Today is ten days post-surgery, which means I got to start peeling the glue off my incisions. :) Very exciting. It came off easily on three of my small incisions, but I left it on two of them and on the big one. I'd rather wait til my follow-up on Tuesday to make sure they are healed enough.
I tried to put on a pair of jeans yesterday. Hahaha. That was a dumb idea.
Regarding incision pain, I feel great. Wednesday through yesterday, I was only needing one dose of Tylenol per 24 hours, usually about 3pm. I haven't needed any today (it's 7pm). Coughing doesn't hurt anymore!
My low back is really bothering me, though. I'm not sure if it's from over-compensating for my weak abdominals, or from being more sedentary than usual. I have a chiropractor appointment and a 90 minute massage schedule for tomorrow, and I'm REALLY looking forward to that!!
While I feel great physically, I'm still so exhausted. I've been taking a 2-3 hour nap everyday, plus sleeping at least 8 hours at night. My husband goes back to work tomorrow, so we'll see how it goes without having a nap during the day. We have a sitter coming in the mornings this week to entertain the kids, so hopefully they'll play hard enough to have a quiet time every afternoon. We had a meal train set up for us, which has been so incredibly helpful. It's great to have a healthy, yummy meal every night without having to think about it. I'm sure it'll be
Sarah has posted her thoughts on Teddy's new kidney, and so far it seems like Lefty is doing a good job!
Did you read my post about my alarm not going off the day of transplant? Yeah, I almost slept through the transplant appointment.
Wednesday night, although you'd think I would be anxious and have a hard time sleeping (and I did tell my husband, "It feels like Christmas Eve, hard to go to sleep!"), I pretty much fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. The hotel room had no clock in it, which I found odd. I thought about requesting a wake up call, but decided to just set my phone alarm instead, which I often do. I set it for 4:45, so we could be at the hospital (just a few blocks away) by 5:30. We had everything but the phone chargers and toothbrushes packed up before we went to bed.
I next woke up out of surgery, feeling really good but needing to pee. I kept pushing my call button, waiting for the nurse to come so I could get up to go to the bathroom. I felt great for just coming out of surgery, but geez the nurse was being slow! Finally, I reaching for the button again and I REALLY woke up.
The room was really dark, so I had no idea what time it was. I grabbed my phone and looked at it, and it said 5:28am. 5:28!!!!! I smacked my husband, yelled, "We gotta go! We gotta go! It's 5:30!" and a lot of swear words.
All that was running through my head was, "They're going to think I changed my mind! They're going to cancel the transplant!"
I grabbed my hospital papers and called the after-hours number, nearly crying, and explained to the operator that I was going to be late but I was on my way! She transferred me up to the Day of Surgery Admissions desk, where I explained again that I WAS coming, I would just be late. They thanked me for letting them know and said they'd see me soon.
We grabbed all our stuff (I did get to go pee, but did not brush my teeth...) and ran downstairs to the front desk. We were paying cash for our room, and we weren't sure if my husband would be staying another night or if he'd get a spot in the hospital's discounted on-site 'hotel', but I didn't want to go through all the explanation so I just told them I needed to pay for another night.
Of course the manager was super slow. Or at least seemed that way in the moment. "Since you're paying cash, tell ya what, I'll give you a better deal for tonight." Which was great, but then took a lifetime for him to change the rate in the computer.
And then I paid him. And he had to count back the change to me, each coin, each bill, one by one, as slow as possible. I'm about to yell at him to just hurry the f*ck up, but I stay patient.
I run out to the car where my husband is waiting, and we take off for the hospital. The wrong way. Luckily my husband catches it quickly (I told him the wrong direction), and we get turned around. All I'm thinking is "What kind of asshole sleeps in on transplant day?!" and how everyone is going to be waiting for me and I'm going to make everything delayed and it's all horrible...
We get to the hospital, and it's only 5:50. We rush up to admissions and I say apologetically, "It's me, I called in, we're here, sorry!" The lady looks me up in the computer, gives me a pager, and tells me to have a seat in the waiting room.
So then we waited. And I started feeling better because if if they were all waiting on me and if I ruined everything I wouldn't be in the waiting room.
I was sure my blood pressure would be high when they took me back, but it was "perfect" according to the nurse.
Between 5:50 when we got to the hospital and 7:15 when they took me to the OR, we spent more time waiting than we did being seen. So I may have overreacted a bit. But I still felt like an asshole.
I still haven't figured out why the alarm didn't go off, because it was still set. (And I did NOT hit snooze.)
Moral of the story: Request a wake up call. And set five alarms.
So, I think the gym yesterday, staying up too late last night (even though I had a nap yesterday afternoon), and teaching a class this morning (which consisted of sitting and talking) was too much. I was EXHAUSTED by 11am. Had a good nap after lunch and feeling much better now, though.
