“TODAY” is the first day of the rest of my life. Well, OK, that applies to everyone every day, but for me TODAY is special because it represents the day that I made a big difference to someone else. I put “TODAY” in quotes because for reasons of privacy, I don’t want to specify exactly when the date of my kidney donation was – I don’t know who the recipient was and they don’t know who I am.
This blog will eventually record the whole process, to the best of my recollection, taking approximately one year from when I first decided to donate a kidney to someone who needed it more than I until the actual operation and then from then until the present. T will represent TODAY (the date of the actual transplant operation), so T-365 means one whole year before the operation. Continue reading
Today I had an ultrasound scan of the lump on my abdomen. The radiologist went away to talk to a doctor, saying that the doctor may want to come to have a look, but that didn’t happen, so I’m guessing that there wasn’t anything serious that needed immediate attention. I have an appointment with someone from the urology team next week, so I’ll find out then what the result was.
T+21: Three weeks now since the operation and today I have had a final, I hope, appointment with someone from the surgery team. He explained what the ultrasound had shown – a small bubble of fluid surrounded by some swelling. He said this should eventually be reabsorbed back into the body, but perhaps taking some months, and as long as it didn’t show any signs of infection it was nothing to worry about.
This is more or less the end of the story. There is a renal physician appointment to come at T+83, but that is still in the future.
So to summarise, it was a long process, taking longer than I had expected, but I have never for one moment regretted embarking on this journey. It’s not a journey for the faint-hearted or someone with an aversion to needles – I counted a total of around 30 blood tests, injections or cannulae during the whole process, although this did include my plasma donations while they were continuing.
Now that essentially the blog is complete, I have put up a PDF file (kidneydonor2014.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/diary-of-a-kidney-donor.pdf) of the complete contents of the blog from when I decided to offer my kidney for transplant until about 3 weeks after the transplant operation, a total duration of about 13 months.
I received a call from the radiology department to say they had arranged for me to have an ultrasound scan in 9 days’ time. I was surprised that it wasn’t sooner than that, but I figured that if the swelling was no longer there by that time, then there was nothing to worry about. In the afternoon I walked to the local supermarket, about 20 minutes return.
Most of my second day at home was spent lying on the bed in the sun reading a book. At this stage it was still quite slow to get off the bed, and even slower to get back on.
Before breakfast I had another set of blood tests taken, I’ve lost count of how many times this has happened in the past two days. Soon after breakfast one of the surgeons called in to check the swelling I had mentioned. She said it didn’t feel like a hernia but would get an ultrasound organised if it persisted for another week.
The sleeping tablet did give me a solid sleep until 5:30am, but I remember having very unusual dreams. I got out of bed at 6:00am to walk around the ward, my first venture out of my room. I walked around for 5-10 minutes then asked at the nurses’ station for a cup of tea.
I was visited by one of the renal transplant coordinators just as breakfast was served, but this turned out to be bad timing as I was having great trouble trying to sit up to eat. I was able to tilt the bed up but I just couldn’t get comfortable and was at that time experiencing the worst pain of my whole stay. It did subside after a few minutes so I was able to conduct a rational conversation.
… I woke up in the recovery room about 2:45pm. I remember feeling a little disappointed that I hadn’t been informed that I was about to go to sleep, certainly I don’t recall feeling drowsy or anything, it must have been very sudden. Continue reading