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)

Denny