I've changed blog sites, as you can see. For those of you who had visited the old Blog, I thought I should bring you up to date on the kidney transplant. We (me, as the donor, and my maybe-soon-father-in-law, as the recipient) on Sunday, June 6. Early in the morning of the 7th, the two of us headed into the "preparation for surgery room" (I'm sure there's a more technical term), and to be honest, I don't remember ever leaving that room. Actually, I don't even remember anesthesia, so I assume they started something really sweet in the IV while I was in that room.
When I woke up, I was back in my own hospital bed in my own room. There was a nurse in there with me, so I'm guessing right now that she "roused me". It was in the late afternoon, I think. The nurse gave me instructions on how to use the self-administered doses of morphine through the gadget attached to the IV - just hit the little button when needed. She also tried to get me to use the respiratory mechanism for deep breathing exercising (to prevent pneumonia), and I can tell you that I was in so much pain I could barely do shallow breathing.
It was a nurse visit or two later that I learned why I was in so much pain - it turns out that the drug normally prescribed in conjunction with the morphine after open renal surgery was not given to me because they were afraid I might have had an allergic reaction to it, as it had an ingredient that is also included in a drug I am allergic to... After a few discussions with the doctor, they decided to try the drug, and that made a night/day difference.
As is typical of live kidney transplants, the recipient was faring VERY well just after surgery while I was feeling like death warmed over. You have to get up and walk within 24 hours, and you have to walk as much as possible. And that breathing stuff... that's ROUGH to do. Other things causing extreme pain include hiccups, sneezing, and coughing.
I was discharged on Thursday, 3 days after surgery. I came home with a week's prescription for pain pills, and Friday I worked 12 hours. Why not? The pain pills were narcotic, so the blocked the major part of the pain from my brain fairly well, and if I was going to be awake, why not sit at a computer? After the prescription ran out, I started crumbling. I had a VERY grueling second week, then slowly began improving.
The recipient, Len, stayed in the hospital I think about 2 weeks? Then stayed in hospital owned "townhouses" and reported to physicians daily for 3-4 more weeks. Forever, it seemed. He seemed to be adapting perfectly to the new kidney (mind you, he IS on anti-rejection medication), and he was finally released.
For anyone who is going through a kidney transplant, or anyone knowing someone who is or will be going through a kidney transplant, I'd like to provide a very interesting set of facts. I got to the point that I was unable to actually do anything. It was a mental/emotional issue, not a physical issue. I don't know why, I just know it happened. My thought is that I was in physical pain for so long that my brain just kinda gave up for me. EVERYTHING was an effort, so I didn't want to *do* anything. I learned a few days ago that the recipient is going through exactly the same thing. Everything is an effort, and he is "not himself". Neither was I. It was a major push to physically exert myself and force myself out and into activity, but it was this push that brought me back to "me".
If I had to do it again, I'd do it in a heartbeat. It was NOT fun. It was FAR from comfortable. But now, less than 2 months after surgery, I'm fit as a fiddle and it's all behind me. What's 2 months of discomfort compared to a lifetime of no dialysis for the recipient? It's nothing. A moment in time. Yesterday I went to town shopping for the first time in 2 months, and I wore my T-shirt given to me by UAB hospital that said "I'm a Kidney Donor"... I was proud...