And I must say, that while my torso does not yet look like the 6 weeks post-surgery pic that Lisa posted, they did a nice job. The incisions for the laproscopic assist sites are only an inch in length and the odd one on my tummy is no more than 3 inches and actually very minimal. Still working on the adhesive goop, but a new bottle of rubbing alcohol should help progress there.
I’m not sure that I ever finished my thoughts about other things people should think about when considering donation – most specifically what to expect post-surgery. I did post about how I feel it’s rather subjective and based on one’s own pain tolerance, but it might be worth mentioning a few more things. As a reminder, this was my first experience with surgery and first real experience in the hospital. So, my expectations were pretty low and pretty much more about “what ifs…..”
I had the benefit of speaking to a couple folks who had undergone kidney donation prior to our surgery date. One, a man – really had very little to share. He had donated to his daughter and she had a much rougher time. He felt he sailed through and was back to regular activity within 2 weeks. Longer term (it’s been about 1 1/2 years), he’s doing really well. The other was a woman who donated about 3 years ago to a non-related recipient. It was from her that I learned about referred pain. I guess due to the gas they use to pump up the donor’s insides to visually assist the surgery, sometimes it “refers” up through the diaphram and to the shoulders. This also sometimes happens with c-sections. Anyway, she indicated her shoulder pain persisted for a while after surgery was much worse than other pain caused by the surgery. Again, I feel blessed – I had one night where I was trying to sleep on my side to relieve my back and felt pain in my shoulder – I rolled back over and it was gone.
I’m not sure that other than when I was trying to go from horizonal to vertical, or sitting to standing if I can claim I ever experienced much pain. It was more discomfort. Even the gas pain in my tummy – I’ve had worse after eating something that didn’t agree with me. I continue to have some soreness around the incisions – especially on days when I’ve probably done too much and when one of the cats stands on my stomach – but otherwise I can’t describe it as painful.
The other thing that surprised me was after they took the catheter out, I never expected to be pumped up (via IV) with so much fluid -all to get my kidney in gear – but that was probably my other non-happy period. Due to the IV fluids, and pushing water drinking – I was up at least once an hour – with my not-so-painful, but certainly uncofortable tummy and some dizziness – that was really annoying. At that point, I was still hooked to the IV, so had to navigate taking my iv stand, my heart monitor, and my stupid finger monitor with me. I soon had figured out how to stretch the power cord of the IV as far as I could, and would pop off my finger monitor in order to just use the toilet! I was also periodically scolded for forgetting to put the finger monitor back on when I got back in bed……”you know we can’t monitor your heart if you don’t keep that on….” I was really, really happy on Saturday when I got the IV turned off and the heart monitor off – but I HAD TO REQUEST IT! (See Lisa’s blog yesterday, God forbid someone do something anticipitory in the hospital…)
Prior to and since surgery, the surgical team kept reinforcing they wanted me back to normal activity and eating as soon as possible. I’m also trying to balance not being particularly well versed in this thing called sitting still. But, every day – I continue to try – or at least think about trying! Tomorrow (Sunday), I’m heading to Denver to get the dogs. I can’t wait. I’ve had Brin since he was 6 weeks old and we’ve not been apart this long. I anticipate he’s going to be mad at me. Gabby – she’s not particularly choosy on her humans – if someone will pet her and give her a treat – she’d go with anyone. But either way – I can’t wait to see them. I’m sure the cats miss them too! (ha) My walking buddie and I will return home on Tuesday.