I was up early and walking the halls waiting to be taken down to the holding room. Still no nerves or anxiety, just knew I would be stuck in the bed for a few days and wanted to be up moving as much as possible. Saw Amy for a short minute and saw them take her down for prep. Once they rolled me down, I was still joking with the nurses and Kyla was begging them to drug me so she could tape it and post it. Definitively feeling the "peace that passes understanding" through this AM. This is really the last thing that I remember. Kyla said that they rolled me out and I was still talking to her and my parents, but I don't remember any of that. The next thing I knew, I was in the ICU room and begging for something to drink. My throat hurt worse than anything else did. I was apparently not supposed to have anything until the next day, but my wonderful nurse supervisor Josh Barnes called the MD and got me approved for some clear liquid. He even went down himself and got me a sweet tea from the cafeteria. It turns out that he lives on our road a couple miles away. What a Godsend for us that night. Our regular nurse was also wonderful and took wonderful care of us all night. Kyla has a wonderful video of the aftermath of all of this with me begging for water. I even offered the nurse money and to get up and "dance a jig" if she would get me something to drink. She will probably post the video of this soon.
When I did awake in ICU, apparently I would say nothing else but that I wanted Kyla over and over. The nurses had to go get her and told her I just kept asking for her. I remember none of this, but I do know that I have been blessed with a wonderful and loving wife that always help to hold me up in my times of weakness. She is definitely one of the greatest blessings in my life and I am so appreciative of her.
The rest of the night was mostly sleepless, not so much because of pain, but because of constant checking, poking, prodding every hour.
As I awoke on the next morning, I was much more aware of all the lines in place. I had, obviously, a new long incision that curves down my right side and around my dialysis tube and it is closed with staples. I also had a blood drain placed in near the kidney that drains all the extra blood that pools around the new kidney. I also had a Foley catheter in place and an IV in my right arm. They also put in a central line in the right jugular to be able to take blood easier and run in meds quicker.
I had a pain pump placed so I could hit a button and get pain meds when I needed it, but I was really not using it very much. The pain was really not too bad still and I was able to get up myself and move to the recliner unassisted that morning. At this point, I was feeling pretty good and thinking that I would cruise through this transplant thing. We spent the morning in ICU and has all my levels checked. I was able to put out 10 liters of fluid with my new kidney and everyone said that the kidney was acting like it was made for me. The doctors said it even started putting out urine when they hooked up the blood supply and essentially peed on the table. It is really miraculous. Amy said she felt like God told her to give me this kidney and then she went to be tested and ended up being the only match out of all my friends and family to be tested. We are not siblings and barely knew each other, but it was as if this kidney was always meant for me. I read an author once that said God gave him a dream about his favorite trees in his yard. He said he saw a man walking along and he stopped and planted some seeds and continued to walk away. God told him that he sent that man to plant those trees the Century before because he knew he would love them now. I love the idea that God may have placed that kidney and blessed Amy even before I was born to take care of me. Isn't that just like God. He took care of the problem before I was even born or aware there was a problem. I wonder how many of our problems are that way. I wonder if our faith would function differently if we could see the truth in it's entirety.
I made my way up to the 11th floor to my regular floor room that afternoon. I got settled and continued to be able to walk around the room and to the recliner on my own and was doing well. And then it happened.....
that night, my pain came on quickly and strongly. I had not given a pain scale over a 2/10 since the surgery, it was now 8/10. When I tried to move, my breath would be taken away. Lying in the bed, I felt so hot I couldn't rest, I asked for a cold cloth to cool off. My blood pressure spiked to 180/90 and my pulse went to 130. My temperature rose to over a 100. I felt like I was dying. Life essentially dropped a ton of Kryptonite on my delusion of being Superman and it came crashing to pieces. As the night dragged on like this, my mind worked out all kinds of stories. I was convinced that my kidney was rejecting and I was going to die. All my faith was for naught and no one would ever be blessed or helped by my story. This was one of the lowest points in my life. Thankfully, I was only tested for a short time before my doctor came in to talk to me. I really believe that I was purposed to have Dr. Rogers as my transplant doctor and he knew exactly what to say. He assured me that kidneys don't reject that quickly and that everything was normal. On top of that, my levels were essentially back to normal levels on the second day and that was extremely quick. He told me that I was used to being Superman and this was just harder than usual and that the second day was always the hardest and that it would be better soon.
Sure enough, by lunch I was once again feeling much better and talking about going home. My temperature came back to normal, my blood pressure went back to normal, and my pain came back to normal levels. I was changed from the pain pump to oral meds and taken off the IV fluids. This in itself was a bonus for me. I was able to clean up and be detached from some lines. The rest of the night was uneventful. We watched some movies and played some cards. Kyla went back to her hotel and I slept an hour or so in the bed, but it was too hot in the bed so I got up and watched some tv in the recliner.
Md came to check on me and I requested to please be Discharged so I could see my babies and get some rest in my own bed. All my lines were removed and all I had to do was clear my bladder three times with US testing to prove it was clearing. Well, this proved to be a problem. I was passing plenty of urine, but I continued to hold extra in the bladder. By 4, I was really beginning to be down again, but I decided to hold off on pain meds to help clear better. At 6, I cleared a lot of urine, but still had some left, but the nurse said she thought I would be fine and called the MD to see. He decided to let me go home....hooray! There is no medicine in the world like the hugs from your children and the feel of your own bed.
Today I feel good. I am still taking half of my pain prescription, but my pain is really just some soreness. It really isn't bad. I have been in the shower and even outside with the kids to walk around some. Everything still continues to look like it is going well. I will be facing quite a bit more than I knew to expect. I will be going back to the clinic twice this week and probably be having both the blood drain and the dialysis tube removed. This will be a procedure that requires recovery. In one month, I will be having a biopsy in which they will take a small piece of the new kidney out to make sure it isn't rejecting. Again, this will be a procedure that I will have to recover from. In 6 weeks, they will have to remove a splint that was put in connecting the new kidney to my bladder. Again, procedure....recovery. All in all, I am doing well and feeling pretty good. I am amazed at God's love and Grace and the amazing support from all our family and friends. I now hope that God will use my story and life to help uplift others and give hope to others. Continue to pray for our family, we still have a lot to face, but we seem to be coming out of the darkness now.