Monday, January 9, 2017

Musings - Day 5 Out

I am not known for my patience. Like most, I want to do what I want when I want to. Waiting, although made tolerable by knitting, isn't high on my list of favorite things. Sitting back and enjoying a journey, while sometimes amazing, isn't my usual preference.

That brings us to the current situation. My right kidney, as far as I know, is comfortably ensconced in its new home and working away as always. My good old left kidney is wrapped up in business as usual, cradled in its usual spot. The rest of my abdominal cavity is pretty much a wreck.  I don't want it to be a wreck. I want to be back to normal. That being said, every day my improvement is stellar.  For a few days before surgery, every time I got out of bed, propped myself up, or rolled over, I thought "I won't be doing this again for a long time."  But I am!  A little gingerly, but better every day.  I even slept on my side for awhile last night.  It had been too painful before to even turn over there but I could stay for awhile.  Success!

So my expectations vs my reality so far:  I spoke to a couple of other donors who pretty much said that the recovery wasn't that big of a deal...you'd be extra tired for awhile, no lifting, pain quite manageable.  On the other hand, the Transplant Nurse told me I'd feel like I'd been hit by a truck on the day after surgery.  So optimistic me decided I'd be great.  Up until yesterday the truck theory was closer but not exactly true.

I think the problem was that I had a lot of pains that I didn't expect and probably was told about but chose to forget.  My whole abdomen from groins to ribs felt like it had been pounded with something.  Sides hurt, hips hurt, neck hurt, shoulders hurt too.  Some of this was probably from whatever equipment they use to stabilize you on the operating table and it must be medieval torture equipment. Whatever it was left bruises and marks all over the place. Some of it was from the gas they use during the laparoscopic procedure to make space to see inside.  It doesn't all come out and it's very "uncomfortable."  Torturous.  The weird pain like someone was stabbing needles into my shoulders was apparently "referred pain from the diaphragm"...who knows what that means?  So in addition to not being able to move around very well I also couldn't take a deep breath because it felt like my chest was being compressed by something.

I have four incisions, three small and one about 3" or so.  Each is painful but not overly so.  My lower abdomen is numb which makes it weird when it feels itchy but you can't feel it when you try to scratch.  Hopefully the itchiness is the nerves waking up.  Then there's the swelling.  Intellectually I know that trauma induces swelling and the big giant belly I now have will eventually go back to the medium sized belly I had before but I'm not quite convinced of that.

Without going into too much detail, bowel function is returning, gas pain is lessening, and my daily moving around the house isn't much different than it was before.  Thanks to all of my great yoga teachers over the years, I know how to protect some areas of my body and use others, and right now my abs are taking a rest...arms and legs and glutes are doing their share.  I can't lift anything over 8 lbs for a couple of months and it's hard to remember that...until I come close to doing something wrong.  Those muscles protest!  Thanks to you, Riley, I have super strong abs and they'll take this rest in stride and be back no problem.

I guess in my convoluted way, I am trying to explain that you never can quite be prepared for something as major as this.  Everyone's experience is different and the doctors can't fully prepare you for how it will feel if they haven't been through it themselves.  I thank my healthy, strong body for getting me this far and trust that it will continue to do the same for many years to come.

Now I need to take a nap.




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