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Friday, July 8, 2011

Surgery Night

By the time I was back in my room post surgery and had contacted Charlie, it was after 4:30. My pain was at about six or seven out of ten. I was not on a morphine pump which I had read many donors get the option of. Instead every few hours I was asked if I wanted more. That first night they were good about asking so I didn't feel like I was ever in a spot where I was in a great deal of pain.  The surgeon gave them a range of dosage they were allowed to give me and I don't think I was ever at the top...I think 2/3 of the maximum dose was where I felt comfortable. They want to make sure you don't really hurt but at the same time aren't too slowed down my the medication. I do remember trying to email a few people and literally falling asleep mid sentence, head down drooling.  I'd jerk awake a few minutes later and continue typing the email (I was still trying to notify people and Charlie was on his way to the hospital). I don't think I said anything silly other than announcing that Righty was now enjoying her role as Chief Operating Kidney (COK).

Because the anaesthesia and the morphine so "slow you down" I had to wear and oxygen mask initially and moved to the tubes that stick in your nose after that. That was uncomfortable because it always felt like I had "junk" in my nose that I couldn't get out and the tubing made my face feel greasier. I did appreciate however that oxygen is important and that they'd let me off of it as soon as I was ready to.  They did attempt once either that first night or the following morning but my levels instantly dropped to 90% which they weren't happy with so back on I went.

I had a really uncomfortable frog in my throat from the intubation tube in my throat during surgery. The recovery nurse had told me it was normal but I found it to be quite uncomfortable, probably because it seemed to exist through the morphine bubble I was in. I wasn't allowed water (in case it made me sick) so I couldn't drink it away either.  I was however allowed to eat ice chips which did help a little and at least kept my mouth moist. It seemed so dry and when you can't drink to help that, ice chips become your best friend.

I was feeling okay if I didn't have to move. By move I mean any movement of my arms, legs or torso or any kind of bed adjustment. They brought me more warm blankets for my tummy and also gave me an extra pillow to put on top of it...its a good protection thing and also is pretty comforting. They also told me to use the pillow as a brace of sorts if I had to cough. I hoped that wasn't going to happen because i was pretty sure that would be enormously uncomfortable (pillow or no pillow).

Being on a folley catheter was kind of a new experience as well.  It's an odd feeling-well you cant really feel it but you know its there. You feel a need to urinate but then suddenly you don't. And of course you have a tube running into a bag which is hung on your bed or IV pole for anyone to see. I was told I'd have to keep it in until they were satisfied with Righty's performance (which also can be affected by morphine!). To be honest though, if it meant I didn't have to get up  or move, I was happy to have it.

That first evening I was in an out of sleep a fair bit even with Charlie there. I'd be fine then I'd tell him I needed to sleep for a bit (usually 10-15 minutes) then I'd be awake for about the same time and cycle through again.  The nephrologist (Dr. W) was there a couple of times and reminded me to stay hydrated with the ice chips and not to go to fast with them. Before Charlie left I made sure he got me two cups of them :).  My only "homework" from the Doctor was to sit up and dangle my legs once before going to bed which I did.  Getting to a seated position sucked but once I was there is was heaven because i could finally scratch my back which had been driving me nuts for hours. I was too hot in the bed and it was also nice to have the cool air on my skin.

I have to say that first night I was very well attended to by my nurse and the staff on the floor-probably the best care I got that week (I was probably most like the patients they were used to that night). The nurse was friendly, helpful and attentive.  She made sure they washed off the excess iodine on my body so I wouldn't get itchy. They were quite bedazzled by my incisions as they hadn't seen that technique before (I guess there usually is an extra hold they were expecting) so I did have another two nurse come in to see my incisions to learn (Foothills is a teaching hospital).

I don;t know what time it was (my lack of glasses meant I couldn't see the clock above my bed and my phone was charging) but it was getting dark (so 10:00 pm?) and things were quiet in the hospital.  Charlie was gone for the night and the nurse were done most of their check-ins on me.  The curtain started to move and I knew someone was heading in. I was surprised to see Dr. S on his own, scrubs and all. He asked me how I was feeling and sat down in the chair-he looked tired. He told me that my recipient was doing really well and that Leftie was doing great in its new home. Apparently Leftie had kicked in right away and was a "really good looking kidney". I was very pleased to hear that (obviously) and was surprised how emotional and relieved I felt at that moment. After Dr. S left,  I fell asleep quickly, sleeping soundly through most of the night (even with the every four hour vital checks).

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