I woke up this morning and decided I NEEDED to go to the gym today. I have been doing a little yoga in the mornings to stretch, but I needed more and I wanted to get out of the house.
So I went this morning and did a dynamic stretching/recovery workout, modified to meet my needs.
It felt so good physically, but especially mentally and emotionally. I had expected it to be more difficult. I only did three of the four rounds, because I was slow and my parking meter was expired (they are quick with the tickets!), but it was a good three rounds. Nothing was painful, or even uncomfortable.
I am eager to get some specific instructions from my surgeon next week so I can plan my 'real' return to the gym.
The rest of today, however, will be spent napping and watching 30 Rock.
One week after surgery, and I can't decide if it feels like a lot longer, or if it feels like it was just yesterday. When I think about my husband going back to work next week, it feels like it's flown by, but when I think about first getting out of the hospital bed, it feels like forever ago.
Monday I saw my chiropractor, who said I seem to be doing really well and the incisions were healing up already. I felt good enough to go to a women's group that evening (just sitting and chatting), but had my husband drive me because I wasn't quite up for that yet. It downpoured on us on the way home, so I'm glad he drove.
Tuesday I went for a nice long walk, which was actually probably too far, as my belly above my large incision got fairly swollen after that. After napping I drove to my friend's house to visit her and meet her new baby. Bumps on the road were still uncomfortable, but it wasn't painful.
Wednesday I woke up with a pretty sore back. I have a 90-minute massage scheduled for Monday but decided I couldn't wait, so I called around and got in last minute for a 30-minute massage Wednesday afternoon. It was so great! I wasn't sure if I'd be able to lay on my stomach comfortably, but it was no problem. It was nice to get some of the tension worked out of my muscles.
I think most of the swelling/bloating in my belly has gone away, except for just above my large incision. When I first looked at my incisions in the hospital, I was a little freaked out, because I couldn't even see the lower one; I had a large 'bulge' right above it that hid it. I haven't had a flat stomach in years, but it was much bigger than my usual 'baby pooch'. For some reason I was afraid that the placement of the incision would make that bulge permanent.
But that bulge has gotten smaller and smaller, and this morning was just about gone, until I was up and walking around, when it swelled up a bit again. So it gives me hope - I might not ever have a flat belly again, but I'm not stuck with this weird bulge!
One side effect of the surgery that they mention is nerve damage, and losing feeling in parts of your legs. On Monday I noticed this on my left inner thigh. It's not numb, and when I'm not touching it I don't notice anything, but if I rub the skin it feels...irritated? Almost like when you have a sunburn and you lightly run your hand over it. Hopefully it'll go away with time, but the effect is permanent for some people. I'll talk to my doc about it next week when I go in for my follow-up.
My husband goes back to work next week. He's been a huge help, even when I nag him. Doing dishes, laundry (I have been folding and putting it away), taking care of the kids 24/7. Monday was a rough day with the kids, especially our 4-year-old, as they are just used to me being 'in charge' during the day. He kept coming to me to ask for help or a snack or to take him outside to ride bikes, and he got upset when I needed a nap. "I don't WANT you to nap every day!!"
But it has gotten better, and I try to do as much as I can for them, to make them feel better and to help my husband out.
We have a high school girl coming every morning next week to take the kids to the park, ride bikes with, etc. so that I can either nap or go to some appointments without the kids. I think it'll be helpful for the transition back to me as the main caregiver.
Tuesday I go back to the hospital for blood work, a follow-up with the surgeon, and a follow-up with the transplant psychologist. I have heard several different things about my lifting restriction, so I'll be sure to get the final answer then.
I feel great. Seriously, really, really great. Well, considering that I'm only five days post surgery. This is about where I expected/hoped to be at two weeks out. My belly is still swollen/bloated, but that is clearly decreasing. I'm a bit sore, but not needing as much Tylenol. I can get up from the couch/out of bed with little problem. I can touch my toes!
Last night I slept 6 hours straight, without needing to adjust my position or pillows. The boys were even able to snuggle with me in bed this morning.
So this is when I have to be extra careful - I'm obviously not healed, my incisions aren't even healed yet, so while I feel good I have to make myself take it easy. If I over-do it I risk an extended recovery time, or developing a hernia.
So I'm taking time to catch up on my Netflix queue and reading books and magazines. By the way, the movie Super is weird and not what I expected.
I slept really well last night, I was worried about being comfortable without the hospital bed that can raise up just how I need it. But with pillows in the right spot, I was able to lay comfortably on my back and on both sides. I'm sleeping in our kids' bed, because it's a little lower, and the boys are sleeping in our bed with my husband. They usually come to our bed at some point in the night anyway, and I know right now I can't handle sleeping next to them.
