Fully cognizant…

I think.

6 days post-surgery and I’m done with the vicodan. I tried going to 1/4 of my dose and still felt all fuzzy in the head, then took a 1/2 dose before bed last night. I was up most of the night with cold sweats and nausea. I don’t have enough pain to justify the side-effects. So today’s plan is to go cold turkey and take some tylenol before bed. I really don’t have significant pain, more discomfort and I think by just listening to my body, I can manage on Tylenol. So, I just did another 2 miles on the treadmill and worked up a sweat for the first time in over a week. 🙂

Back to the whole experience of donating a kidney and what to expect. I think what I’ve learned is that its really subjective and there are a lot of parameters that go into it. I really had no expectations other than I knew my belly would be carved up a bit, I’d be missing a kidney and there might be some pain. The nausea, dizziness, iv’s, catheter – those were all foreign concepts to me. I described the whole immediate post-op experience a couple days ago and that really felt like a breeze (other than the bed ride over bumps!), I kept waiting for the bad part. The evening after surgery, I pretty much felt out of it – well drugged, with a pain push button in hand (which I kept losing) for anytime I felt discomfort. At that point, my diet was still ice chips and water. Which was fine until I heard Lisa had moved on to broth and jello! Actually, that didn’t sound much better to me either. But that night, I was checked, prodded, bp measured constantly. Oh – and they were worried about my urine output – so someone would come in hourly all night long to wiggle my catheter to be sure it was working. Lovely…. Moving hurt. They wanted me to shift off my back at times, but moving onto my side was rather painful. There are also orders at this point to work on deep breathing and coughing. I could handle the deep breaths – coughing – no. The suggestion is to roll to your side, double up a pillow to compress against your belly and cough. I was really, really bad at that. It just hurt. This is all to keep your lungs clear and hopefully prevent pneumonia. I made it through that first night, but with very little sleep. It felt like every time I dosed off – the nurse or aide would come in. And because they were worried about my lack of urine output – I started worrying. How could Brutus be working and the one left (who remains nameless) not be performing up to par?

On Friday morning came visits from the surgical fellow and resident team, typically a whole slew of really young people would walk in my room. By the end of the stay, I found these visits to be quite a joke. They were pretty much my assessment prior to the surgeon making rounds. The assessment lasted all of 2 minutes how are you feeling, how is your pain. The first day they also looked at my incision sites. (this was the only time a physician did so while I was in the hospital!). I did have a lab draw on Friday to check my creatinine which was a bit high, but that was expected. About 2 hours later the surgeon rounded with same flock of fellow/residents. He spent even less time in the room – rather a cold experience. But I managed to get approval for cath removal and move to oral pain meds. The pain pump med was causing me to itch. I was fairly convinced I had bed bugs. I guess this is a normal side effect.

So Friday’s milestones were that my cath came out, I moved to oral vicodan and I started having goals of sitting in a chair and then going on walks. I was still wearing a pulse-ox and heart monitor, and had my iv liquids so walks were cumbersome, but it felt good to be up and about. Breakfast and lunch on Friday were broth, sprite and jello (yummy!); and I progressed to solid foods by that evening. My choice: toasted English muffin with peanut butter and hot chocoloate!

A quick update on the dogs – I have been having trouble reaching Michele from Denver Dog Works so wasn’t exactly panicking but getting kind of concerned. I spoke with her earlier today and it seems like her emails aren’t getting through to me. Both dogs have been on a hunger strike – they will only eat if Michele puts a dab of canned food on their dry food. Gabby is catching on to training, Brin is being Brin. One day he cooperates,the next day he is too good for the trainers. Michele is trying to get a picture to get up on Facebook, but is faced with 2 dogs constantly in action. November 8th – when I get to see them again, cannot come soon enough.

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3 thoughts on “Fully cognizant…

  1. great post. What an experience. I hope all is well. I have been thinking about both of you guys.

    The dogs are fine I am sure! Michele is hard to reach sometimes. The best way is text message!!! do you have her phone number?

    Take care and both of you get well. I admire your courage and your strength.

    Robert Forto, PhD
    Dog Works Training Centers
    Team Ineka
    Iditarod bound 2013

  2. hi sarah- i had a note from michelle and she said they are all three just fine! looking forward to meeting you and the dogs when i am in town this weekend.
    christine from seattle

  3. Sounds like, all in all, things are pretty good! I’m sure the dogs are just fine — you should be used to picky eaters by now! I’m sure they’re going to be thrilled to see you in a week or so.

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