Transplant Recipient: My first four days of freedom

 I got a taste of freedom, it tasted like a lot of morphine, viles of fentanyl and a whole lot of energy.

Guess it is my turn to tell you a little about my amazingly short four days in hospital walking in with two peanut shaped dead kidneys and walking away with three kidneys. 

I won’t lie, Leah writes better than me and has a far better recollection of what happened. I’ve been hiding from writing because I’m still in disbelief any of this really happened.

My name is Denny, and on the 24th July 2017 two people changed my life.

The First Four Days Post Surgery:


Day One: 25th July 2017

After the mess of the previous night struggling without any proper pain relief, the sun finally made its way through the blinds and I was up awaiting its arrival. Surprisingly, I was actually awake and moving a lot earlier than anyone would have expected. As well as replacing the pain pump that I was attached to they also replaced my nurse so I myself am no stranger to angels existing in the hospital- my new nurse dramatically changed what was looking to be the hardest morning of my life.

The first-day post-transplant is very crucial, almost as critical as the first few hours except you are awake and able to experience what is happening purely because during the surgery they load you u with over 1000mg of steroids to kick the kidney into action but slow your body’s typical immune fighting system. So there I was, wired like never before and anxious about what is to come. From the minute they connect the transplanted kidney to your very unused bladder, the stage is set and the audience awaits.. whats the big performance you ask, of course, its the creation of urine a.k.a everyone was waiting for me to pee. I remember one day telling my mum how other families don’t talk so much about peeing quite the way that our family does. Other people don’t cry in excitement every time I produce the yellow liquid- but if you haven’t peed properly in years normally this is something to be shared and celebrated. So where was I… yes they connected the new kidney to my little bladder and continuously ran fluid into my blood and not long later I had produced 8 litres of urine. That’s 8 liters of sheer poisons in my blood that this kidney cleaned out right away, miracle!

 I’m sure more happened this day, but the real event was the pee, go on cry in excitement – we all did.

Day Two: 26th July 2017

It was this day that things really started to kick in. Now there is something you should know about me, I am a sucker for this one drug so much so that they have actually put a red flag notice in my file that alludes to my fentanyl preferences. I am not encouraging any form of drug use it’s just important that you understand how often chronic illness patients become dependent on drugs and through no fault of our own become so used to living on them. Sometimes we do not know who we truly are because the drugs take us from day to day. My own family often joke “I wonder what type of person you are without being on something”. It’s not a good thing, its tough because every drug comes with a range of side effects that often leave you awake trembling at night, losing every sense of yourself, yet their exact purpose is to make us function as normal as possible. They also leave you in a state of confusion, being unable to control how you feel and react. The advantage of this, however, is that this loss of control leaves your body in a surreal state that allows you to do things like rehabilitating yourself post surgery! Ha!

The relevance of this is that because of the drugs I cannot remember what happened on day two, I know they encouraged me to get out of bed and to use my pain pump (drugs) as often as possible

My mum was at the time very ill and so was my sister, brother in law and niece. My brother was not in the country and so everything fell on my father to juggle the responsibilities of home care and hosp care of his family. I have to applaud my dad for braving out this time with poise, class and his own ‘Logan’ style. He would race between work, cooking at home, rushing to the hosp to walk around with me, hold my hair while I was sick, check and care for Leah in the other room and all whilst wearing an isolation mask, gowns and gloves. It’s incredible how this has all taught me the dependency we have on those around us, I wanted a kidney to gain independence… let me say that again… I wanted someone else’s kidney so that I could become independent. How neurotic of me and self-centered. I could not have walked out of the hospital two days later if it wasn’t for the way my father encouraged and pushed me to hit the ground running. Independence is tasteful and we are told to desire it especially in Western non-collectivist cultures but the reality is happiness cannot come from independence, the impact others have on you as well as those you impart make the difference, I believe, between a successful and lonely life. At the end of the day, all that is left of you are memories etched in other peoples minds.

What am I saying.. maybe just don’t disregard those that got you to the place you are when say you get a new kidney and are ready to run off wild and free??

Just got my wings. Time to learn how to fly.


