugs for the rest of my life.

So, my birthday present from NYU is that my Prograf dosage drops to 3 MG at 8 AM and 2 at 8 PM, both down 1 MG. That will stretch the prescriptions a bit longer. My AM 5 MG of Prednisone and AM Septra tablet each Monday, Wednesday, Friday stays the same.

The trade off is I have to have blood work done in 2 weeks, to keep a close eye and come back in six months, in early March, for the next full checkup.

I told Dr. Teperman I was grateful for the birthday present he gave me. ''How old are you today?'' I told him 49. ''And you'll be 49 forever, right?'' he said with a laugh, alluding to the belief that no one wants to admit turning 50.

On the train ride home, I thought about his comment. He didn't mean it this way, of course, but telling a re-born transplant patient he'll be 49 forever has an unintended finality too it.

I'm looking forward to turning 50, 51, 52...
and staying young forever!


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