Archive for June, 2011

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Post Op

June 27, 2011

I’m still in recovery mode now.  Currently, Philip and I are in our separate beds in the hotel trying to find something interesting on tv.  There’s still some pain and some nausea, but at this moment, I’m feeling pretty good.  Last night was rough.  I woke up in the middle of the night feeling pretty awful, and I guess getting out of bed was a little too much for me.  God bless Philip for being such an amazing caretaker.  All it takes from me is a pathetic “Hey…baby?” and he’s out of bed in a flash asking me what I need and grabbing a trashcan and a cold washcloth for my face.  I’m not really sure what I’d do without him, but I’m glad I don’t have to know.

I got to meet my recipient which was a pretty amazing experience.  She had a lot of visitors which was slightly overwhelming to Philip and I who have only been with each other in this whole process.  I came and they immediately gave me some gifts and some cards.  It was wonderful.  I still don’t feel deserving, but I definitely appreciate all the kindness coming my way.

Hopefully she’ll be released today and continue to feel better and my kidney will be as good to her as its been to me for the last 25 years!

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Surgery.

June 25, 2011

The day before my surgery, I was scheduled to work.  We had our annual, MANDATORY training day.  I got up at 6 to shower and get ready, give the house one more look over to make sure I’d packed all I would need, feed the cats, rearrange things, etc.  Philip drove me to work and went straight to the airport because we were having some issues with our tickets.  Needless to say, we did ultimately get our tickets, but I was so worried that I hardly slept the night before.  I also woke up feeling like I might get sick in the middle of the night.  So, very little sleep was had the night before.  Philip picked me up after work and we went to the airport.  We got in at our hotel around 12:30 that night and had to be at the hospital at 5:30 the next morning.

We checked in and after a short wait, we headed up to my surgery prep room and Philip waited in the family waiting room.  I got my gown on, had my vitals taken, and had the most PAINFUL IV placed.  Before I knew it, I was meeting all kinds of nurses and doctors and thankfully Philip was allowed in the room with me.  Finally, they took me down to surgery.  All I remember is lying on the OR table and telling the nurse that it didn’t look like Grey’s Anatomy.  Next thing I remember is someone waking me up.  My eyes were swollen from all the fluids and I was really nauseous.  Thankfully I eventually got to the point where I could be in my room with Philip.  I slept A LOT.

The first night was frustrating.  We had nurses telling us conflicting things and we both just wanted to go to bed.  One minute we had to stay awake because they wanted me to try moving, the next minute,  I had to drink a glass of Sprite, then take something…It was just a problem with lack of communication between staff members and also from the staff to Philip and me.  But, ultimately, we did get off to sleep.

In the middle of the night, my IV beeped because it was empty, so I’m paging the nurse and I look over and my sweet fiance is staring at his phone saying “I’m so sorry, baby, I’m so sorry!”  I finally say “What are you doing?”  To which he replies “I can’t figure out how to turn my alarm off!”  Yes, he was in desperate need of sleep as well.

The day after my surgery was rough.  The doctors told me it would be the worst, but they had me wake up and walk around and finally made it possible for me to use the restroom.  Yesterday was when I learned that my sister had outed me on Twitter as the donor for one of her friends.

The basic gist of the story is:  My sister follows the blog of another 3 day walker.  This blogger wrote a post about a friend who needed a kidney.  Both my sister and I had the right blood type, so we got tested.  I was found to be a match before my sister, and the rest is history.  On the morning of my surgery, Philip was holding my bag which happens to be a 3day bag.  The aforementioned blogger noticed it and put two and two together.  Before I knew it, people in the 3 day community were reading my blog.  I even had a Twitter hashtag.  I’m not really a twitter user, but basically, people were thanking me for donating.

Tears filled my eyes as I read the words of all of these people who knew my recipient and were thanking me.  Somehow in the insanity of travel and tests and everything leading up to this surgery, I forgot a little bit about my recipient (told ya I was selfish!).  And because I don’t know much about her, it all hit me at once.  I still don’t feel like I’ve done anything above and beyond what God’s asked for me to do, but I am thankful that I took this opportunity that God presented me with and made all these people who know my recipient so happy.

While there’s some pain and frustration, I am feeling infinitely better today and more as the time goes on.  No regrets.

PS:  All this kidney talk makes me think of… “Mr. Tribianni, it looks like you have kidney stones.”  “What else could it be?”  “Kidney stones.”  “Or…?”  “Kidney stooooones!”

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Pre Op

June 22, 2011

Last Tuesday I was in Nashville for all of my pre-op labs and appointments.  Despite the fact that the day I left for Nashville was the day from hell, my hospital experience was a fairly good one.  I was so terrified about being late that I showed up an hour early.  Before the clinic was open.  So I waited.  I had my blood pressure taken twice, an EKG, about 5 million vials of blood taken, a urine sample taken, and a lot of listening to my chest.  My surgeon even showed me exactly where each of the incisions would be.  I’m not going to lie, I’m a little excited about my new scar around my belly button where they’ll be taking the kidney out.

