Kidney Transplant Story

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Success!  So the transplant finally happened.  We went in early Tuesday morning for a large paired exchange transplant with 4 donors and 4 recipients.  Everything went very smoothly – a lot of hurry up and wait – and of course I proved to be a difficult stick for them to get an IV line in me.  They tried twice when I was awake and failed and then they told me they would knock me out with gas and then put in a line.  I woke with two lines in – one in the top of my wrist and one in my neck.  I also had some new bandages where they had tried to put in lines and failed.  Meg was the second surgery and I was the third of the day.  the donor of my new kidney went first.  I awoke around 3:00 PM very groggy and in multiple types of pain – but the good news was the morphine drip that I could control within reason.  They came and did a sonogram which I wish they could have done while I was still out – boy did that hurt.  I was told Meg was doing well and was already in her room, but that it would be awhile till I could see her.  I finally made it to my room around 6:00 PM and was able to see Kate and Kenny who came for the week.  Had a very rough first night, couldn’t sleep and was very uncomfortable with the foley catheter but happy to be producing something.  Had lots of pain in the incision, which should form into a cool scar, and pain in my bladder which makes sense since it hadn’t been used in almost two years.

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I got no sleep the first night and had lots of episodes of pain but it would come in spasms and then go away for a while.  I did finally get to see Meg as she was walking around and in a room nearby mine which was nice but she was in a lot of discomfort as well.  Was taken down for another sonogram and that took around an hour and more pain but it was getting less.  I did finally get out of bed and sit in a chair for several hours in the afternoon.  No real interest in food yet but did have a cup of jello.  I was drinking water much except for ice chips for the pain in my throat.  They got on me about drinking as I am now urinating and need to replace the water but for two years I have been on a limited fluids and now they want maximum fluids.  At midnight they took out the foley catheter and now I have to go on my own which is very painful and also very frequently.  I finally got a couple of hours of sleep that second night thru like 1/2 hour blocks interrupted by trips to the bathroom or the pee cup they give guys.  The nights and days were filled with an endless line of technicians taking vitals and blood sugar check and blood draws.  Also meetings with the dietitians, pharmacists, social workers, and physical therapists all to review my post operative plans.  I have binders and medical plans for my drugs, and follow-up plans for future medical visits.

Friday I finally was able to walk on my own without the nurse of walker.  I was finally eating a little and drinking lots of water so they decided I should go home.  I was finally feeling a little better and the pain is becoming less.  I did have a final sonogram and was finally able to go home on Friday afternoon.  I feel more relaxed at home now and feel I can recover better here.  I go back in on Saturday for another blood draw and have my first follow-up visit on Monday.  I can’t drive or go out for anything but Clinic visits for the first month hopefully then I can get out and drive.  Kate and Kenny are still here and they are great help.  Meg is improving as well.  On Thursday we go in for a clinic visit and the plan is that there will be a press conference and we will get to meet all the donors and recipients.  This was the largest paired donation at one place in the State and Yale wants some promotion out of it to spur other altruistic donors.

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