Diagnosed with ESRD - End Stage Renal Disease in 2010 with 28% kidney function left. In January 2013, it dropped to 5%. Started twice a week Hemodialysis in February. My beautiful and courageous wife, Ninette, came forward willingly to be my donor and we started with the work-up in March. We finally finished everything and got approval 08 July 2013. We had the procedure the 25th of the same month.

Our journey continues...

Saturday, August 17, 2013

In my hospital room

I was wheeled back to a regular room after 5 days in ICU and stayed there for the next 6 days. The first 3 days I was like a baby whose every need was taken care of by somebody else… you know… sponge baths, diaper changes and all. We were lucky to get the services of the same caregiver we employed before when Ninette's 96-year old granny was bedridden(God bless her soul). Claudette was with me 24/7 those 6 days. Both my lower extremities were bloated. The skin tight and shiny. This is due to some fluid retention when the transplanted kidney did not, due to the surgical complication, produce urine right away. Even my left hand was swollen courtesy of an ICU cardio fellow who inserted an IV line in the wrong place.

My beautiful wife and donor, Ninette, was home and recuperating well. I needed to get stronger and better so I could join her at home too. I actually started a little bit of exercising(if you can call it that) when I was at the ICU. I'd do repeated plantar flexions and arm raises. So I just continued with those while in bed as I was not allowed to strain my abdominal muscles. Then I was able to seat up and feed myself. When I was able to stand and leave the bed the next day, they took out the catheter. From then, slowly, I was able to walk around the room and do more personal activities myself but always with assistance. 

When I was able to tolerate standing, the nurses would slide a heavy weighing scale everyday at 5am to record my weight. They didn't have to do that in the ICU because the bed there had it's own weighing scale. When I left the ICU I was at 80 kilos; around 8 kilos over my weight pre-surgery. That's 8 kilos of fluid retained and 8 kilos of fluid I need to pass out via urine. The next day, the nurses encouraged me to walk to the station to weigh myself. My legs were heavy as logs. Because of the low center of gravity, I felt like a Sumo wrestler just before tachi-ai. That was my first trip out of the room. And at certain times during the day, I'd make a few small loops around the quiet corridor, happy to be moving about and see other things and people. During 1 such trip, I met my neph who was on his way to see me. I thought he would be happy to see me moving about. But he told me to get back in the room and stay there. I felt like a child caught redhanded. He reminded me that I was taking immunosuppressants and that my immune system is compromised. And that hospital corridors are not safe loitering areas for me.

Although I had borderline and controlled Type II Diabetes when I was on Hemodialysis, I developed NODAT(New Onset of Diabetes after Transplant). So my blood sugar is checked and I get insulin shots 3 times a day before meals plus another shot at bedtime. This is due to the numerous medications I am taking including the anti-rejection drugs and steroids. Hopefully, this is can be reversed.

A day before my discharge, I was again wheeled to the OR where my surgeon removed the staples as well as my Permcath access. It took longer than I expected and it was a bit and several sutures before they could control the bleeding. The OR nurses were happy to see me doing quite well. They were there during my stormy episode after the surgery.

That afternoon, they brought me to the adjacent building for ultrasound. My neph just wanted to rule out DVT(Deep Vein Thrombosis) since the swelling in my lower extremities has not abated. That evening he told me that ultrasound results were clear and I was to be discharged the next day. He then gave me an hour's worth of lecture on post kidney transplant care and that I have to strictly comply with them. He gave examples of past patients who did not and what the consequences were. I had some advanced reading on that during my stay in the hospital. That helped in making me understand every word he said.

Then it dawned on me… I am not doing Hemodialysis again. If I take care of Ninette's kidney indside me, dialysis disappears forever.