The Fine Line 20: Not Drugs You’re Looking For

The Fine Line is a series from Rick. Check out earlier parts of the series here. We pick up here after Rick is home from the hospital recovering from his liver transplant.


In the first few weeks post-liver transplant, it was important that my tacrolimus levels were monitored properly. (Tacrolimus/Prograf is an anti-rejection medication which can vary in dosage in either direction, I started with two in the morning, and two in the evening.) So to do so, there was frequent blood draws.

New Liver…Time for a New Relationship?

At 6 AM on cold December mornings, we would head out. Still unable to drive, my mom would take me to the hospital for my labs and accompanied me to my appointments. I was to bring in all my meds each time because they would make adjustments at those meetings. I couldn’t help but be excited each time. Early on, my ports (where the weird red and blue ports were) were nearly healed but still leaking for the first week. My doc met me in the lobby on her way into the office: “Oh, you’re leaking. That’s normal, we can fix that up. How does it feel to have a healthy liver?” she asked, “It’s absolutely amazing.” I responded as we posed for a selfie to send to my GI Doc. “Well, now we need to get you a girlfriend.” I could see my mom about to chime in and agree, “All good things in time, maybe in a few months.” I replied as my phone dinged with a Tinder match.

The morning meetings involved a lot of waiting, as my appointments were made at 7 AM for labs and 9 AM for my doc. The reasoning is that I needed to have the blood draw at the trough, or lowest point when tacrolimus was in my system, which was before I needed to take my meds. It also needed to be at least an hour before the appointment so that they could analyze the numbers and give me direction.

Getting Back Into a Regular Routine

After a few meetings, in a few weeks, it became easy to navigate, and I began to drive myself. It felt fantastic to be able to do more things on my own again. I no longer needed my cane beside me, but my mask on the other hand was practically glued to my face.

Christmas was so warm in my parents house that year. The cold temperatures were hardly noticeable. My brother flew down from Seattle, and for the first time in a while, we all woke up together to Christmas day. My Ugly Christmas Sweater, a gift from a friend the year before when I had to stop smoking weed, was a reminder of the mosaic of unusual things that helped to bring me here today.

With renewed sense of autonomy, I felt that it was time to start doing normal things I used to do. So I re-opened my OK Cupid account and set up dates, after Christmas, of course.


Check back for more from Rick’s series “The Fine Line”

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