One Month Post-Transplant and Life after
Hello everyone, bare with me for this blog post. It’s a little longer than usual. I’ll talk about the surgery, our recovery, and where we are now.
Days leading up to the surgery, nerves were high and so was the excitement. Louise was a little nervous being this was her first major surgery, but I have had several surgeries and I knew what to expect. We were on a liquid diet the night before surgery, which consisted of jello and soup, and only water after midnight.
The day of, we woke up at 4AM to get ready and be in San Francisco by 5:30AM. We get to UCSF and check in, almost immediately we are whisked off to pre-surgery. They give us the standard pre-surgery talk and prep us, with a team of several anesthesiologists coming by to talk to us and answer any questions we had. Our surgeons also came by to see if we had any additional questions.
Louise is taken away first because they need to remove her kidney, then I am wheeled in to receive it. So I waited in pre-op for almost an hour after Louise was wheeled to the operating room and they come get me. The anesthesiologist told me he would give me a little something to relax. I saw them wheel me out on the way to the operating room, then I knocked out. I woke up groggy, with an intense feeling to use the restroom. I thought they hadn’t started the surgery yet so I asked the nurse if I could use the bathroom before they did. But the nurse told me they were done and the kidney was working. I was in the PACU (Post-Anesthesia Care Unit) with a catheter in, which I did not even know. I was peeing liters of urine, meaning the kidney was definitely working.
Louise and I spent a few days each at 9 Long, which is the floor kidney,liver, pancreas transplant patients recover at UCSF. The medical staff wanted us up and walking around to help us recover faster, get our blood moving to avoid blood cots. Just a few hours after I was up, I was walking a few laps on our floor. They want you to walk 12 laps before you leave, which is about 1 mile. Louise was discharged after 2 days, I stayed for about 3 days. During my time there, I talked to the doctors who reassured me the kidney is working fine. During this time, I also decided to join a drug study (clinical research) that would last for several months.
Recovering at home has been good, but tough. The first few days, I was peeing a lot. Almost every hour on the hour. We both had pain that would come and go. Mine went away after the second week. We are going on 4 weeks post surgery. We attempted to walk around the Great Mall in Milpitas a few days after we got home. It took us about 3 hours to walk the entire mall because we had to stop to rest every few feet. We didn’t do much shopping because we were in pain from the walk. Our daughter did most of the shopping with her grandma ;-)
Recovering has been pretty good for me, except having to get used to the blood tests twice a week, weekly appointments and my new medications those first two weeks. It took a while to get used to my all my medications and when to take my new insulin. I now have to take insulin after every meal and check my blood sugar 4 times a day. Right now, I go to UCSF once a week for clinic meetings to check on how I’m doing, go over my lab results and adjust my medications based on the results if needed.
It is tough, but this is my new life I would rather go through than continue to be on peritoneal dialysis. I need to watch my blood sugar very closely to protect Louise’s kidney. This is so tough because some of my medication affects raising my blood sugar. I know it still early and eventually there will be a happy medium where it will all balance out. My meetings will go from every week to once a month, to once every 6 months. Some of my medications will taper down, but I do have some I will be taking for the rest of my life. I am ready to take care of this gift that my loving wife gave me.