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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Week After

The first week after getting home from kidney donation surgery was surprisingly easy and mostly uneventful.
It was during that week where I really became amazed at how well the body adapts and repairs itself (so long as you are giving it what it needs to get the job done). We are resilient creature, we humans.

Everyday I seemed to feel a bit better and although tired, I didn't feel the need to take naps. I was feeling well enough to work part time (from home obviously). While my employer was totally supportive of me taking the time I needed to recover, I found I did better if I had something to do at least part of the day. It took my mind off any discomfort I had (it was moderate) and staved off cabin fever to an extent. I found I was fine to work in the morning sand the afternoons were for lounging. I think what is important for anyone considering kidney donation is that we are all different. I know people who were physically back at work sooner than me and others who took a few months off because of the type of work they did and the benefits they had. I think having the flexibility with work to decide as you go (or week by week) is wonderful rather than trying to guess prior to surgery how you are going to feel. I was lucky that I had that arrangement with my employer and the technology to do my job at home (yay AMA and Bridgewater Bank!)

Incision wise things appear to heal quickly although I needed to be mindful that just because things were looking better on the surface, there was still a lot of healing going on on the inside. Although not necessary, I did remove some of the steri-strips from the incisions, mostly so I could look at them better (nothing too gross) but also because a few were starting to peel off on their own. I was kind of afraid they'd be "stuck" to the incisions (gross I know) because I had a bad experience with that post knee surgery but they were fine. I still had a bloated belly but it was slowly going down (much like a balloon with a leak!)

Pain wise I was on Tylenol Arthritis. I was taking it pretty much as per the directions although towards the end of the week I'd forget and realize a few hours later that was likely why I was uncomfortable. I was surprised I wasn't more desperate for them but I'm glad I wasn't. Mentally I was feeling pretty positive too. I know its normal for some people to get the post surgery blues but I was doing alright. I had a lot of calls and emails from family and friends as well as the call with Canadian Blood Services about their social media guidelines so I was feeling pretty positive.

Just like the doctor ordered I walked and walked and walked. And walked. It was the only exercise you are allowed to do and frankly the only exercise I was capable of doing. I paced the bike path on a ridge over the Bow river, pushing myself slightly each day to go to the next park bench or sign to build up my strength. I had to giggle because everyday, despite my 2000 song playlist on my iPhone, "Walk this Way" by Run DMC  and Aerosmith came on every time. I did a lot of thinking while I was walking about my choice, how I felt about it and wondered how Leftie's new owner was doing. A few times I did get teary about the whole journey but they were happy tears. I also wondered if the recipient was walking and walking and walking like I was. When I'd come home I'd be stiff and tired but refreshed. Sometimes I didn't want to go but I always felt better once I did. It seemed like the more I walked, the next day the better I felt overall.

I think the best walk by far though was around 4PM one day later in the week. You know how in Calgary we tend to have sunny skies then suddenly a late afternoon storm rolls  for 30 minutes? Well I was about 10 minutes from home (3 minutes if you aren't a post surgery gimp) and the skies opened up. And I had one and one speed only. Your mind is screaming "run" but there is no way your body can do more than a shuffle. I am sure I looked ridiculous-like an 90 year old speedwalker, clutching her left side like Napoleon. All and all, not a terrible price to pay though :)

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