I'm finding it hard already to not do anything around the house. I feel good being up and around, and it's good for me, but I can't do much. Bending over is difficult and I can't lift anything, so I feel like I'm already bugging my husband to do so much, but he's being really helpful. My appetite isn't very big, so I'm eating pretty small meals, but I'm sure that'll improve soon. I walked up our street three times today, and the walk this evening was quite a bit harder than the first two so I've been lying/sitting on the couch the rest of the evening. My husband took the kids to run some errands this afternoon, so while it was quiet I got a good nap in.
The boys are still doing a good job of not touching my belly, but at one point today my three year old hurt himself, and came running up to me bawling. It was really hard to not pick him up, and instead I had to tell him to go find daddy.
Coughing has definitely been the hardest part. Every once in awhile I get that annoying tickle in my throat, that can probably be fixed with one or two big coughs, but I'm scared to do that. So I press a pillow to my stomach and cough as little as possible, drink water, and suck on cough drops. I haven't needed to sneeze yet, but that might make me cry at this point.
I see my chiropractor tomorrow, and as soon as I'm up for it I'm going to schedule a massage, so at least the soreness and tension from being on my side for the six-hour surgery will go away.
Some photos I've already posted, but I'm putting them up again so the kidney photos don't show up on people's newsfeeds! :)
Here I am a few hours after surgery on Thursday.
In my own clothes, walking laps Friday morning. Aren't the Ted hose a great fashion statement?
A friend brought me a care package and some yummy gluten-free cupcakes Friday afternoon! It was delicious, but I could only eat half of it.
And now for the graphic photos, just a warning!
Above is Teddy's new kidney in his body. Below are his old kidneys, which were removed. Notice the difference!! And the ruler is the same on in each picture. Wow, huh?! The surgeon said that Lefty was a little smaller than the average adult kidney, and thinner, so while it was still a tight squeeze, it worked out well for Teddy's body.
My lap incisions, about 48 hours post-op. I have five little incisions on my belly (that were for the laparoscopic tools) , and one several inches across, below my underwear line (which is where they pulled the kidney out). My belly is swollen and bloated. And our bathroom mirror really needs to be cleaned! :)
Docs did rounds this morning and said I was good to go home! We left the hospital right about noon, and made the two hour drive home. It didn't seem too bad at the time, although I was really glad I had a small pillow to press against my stomach because hitting bumps hurt! We only needed to stop once, for a bathroom break and to walk around a bit.
I had a really good experience at the hospital. The surgeons, fellows, and residents were all great and answered all of my questions. My nurses were really nice and helpful and encouraging.
A few things I brought to the hospital that got a lot of use: face wipes - it felt really good to at least have a clean face before I was able to get up and get showered. My own clothes. I stayed in the gown until Friday morning, but I was much more comfortable in my own clothes. I wore sweats that are a little big on me, with a stretchy waistband, so it didn't bother my incisions at all. Comfy underwear, sports bra, and tshirt. And flip flops!
And the pillow for the car - also for when I needed to cough, because that is painful! When I got home I quickly learned that I needed a pillow when I laugh as well.
It was great to be home and see my kids, we had been talking before surgery how my tummy would hurt and they have to be very careful, so when I came in the house they gave me very gentle squeezes - but attacked my husband of course. I think this no-climbing-on-mama thing is going to be hard on them, but we spend time snuggling on the couch tonight so hopefully that'll help.
The car ride took quite a bit out of me, so I took a three hour nap after we got home. Woke up pretty sore because I was 'behind' on my tylenol, but after getting up and moving around a bit it was better. We spent time snuggling on the couch, my sister brought us dinner, then my kids, my husband, and I went for a short walk up the street and back.
I know I have a long way to go for full recovery, but I feel like I'm doing really good so far. I am positive it has a lot to do with going to the gym and being in shape; if I had done this before I started working out last year I'm sure I'd be having a much harder time. So if you are considering donating an organ, get started on improving your fitness now!
Teddy's new kidney started working right away, and I hope it continues to work great. You can keep up with him on his mom's blog.
It still hasn't quite set in yet that I just gave a kidney, I'm wondering if it'll ever feel 'real'.
This is really a post for potential donors, as my family and friends don't really need to know about my natural body functions. :)
I was given one stool softener yesterday, because narcotics can really slow things down. Last night I started passing gas, which really helped my tummy feel better. I refused the rest of the softeners they provided since I got off the narcotics, and also refused the heparin shot (I did get one yesterday morning) and Prilosec today. Had my first bowel movement a little bit ago and I feel much less bloated. Just waiting on the doc to do rounds they I will be discharged!
|A Kidney Donor's Journey||