KIDNEY FAILURE - A PERSONAL JOURNAL

[Peter Langley]

The Miracle

I was finally taken down around 11:00 a.m., and went almost immediately to the operating room. Dr. Rice, anaesthesiologist, gave me what she said were a couple of double scotches, and they put the arm pads on. I announced that I was now in the Jesus position, with my arms outstretched. Dr. Rice didnít get it, but her assistant had a good laugh. That was it for me for several hours.

I sort of woke up around 4:00 p.m., and was back in my room by 5:00 p.m. I had to ask the timing later, as I was a little out of it. The kidney had begun working on the table, and was functioning well.

I have had good urine function, and the creatinin is dropping regularly. It was 6.5 before the surgery, and normal - at Shands - is 0.5 to 1.2. It had dropped fifty percent in the first day, and continued to drop. By Friday, less than 72 hours after surgery, it was at 1.9.

I am told that my color is good, and the only pain is really from the Foley catheter. The incision hurts a little when I get up or down, and I walk slowly, very, very slowly, although it is improving day by day. I had one pain shot the first night after surgery, and nothing since then. The number of pills is numbing, but they are already coming down. Oh, when the incision was first taped, someone got carried away, and some of my skin came off when they pulled it loose. That hurts more than the incision.

There is a slight jitteriness, which I am told will go away. It is a side effect to several of the anti-rejection medications. It all seems so surreal, like it did not really happen. I was expecting pain, at least on the level of a stone. Nothing, really to speak of. Is this really all there is to a kidney transplant? I know, I know. I am getting cocky.

Diane, on the other hand, has had considerable pain. Her IV in the back of her hand swelled up. She has felt abandoned as they could not even find ginger ale for her for a time. I feel badly about that, but when I walked down on Thursday to see her, she assured me that it was all well worth it.

Took my first shower on Thursday. Heaven. Passed my open and closed book tests on Thursday, and was told that I could go home on Friday if my creatinin and drug tests continued to improve.

Friday morning has come, and I am feeling better. I still cannot believe that all is going so well. I have a slight headache, but nothing I cannot live with. It may be sinuses and it may be one of those wonderful side effects. I discover that Tylenol is now the only thing I can take for headaches, as everything else has side effects because of the anti-rejection medications.

I still have no bowel movements, but this is to be expected.

The night shift has come by to tell me goodbye, and the feelings remain overwhelming. I already feel better than I did before the surgery.

I have a book from the transplant team which is invaluable. I cannot overstate the assurances I get from things in black and white. I reread the entire book this morning at 6:30 a.m.

Since I am sitting up, the headache is dissipating. I fear some coughing when my sinuses clear, and that is not yet fun. Everything is easier now, so far as moving is concerned. Much easier.

My brother did not get to come to visit. Besides peritonitis, he developed tightness in his chest and has been admitted to another Gainesville hospital. It acts to remind me how lucky I am at this point.

I have received flowers from my son-in-lawís family, a friend of my daughter, my brother and sister-in-law, relatives of my donor, and a Gator orange and blue arrangement from a wonderful woman who teaches with my wife and her husband. I also received a balloon collection from the courthouse.

[Kidney] The whole attention thing reminds me of something my father-in-law says: everyone tells me Iím looking good, never that Iím good looking. Iíll take it. With my permission, I was photographed with the kidney installed for a text book. I am going to try to get a copy of the picture, and will include it with this journal on my website.

It seems impossible that just a week ago, I was nervously preparing for this experience. Since then, I have been to court, two football games, a play, and have undergone a kidney transplant, and am getting ready to go home. September 14 really is a second birthday for me. With good creatinin levels, I am only waiting for my cyclosporin levels. Please come down. Hurrah! The levels are good and I am getting out of here. Got to leave at 2:00 p.m., and was home in bed less than 72 hours after I got out of recovery. It is absolutely unbelievable.

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