All transplant patients are immunosuppressed. After your transplant they have you on all kinds of medication, including anti-rejection drugs which suppress your immune system so that your body won’t reject your new organs. Because my immune system is compromised, it makes me highly susceptible to colds, bacteria and fungus which then can lead to pneumonia and lung complications.
On the door outside of my room at the hospital there was a sign that said: Immunosuppressed – Wash hands before and after entering. No flowers or plants. Do not enter if you have symptoms of a cold or feel unwell.
Because i’m so susceptible to infection and disease I have to be very dilligent about hand washing and using anti-bacterial gel at all times. There is much more risk of me getting sick by touching than by airborn coughs or sneezes. Of course if I’m somewhere and someone is coughing I am to move immediately, but ultimately I need to keep myself and the people around me as germ free as possible.
I fear I am going to turn into a fanny pack wearing germaphobe. I say fanny pack because I need to carry around things to protect me and it seems most convenient – despite the unfashionable statement. In the fanny pack would be tissue, hand sanitizer, extra mask, and my medication list. Hopefully once my sternum heals and I can start carrying things, I can find a smallish, stylish bag to tote around instead.
If you come over don’t be offended if I make you wash your hands multiple times and refuse hugs. I think it’s going to take me a minute to get used to living immunosuppressed.