Today eased my mind a lot.  People kept telling me I was healthy and in good shape, which makes me think the surgery should go smoothly (I’m not superstitious, so I have no trouble saying things like this.)  I will say that I am very happy that my fiance will be with me for the surgery.  I’m a strong, independent woman, but sometimes it’s not as much fun being alone.  Especially when your surgeon is giving you the obligatory speech about all the things that could go wrong.

One thing that entertained me was when the surgeon said before any surgeon he needs to go over the benefits and risks with the patients.  Direct quote:  “So, let’s be clear on your benefits.  There are none.”

Granted, a lot of people think I’m crazy for donating my kidney to a stranger.  But I think the surgeon was a little harsh in saying there are no benefits.  Frankly, in my opinion, giving a stranger my kidney might inspire someone else (possibly a reader of my blog?) to do the same.  Then their story might inspire someone else.  And so forth and so on.  Ultimately, if this continued, wouldn’t we all benefit because someone’s life is being saved?  I don’t know the statistics on kidney failure, but I assume most people have at least interacted with someone who has had kidney failure or connected to someone who needed a kidney.

I’m a really selfish person in most aspects of my life.  I’m 25, unmarried without children, and until I move in with my fiance in the fall, I will have lived alone for 3 years.  I’ve become very accustomed to things being done my way.  I like my downtime.  I like spending my money the way I want to.  I like eating junk instead of cooking a meal for myself.  I like having cats because I can leave them alone for days and not worry about them.  But this surgery is an opportunity for me to stop thinking entirely about myself.  I won’t lie, I am stressed out about how quickly it will take me to get back to work, how much money I will miss out on, not being able to train for the 3day or run when I want to.  I also think about how nice it will be to relax for a couple weeks while I’m recovering.  This is definitely NOT a totally selfless act.  But I’m glad that I could test my character in this way.  I’m glad God could present this opportunity to me and I could actually ignore how it would affect my life and focus on who it would help.

It’s not some great act of generosity.  I feel like a fraud when people say I’m “giving the gift of life” or how selfless I am.  It’s just right.  It’s just what we’re supposed to do for each other.  No more, no less.

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Big News!

June 11, 2011

First of all, I would like to apologize to anyone who might read this blog and doesn’t know me, because you probably don’t care much about my personal life.  But I’ve got a pretty strong feeling that of the maybe 4 readers I have, there’s a small percentage of you who don’t know me, so just skip this part.

Secondly, I’m engaged!  On Sunday, I went out to dinner with a wonderful friend of mine, and we came back to my place to hang out play with my cats.  She says “I have a cd for you to listen to, let me get it out of my car.”  She comes back in, and we put it in, and because I was completely in denial, I didn’t realize it was my boyfriend singing a song he had written for me (after all, he lives in OK, how could my friend possibly have gotten a cd from him?)  The very last line of the song was “Will you marry me?” and instead of recording that on to the cd, he came through my front door and sang it in person with ring in hand.  Yes, feel free to make gagging noises.

Being newly engaged has been a wonderful distraction from the fact that I am donating my kidney in a week and a half.  I just bought our plane tickets for the week of the surgery and that was hard.  I am excited about this experience and I really feel as though I am doing the right thing, but it’s getting closer and I’m getting nervous.  Plus, my ring is getting resized so I don’t even have that to distract me from my nervousness :-p

Tuesday is my pre-op appointment so I am confident that will answer some questions and also leave me with some new ones.  And you will all get to be a part of that.  (All 4 of you.)

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“If I had another one to give…”

June 3, 2011

The hospital where I’m having my kidney surgery has this awesome thing where the match future donors with past donors in case you have any questions and want to ask someone who’s actually been through the process.  My person called me last week and although I did have some questions, I couldn’t get up the courage to call her back until yesterday.

Thank goodness it went well!  The woman I spoke with had 20+ years on me and had donated to her husband a few months ago.  My main questions were about recovery time, because, as selfish as it sounds, I can’t be out of work for too long.  I simply can’t afford it.  My plan was to return to work in 2 weeks time, even though the official hospital record says recovery could take up to 6 weeks.  I had decided that because I’m young and healthy and active, it won’t take me that long.  This woman eased my mind.  While she was out of work for a month, she said she could’ve gone back earlier (Her husband was also in recovery mode, so some time was spent with him.).  Some of the best quotes from her were “You won’t believe how quickly you’ll start feeling back to normal” and “If I had another one to donate, I would do it, it was that easy of a surgery.”

My surgery is 3 weeks from today and I’m starting to get nervous.  I don’t have any concerns that I can spell out right now, but I just feel on edge about the whole thing.  But that conversation yesterday helped.

On a totally different note, my sister and brother-in-law officially announced that they’re pregnant!  If you care at all about it, you can read the whole story on their blog…