Kidney Donor! (Post op Journal Entries)

It’s been a while, can’t imagine why. Prepping for kidney donation surgery, then going through it has been just a tad time consuming. To make up for my lack of social media posts, I decided to double up and share two days of post-op journal updates. For those of you who follow me on Facebook, the first part of this will be old news. Keep reading and I will have everyone caught up!

Update from Monday, March 4: today is post op day 4. Surgery went well, with Old Lefty (Nathan’s new kidney) pumping away like a Champ.

Nathan’s creatinine is down to 1.5 from 6! He’s had a rough recovery, with lots of incisional pain and the team having trouble finding the right combo to cut the pain and not his breathing when asleep. The first post op day, however, even with pain, he was amazed to find his vision clearer and his mind much less “foggy.” Day two for me was the roughest—whatever magical potion they got into me during surgery wore off. Still, it wasn’t as bad as expected. My laparoscopic “stab wounds” have been pain free. The bikini cut (yay! I birthed a kidney!) would randomly and suddenly begin burning like someone held a hot knife to one side of the incision. That would wear off and leave me feeling like I’d been in a bar fight.

Wait. I’ve never been in a bar fight. Maybe they feel worse. Ha. Not going to do a comparison study. On the second night, I took my first dose of oxy, and slept much better. My remaining kidney, now affectionately referred to as “The Lone Ranger,”

is defending her territory admirably. (Note: my personal Lone Ranger is much more feminine than the picture above. Just saying…) My creatinine remains in normal range. I know that might change for a while, but at present all is clearing well. Home post op day 2, with an oxy on board for the 2 1/2 hr drive (stopped for potty break and stretch mid way) and wasn’t bad at all. Yesterday (p.o. Day 3) I lazed about in a recliner, getting up to walk every couple hours. No appetite. That’s ok. Losing weight would be a welcome side affect. Only Tylenol yesterday and worked beautifully. Last night I could turn in bed without pain and am feeling much more like myself this morning. Enough so that Doug felt the need to admonish me on his way out the door (after repeating himself several times before) “Now, don’t overdo it.” And for the first time since surgery, I realize that could be a temptation. But I’ll be a good girl and behave myself. 

Praising God! Nathan comes home today and my mom is cooking for everyone. What more can I ask for?

(Fast forward to Friday, March 8)

So, today is a week and a day since surgery, and I am feeling great! Of course, ‘great’ is a relative term. Great compared to yesterday. And the day before.

Up through yesterday, each day I had less pain, but felt very “blah.” Yes, for those purists out there, “blah” is a medical condition. 

I would crawl tentatively out of bed, stretch to straight with great caution, and make my way through my necessary morning routine of shower, teeth, and (do I have to?) getting out of my PJ’s and into daywear. There is something humanizing about the donning of real clothes, a weird psychological twist that makes me feel less sick.

Then I would creep down the stairs, make a cup of coffee (because no one else quite knows how much creamer to add) and gently lower myself into the big blue recliner my husband dragged into the fireplace room for me. It is old, a bit a battered, and doesn’t match anything in the house, but it is oh, so comfortable. This also happens to be the same recliner that I sat in for all those long nights when the kiddos were sick and needed to be held through the night. It only makes sense that it now supports my own recuperating body. 

My dear mom has been braving the cold each morning,

What the weather feels like to my Puerto Rican mother.

insisting that I can do nothing for myself and pretty much spoiling me rotten. If it weren’t for fear that my backside would take the permanent shape of the recliner, I’d be tempted to milk this for as long as I could. 

Not really. I like my normal life. Plus, I don’t want to wear my mom out. So, I get up and walk around the main floor a few times every little bit, and try to sneak in a few independent activities. 

Nathan is also recuperating bit by bit. His surgery was so much more extensive than mine. They told him the incision would take the shape of a hockey stick, going down the abdomen then arching off across the base of his torso. When I first saw the incision, I thought, “Good grief! They used the hockey stick as a template!” 

Apparently it’s more complicated to put stuff into a place it was never intended to be, than it is to snip stuff off. Not to minimize the snipping—I’m thankful for the skills used for snipping in just the right place.

Can you imagine trying to explain all of this to people of long ago? “Oh, sure! Somedays organs will be transferable…” My imagination bubble deflated at the thought that they might not be so impressed, having little understanding of the organs, their purpose and how they functioned, much less this little concept of antibodies that try to go in a get rid of foreign bodies. God is such an amazing designer, and I am grateful for the discoveries He’s allowed us to make. What will the future bring? (*goosebumps of excitement*) 

Nathan is also trying to get used to a slew of meds that mess with his sleep and with his head. He is remaining optimistic, as am I. Keep him in your prayers as the doctors work on adjusting dosages to find the lowest safe dose for his body.

Last evening Elijah and his wife Erin drove in from Virginia. 

Happy me.

So, while it still aches to stretch to proper posture, today has been virtually pain free, and I have a spark of energy that rebels at sitting in the recliner so much of the day. I know to expect ups and downs in the energy vs pain and blahs, but I will take today for the encouragement of what is coming down the road.

Oh, don’t worry. I’m behaving myself.

I want to mention here that it has been amazing to see the outpouring of love for my family and me over the past few weeks. The emails, texts and amazing dinners has been greatly appreciated and encouraging. I know many have been praying for me, thank you from that deep place in my soul, otherwise referred to as ‘the bottom of my heart.’ 

Keep praying for Nathan and me (and those so diligently caring for us!). 

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