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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Getting My Butt Kicked

Other than a couple of early bedtimes and some issues with food, the last two months since donating a kidney have been very uneventful. Before having the surgery I had read articles saying it could take up to six months to be "back to normal", for Righty to fully adjust and take over all of Leftie's duties. In the weeks since my surgery I have arrogantly scoffed at this timeline (at least in my mind). I thought I was better than that, healthier, some kind of uber healer that was ahead of the curve. I haven't slowed down and if anything I have "sped up" adding more activities including running and additional bootcamp classes, to my life.

The past couple of weeks I have found myself to be more tired in the evenings. I've shrugged it off, attributing it to being on vacation for part of that time and having my sleep schedule altered. I've pushed through the fatigue, not slowing down at all. I even gave blood this past week because my workplace had an appointment scheduled and after all, the living donor program had cleared me to do so. I was sure everything was 100% "back to normal".

Except I'm not.

On Friday we had a team building golf afternoon. It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky and warm by Calgary standards. I was surprised to learn when we arrived at the course we wouldn't be using golf carts-instead we'd be walking the course (I'd never done that before but thought it would be fun). And it was fun. Except by the fourth hole I was too hot and couldn't seem to cool off. I had consumed about three bottles of water but felt like I hadn't had any for days. I had a constant pang or cramp both front and back where Leftie used to be. I soldiered on, sure that my second wind would kick in. I was overlooking the fact that I haven't had reserve energy since the surgery. I made it through to the end and found some shade. I was exhausted but didn't want to show it.

I have always been a master of "being a trooper" and making sure I appear okay, coaxing myself through pain and discomfort. I was the kid who hid having chicken pox (and the associated vomiting and fever) for 4 days as to not miss a track meet. I was the Girl Guide camper who got heat stroke, a mosquito bite in the eye and a gash in my knee all in the first four days of camp but insisted I didn't need to go home. I have rollerbladed two weeks after knee surgery. A few years ago after a bicycle spill, I got back on my bike and road another 20 minutes to work, cracked ribs and severe road rash to my arms. I have pride in my resiliency although now I am realizing that in my case, resiliency might be synonymous with stubborn stupidity.

We continued on to dinner where a group order was placed for several deep fried and salty items. I was hungry so I ate along with everyone else and even was dumb enough to order a cocktail to go along with the food. I did have an additional 2 glasses of water, hoping this would somehow balance everything out. I sat too long after eating and felt my stomach start to remind me of this. As I got in my car to drive home, I knew I had done everything wrong-I was in the sun too long, I was dehydrated, I allowed myself to overheat and I ate food I knew was likely to not agree with me.

I crashed when I got home. I couldn't walk the dogs. I didn't want to sit at the computer, watch TV or read-it was too hard. I was feeling 100% off. I went to bed early thinking I'd wake up refreshed. And I did-sort of. I convinced myself I was feeling better, despite fatigue and a sore abdomen. I ran errands and headed to bootcamp. More exercise in the sun. I had to stop a few times-not like me. I felt foggy, the pang in my stomach was back and I lacked coordination more than usual. The hour seemed like five.

I drove home on autopilot and tried to appear normal. Charlie knew something was up because a) I hadn't brought us a Starbucks like I do every Saturday, b) I looked pale and c) I was sure the house was freezing when in fact it was very warm inside. He asked if I was okay and it was all I could do to not burst into tears. My whole body hurt, I felt terrible and I was exhausted. I couldn't even argue when he told me I needed to go lie down.Which I did, for about four hours. Not like me at all-I am not sure I have ever done that in my life.
I got up long enough to watch a movie around dinner time (no food-I wasn't hungry at all-also not like me) and then went back to bed, sleeping through until morning.

Today I am a bit better but I'm also left with this lingering feeling that I've just battled through something for the last 36 hours. The morale of the story is that even if you are feeling 100% after donating a kidney, your body is different and still adjusting behind the scenes. Its not to say you can't golf, eat salty food, have a cocktail, go to bootcamp, all in the hot summer sun. You just probably shouldn't do it all within a 15 hour period. Lesson learned.



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