Thursday, January 26, 2017

Post-Op Visit

I was scheduled for my post-op visit with the transplant donor team last Thursday.  All my helpers had left by Monday night and I had asked my sister to come back Wednesday evening and stay over so she could drive me in early Thursday morning.  Well, we had horrible heavy rain Tuesday and Wednesday, so I told her I could make it on my own.

I made it fine; there wasn't any rain so the normal awful traffic wasn't made any worse.  The extra person for the carpool lane would have helped but the trip wasn't too bad.  Then the keystone cops  part of the visit started.  Normally, the clinic days at the transplant center work on schedule.  You go for labs, you go to your appointments.  They put you into a room and the doctor, nurse, coordinator, pharmacist, etc. comes to you.  It's kind of a round robin experience.

Something was mixed up last week, though, and I had to wait quite a long time and then my appointments were mixed up.  The funny thing was that Pat arrived early for his check up, hoping to see me, and they called him right in.  So we spent the next couple of hours going between rooms to check in with each other while staff was coming to get us and bringing us back.  It reminded me of one of those old cartoons where there's a long hallway with closed doors and people dart across in and out of the doors.  The lucky thing is that, although I'm not on any medication now, I still feel as if I'm surrounded by a bubble or a ball of cotton most of the time.  So I don't really get impatient.  I know; enjoy it while it lasts!

My labs were good.  One major test of kidney function is creatinine level.  This has been a major topic of conversation in our house since Pat's kidney function got really low a couple of years ago.  Normal creatinine level should be about 0.6-1.2 mg/dl and Pat's was close to 5.  I think when he started dialysis it was actually near 7.  Not good.

My kidneys, of course, were healthy, and the pre-surgery creatinine was about 0.68.  Right after surgery the level was 1.13, reflecting the loss of half of the filtering mechanism in my body.  Two weeks later the level was down to 0.89.  My remaining little kidney is already picking up the slack.  It will increase in size and function over time until it is handling 85-90% of the work that both kidneys did previously, which is plenty to keep me healthy.  Amazing stuff.  Public service announcement for today:  Drink Lots of Water!  It keeps your kidneys healthy.

The other interesting fact I learned that day was that my energy level, which has been low, might not be back to close to normal for 6 months.  That's a little longer than I had expected.  I can still do what I want, but one walk or outing a day is pretty much it.  For example, after my long day last week where I left at 6:45 am and got home about 2:00 pm, I wasn't able to get myself off the sofa for more than the time it took to make a dinner and eat it.  Then I went back and dozed until bed time.  Not how I'm used to feeling at all.  Both Pat and I have a lifting restriction of about 8 pounds for another 5 weeks or so, which is kind of hard to remember.  We went to Costco yesterday and just bought things that we could lift one at a time.  No cases of cans or bottles!

So everything is good.  Pat came home on Monday afternoon and he's doing well.  We just have to be very careful about exposure to possible infection, so it's mask, rubber gloves, hand washing, being careful about food contamination, etc.  I expect this will improve over time as his immune system comes back to a higher level.  A little change in lifestyle but so worth it!

My prize for donating my kidney:

And.....I did some spinning last night.  So nice to get back to my wheel!

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