Stay tuned for day three and four (this weekend)


“Vulnerability is the bridge that connects us”

    There’s a high chance I won’t share this, mostly it’s just for me to get it out before it eats at me slowly but surely. I think it’s tough when you have spent years living a type of nightmare but it’s become so real you have convinced yourself this is how normal people dream- then all of a sudden you experience a real dream and you are unsure how to react. Maybe it’s just a natural thing to have something positive happen to you or around you […]

Continue Reading

“Not Your Average Law Student”

Hey friends! A few weeks ago, to celebrate the end of the year, I was asked to write an article in our University of Auckland Law School’s student magazine. I struggled to put together a short piece about myself which same time would help gear students for their upcoming exams. I’ve never found writing anything this difficult – because the truth is, I may pretend to know what I am doing – but mostly I stumble from one day, one hospital bed, one lecture or one event to the […]

Continue Reading

A donor’s story: Continued…

Day Two – Three:  I drifted in and out of consciousness… After buzzing the nurses over and over again about my pain, I finally found out that there had been some kind of mix up and someone didn’t give me the pain pump I was supposed to come out of surgery with. That explained the pain. After hours of waiting they eventually brought me the pump but I didn’t find it did anything for me. I think I had gone too long without it. The rest of the night […]

Continue Reading

A Donors Story: “Today I donated my kidney”

To celebrate three months post surgery I have put together a special series of posts. Ready to hear what it’s like to donate a kidney? Our author is Leah,  the amazing girl who donated her kidney to a stranger- so that I would receive a kidney from someone else. Have a read of her first days in hospital.  Stay tuned for the rest of her story then FOLLOWING is my four days post-surgery. Thanks for sharing your ‘donor story’ Leah! – Denny    PART ONE: The First Two days […]

Continue Reading

One Month and Three Kidneys Later…

Waking up in ICU The lights were quite dim and I could only hear slight voices in the far distance, something about lungs. lungs… right lung…? slow…? collapsed…? While I sat there racking my brain, didn’t I have a kidney transplant?  What lungs, whats going on? eyes closed. Pain. More pain. I was drifting in and out of consciousness up in the highest room of the hospital, the ICU (intensive care unit) which is where all transplant patients are sent to spend their first few hours bonding with their […]

Continue Reading

Day of surgery: See you on the other side

24th July 2017: Flying Kidneys + My big break  So the day had finally come, nearly 10 years of dialysis, over 50 surgeries later and I was finally ready for the biggest day of my life.The entire night before I couldn’t sleep, I kept waking up and forgetting where I was and then panicking and trying to sleep some more.Saying goodbye to my old life and hello to freedom  The First Operations: 6.30am – So first my friend, Leah (my angel donor) woke up at 6.30am, and got prepped and […]

Continue Reading

The greatest gift and Pre-admission to Hospital

23rd July 2017: Pre-admission + the kidney chain + surprise throat infections I packed my bags, some books and a whole bunch of crap that I basically never touched anxiously waiting to get this whole thing on the road. So the real question was and will always be= who donated their kidney to me? The answer= I have no clue. It was actually a type of chain..   It involved 4 people, 2 kidneys, 2 planes and the longest day of my life (intrigued yet?!). So here is what was about […]

Continue Reading

Day Four: Counting down my days on dialysis

So currently sitting on a couch (that’s me ^), on what could possibly be the second to last dialysis session I have before next week’s ‘big event’. So I’ve decided that before I go any further I have to tell you all a little bit about my dialysis machine. Apologies if this sounds like a lesson in biology and chemistry, I’ve made it as simple as I can. WHY DO I NEED DIALYSIS? A dialysis machine in simple terms replacing SOME of the functions of our kidneys for people […]

Continue Reading

DAY ONE: A second chance at life.

So I am back, charged up and it’s time for some BIG NEWS, and BIG CHANGES. But first a short story: Initially, I started this blog with no purpose, I was forced by friends to go public and attempt blogging properly considering the numerous times I tried and failed with other blogs. Given my lack of purpose, I never spent much time working on posts, or editing photos let alone regularly posting. But someone told me once that I was in a position where I needed something from the […]

Continue Reading