Wanna see a picture?
For anyone with bizarre curiosity and those considering donation and the reality of how it really physically feels – I’m going to use my next couple posts to document the actual experience. But before doing so, will provide some quick updates:
I was sprung from the hospital at about 3 pm on Sunday and whisked out to the Colorado countryside where there is not much chance of my escaping, at least not without some significant effort. Actually, I’m staying with Mary and Bob Hothem and their family (including my new best canine buddy Patches) in Franktown – a bit south of Denver. It’s really a lovely place to spend a few days relaxing. I managed about 2 miles on a treadmill this morning (it’s brutally windy here today) at a snail-pace of about a 22 minute mile. That’s kind of embarrassing! Without the details, all body systems now seem to functioning normally but my belly looks like a war zone. Tape, marker, dried blood, iodine- – get the picture? Must google how to remove this crap because a normal shower didn’t do it. Tomorrow’s goal (weather permiting) is a 2 mile outdoor loop with Patches.
We spoke with Lisa about 9 am this morning and she still hoped to be discharged today. She was feeling much better and most of her labwork results were stable. If I hear more, will post more later.
Now, to the actual experience of donating a kidney. As I mentioned prior to surgery, it was suggested I try to get my caffiene fix prior to my 3:30 10/21 cut-off time. My sister actually woke me up to remind me – and yes, I had as much warm coke as I could stomach. I was up at 4:15, showered, dressed and waiting for Lisa at 5 am. All I can say about the pre-op area was it was well-organized chaos. The UC-Denver hospital has 16 surgery suites, and they were prepping 18 people for surgery. Add all of the medical personnel and family members, it was crazy. My blood pressure was sky high! Something about having a curtain drawn around your little 6 foot area, being handed a gown, a plastic bag for your things, and some hospital socks was not so comforting. But I have to say that everyone who was a part of the process was incredibly nice and very thorough in explanations of what would happen next. Before long, I had been given my “happy shot” and was on my way to the surgery room. I have some recollection of wanting to say “weee…..faster!” but I think (hope) I refrained. Once in the surgical suite, you are moved to a very narrow table, strapped down, and given an oxygen mask. That’s all I remember. Next human contact (at least that registers in my brain) is being awoken with the worst cotton mouth and need for water that I could ever imagine. I kept wondering where the pain was – there was an odd discomfort in my mid-section, but not much else. Other than thirst. I went into surgery around – who am I kidding – I didn’t have a watch on – I don’t know what time, but have been told I was in the PACU around 9:30 am. So, surgery was probably 1 1/2 – 2 hours. I spent the day in the PACU because there wasn’t a room ready on the transplant floor – families can visit for 10-20 minutes every couple hours, othewise you just lie there hoping someone will feel sorry for you and give you some ice chips. For someone who drinks A LOT of water on a daily basis – this was brutal to me. I’m fairly certain I will now be a water hoarder. The first time I really felt any pain was when we finally made it to the 6th floor and was being moved to my room. You know the strips of plastic molding used between carpet and hard floors? They are brutal after surgery when lying on a bed. Hospitals need to do something about this. (its also hard to move IV poles over them on your daily forced marches!). The elevator doors area – that hurts too. Any bump on that bed was felt througout my body. But alas, we made it to room 607, a nice private room in which I’d reside for 3 days. At this point, post-surgery I was really wondering what the fuss was all about – didn’t seem to be too big of a deal…… more to come. 🙂