We return now to the story of one young woman and her two new hands, a double-transplant. But even with those, she now faces a new battery of difficult challenges. And once again, here's ABC's John Donovan.
After nearly twelve hours in the operating room (something quite rare): Transplanting two donor hands onto twenty-eight-year-old Lindsay Ess.
So have you looked yet? No? Okay.
I've only looked...peeked down at this one thumb.
Inside this cocoon is a new Lindsay, hesitant to see what's happened to her overnight...what's finally happened.
They feel like normal fingers, you know, normal hands.
The initial signs: good.
This is more than we could ever hope for. Her blood pressure is good. All the parameters are good, related to how the blood flow is in and out of her new arms. And this is a, if you will, a picture-perfect course so far.
October 2011. You have ten degrees more bending in your other elbow.
Less than a month after surgery, Lindsay is out of the ICU and well into therapy.
It gets easier as I am going. Are you helping me?
No, you're doing well. Each repetition should get easier 'cause you're getting looser.
How many is this one?
This is only number two.
She has started to get to know her new hands.
Tell me about it when you first actually saw them that they were yours.
Actually the first couple of days, I...I didn't...I refused to look at them.
It was kind of like one of those scary movie kind of moments. You know, that's all it was. It was just like one of those. I'm too scared to look because it's reality.
But it's not yet a perfect reality. To prevent rejection, the surgeons had to leave pouches of excessive fat and skin on her normally toned and thin arms. Her new hands and arms look like they belonged to someone else.
And the skin color is never going to be the same. The lower arms to your upper arms...that will always be that way.
You know, it's hard for me to answer questions like that because...I'm just so grateful to have them. For them to not match is sort of to me...
Beside the point?
Start with your left wrist...
January 2012, four months after surgery, her doctors are amazed by the pace of her recovery. They didn't expect fine motion control for at least another twelve to eighteen months. But...
To see this at this early stage is very encouraging.
Her muscles are reacting and she can pick up lightweight objects.
This is the time, where hours each day is your job for next year, hours.
All right! There she goes.
And finally, going home on a cold day last February, five months after that urgent call to come in for the surgery, the prognosis for both hands couldn't be better.
Oh, my god, look at your extension. That's incredible. And straighten these out now if you can, and hold now...now squeeze.
June 2012, nine months after the surgery, she can extend and move her wrists and fingers and sense hot and cold, a tingling sensation that bothers her...nevertheless, indicates that nerves are growing back.
Her function continues to improve dramatically...at a very accelerated rate in terms of her nerve regeneration that is giving her more strength.
But you can see the weight gain, forty pounds: the result of extra steroids required when her body threatened to reject the transplant. That crisis receded, but the weight gain is something Lindsay finds more deeply discouraging than she expected.
I hear you on the steroids. We want you off these steroids as fast as we can get you off them. But to compromise and risk rejection, that's the thing we've been balancing.
- 「一堆、一大堆」- A Battery Of
But even with those, she now faces "a new battery of" difficult challenges.
- 「有點像是、若你要這樣說的話」- If You Will
And this is a, "if you will", a picture-perfect course so far.
- 「無關緊要、不相干的」- Beside The Point
"Beside the point"?
- 「我了解、我曉得」- I Hear You
"I hear you" on the steroids. We want you off these steroids as fast as we can get you off them.