As if yesterday wasn’t the epitome of excitement, today is the day. It’s our kidneyversary. On December 10, 2015 my Husband received a kidney.
If you haven’t read the previous post, you can get to it from HERE. I shared some of my most heartwarming memories from various times before we got the call.
When we left off yesterday, Brad (BKA Hubby or HusBae), assumed our positions in the hospital bed and recliner respectively. The nurses were coming into the room roughly every hour to collect one sample or another. By 6 AM we gave up on trying to sleep and decided to get up and see what the day had in store.
Suddenly, as amazing things seem to happen, a nurse came in to tell us that the final tests have been completed and the kidney is viable and ready to be transplanted. Surgery was scheduled to commence at 11 AM.
Here is the timeline as best as I can remember it:
9:45 AM – Orderlies took us downstairs to meet with the anesthesiologist. He was extremely nice and had a terrific bedside manner. Mr. Anesthesiologist asked the usual questions concerning medical history and allergies. When he was done, he inserted an IV in Hubby’s arm. He also made a mixture that would safely keep my husband asleep until the procedure was complete.
10:30 AM – The surgeon came in next. She was straightforward with kind eyes. When she spoke, her voice carried across the room. Her accent was unmistakable; Jamaican born and bred. I was extremely proud that she would be operating on my husband. She needed to prep for surgery so we shook hands and left.
11:15 AM – Someone, I am not sure who, said it was time to get started. For me, that’s when things got real – as if the call and hospital stay weren’t enough. We hugged, kissed, and prayed. The orderlies came to wheel Brad into the surgical waiting area. As the doors closed, I waved and fought back tears.
11:45 AM – I made my way back up to the room to collect our things. By the time I made it back downstairs, Brad’s mom had arrived. She tried to get there before he went into surgery, but she lived a few hours away and traffic wouldn’t allow it. The family waiting room came equipped with one big screen television for entertainment and a smaller television to get status updates about your loved one. His mom and I sat in the waiting room watching television and pretending not to be nervous while stealing glances at the smaller screen.
1:10 PM – Hubby was successfully anesthetized and intubated.
1:27 PM – Dr. Chen started surgery. The first incision had been made.
To pass the time, I took walks around the hospital parking lot, read magazines, and texted updates to everyone who was concerned.
6:30 PM – His mom was hungry so she decided to venture out for food. Across the street from the hospital were several fast food restaurants and boutique restaurants so she didn’t have trouble finding something she’d like. SIDE NOTE: I like hospital food. I used to get really excited about Hubby’s follow up appointments so I could eat there.
7:15 PM – While waiting on my MIL to return, the surgeon entered the waiting room looking visibly drained. I slowly got up from the couch and walked over to where she stood. It seems like an eternity before she says anything. Finally, she tells me that the surgery went much better than she thought it would. There were no complications, and the kidney started to produce urine right away. Those were probably the best words I’d heard in the last 7 years. He was still being cleaned up and we would be able to visit him within the hour.
A few minutes later, MIL returned with her food and I shared the news with her. She was no longer concerned with eating, she was calling all of her church friends and thanking them for their time and prayers.
8:45 PM – When Hubby had been moved to Recovery and was resting comfortably, a staff person escorted us to see him. I went in first and work him with a kiss. When he opened his eyes, I gave him the biggest smile I could. I assured him all was well and the kidney was secure in it’s new home. I received a half smile in return, but he was still pretty sedated. I kissed him on his forehead and let his mom see him for a while before we had to go.
11:00 PM – We were told Brad was being moved to the room where he’d stay for the rest of the visit. Once again, I gathered our things and lugged them to the new location. Since we got their first, we were able to get the choice space in the room. I choose the window bed because there was kind of a bay window looking thing for me to sleep on. I was over recliners at that point. I was emotionally and physically exhausted and needed some rest. Why should Brad have all the fun?
I am sure you know the drill by now – the nurses were in and out of the room all night. They were drawing blood and checking fluids. Each time they came in we were happy to comply. That little kidney was working like a dream.
December 11, 2019
7:30 AM – We slept all we could for the night. The breakfast tray arrived and Hubby’s mom had to get on the road to make it home in time for work. I walked her out and thanked her for keeping me company.
9:45 AM – Dr. Chen popped in for a visit. She told us the preliminary reports were all favorable. She also told us the gentleman that was in the bed next to us received the donor’s other kidney. How awesome is that? (Look for more about this in a follow up post)
Next, a case manager came in and introduced herself. It was her duty to get all of the medications we needed and schedule the next month of follow up appointments. She gently explained each prescription and its purpose in helping the kidney and body adjust. (Look for more about this in a follow up post)
Noon – The rest of the day was spent getting Brad to take short walks around the unit and learning how to function while the surgical site healed.
The hospital stay ended about a week later. We went home and that was the start of a whole other adventure, but I’ll save that story for another time. One day, I hope to get the story from his perspective; in his own words. While I was there from the diagnosis to transplant, I couldn’t begin to shed light on what it’s like to have a chronic illness that changes your life forever.
We definitely have the scars that go with this battle. There have been many bad days, but there have been some extremely good ones too.
Caring for my husband was a difficult task, but it prepared me to care for my father before he passed away. Because my husband went through it, he was able to help me understand what my father felt like when he couldn’t do simple tasks on his own.
This is also the reason I am expanding my practice to include Caregiver Coaching. If you have general questions or you just need to vent, please feel free to reach out. If you want to know more about our journey, all questions are welcome. We didn’t have this incredible experience to keep it to ourselves.
I am looking forward to reading and responding to your comments.