Life is a roller coaster
Not sure where to begin with this post….quite a bit has happened (not all kidney related) since my last one! Its fair to say there have been some up’s and downs. I received some sad news about a week back, a long term friend of mine’s father passed away, so I will be attending his funeral service tomorrow. RIP Tommy. The doom and gloom doesn’t stop there though I am afraid, it seems to be just about everywhere I look at the minute, I was playing handyman at my wife’s new house on Saturday morning for example and received a call to tell me my grandad’s wife had passed away earlier that morning. RIP Joan, this was not perhaps totally unexpected, she had been very ill of late battling cancer, but I didn’t expect her to pass quite so soon.
I am a self confessed ‘big girls’ blouse’ when it comes to these situations, and as much as I did manage to not start crying like a girl, I was obviously and visibly upset, so much so that my wife took to comforting me with a hug and offered to come and visit my granddad with me. I declined but invited her for tea (dinner for Canadian/US readers) that night.
My grandad was holding up okay when I went around to be fair, he was obviously upset but managed to raise a joke or two, which is very much like him. He was being well looked after by plenty of Joan’s children and even managed to eat a steak pudding and chips from the chippy, which was good to see as by his own admission he had not eaten much, if anything for the two days preceeding.
With all this death and misery, it is hard not to take a minute and think about our own mortality, It’s a normal reaction and I am sure most of us do it when dealing with these situations, but for me, that Saturday afternoon, I really couldn’t think of much else, dull and gloomy yes, but strangely not negative or downbeat if that makes any sense. I have briefly thought about my inevitable demise before, but never with as much clarity as I had this last weekend, so not in a morbid way, but more a practical one, I decided I was going to start organizing things, don’t get me wrong, I am not going to go out and purchase myself a nice shiny box or anything, but more get paperwork and my wishes and farewell notes all written up and stored away just in case.
On the flip side, like the title of this post suggests, there was some good news this weekend too, firstly comes a financial bonus, I have been chasing up a PPI miss selling claim for quite some time now, with limited success, based on the fact the company I took the rather humongous loan out with back in the day had gone bankrupt and sold out to not two, but three companies since!! Anyway, after a bit of perseverance I managed to hear back and just before my wife arrived for tea on Saturday, I opened a rather unsuspicious letter, to see a very nice offer, so this made mine and the wife’s day! Just a quick note to any confused followers, I am of course not with my wife, but technically we are still married.
Moving on then from the weekend came yesterday’s appointment at the MRI with my uncle to meet his (and as we found out now, my) surgeon, Mr. Augustine. Before we got to see the surgeon, we both had to be weighed and have BP taken, I was bang on the money in terms of weight and my BP was unusually good given I was inside a hospital, it usually adds a good 20 points to my scores. Then we went into speak with the transplant sister who talked us both through the plan from here on in and details of the recovery side of the operation and my follow up plan.
In the waiting room, it was shocking to see for my second trip on the bounce that there were literally no seats and the shear number of people in there, all of them suffering with kidney problems or accompanying someone who was….something tells me that that waiting room is never anything but bursting at the seams, quite frightening really. Before being called through to the surgeon we got talking to a chap in there, he was 2 years post Tx and had a pancreas done at the same time, he was a nice bloke but he had been having trouble with his post transplant medications, he was sporting a rather ugly fistula, which enabled me to have a good look at one…I am glad I went for the PD option now, they really don’t look pretty, and with my body being perfect and all ;o)…
When it came time to see the surgeon, Paul and his family went in first, he was asked if he really is willing to donate his kidney and I guess they probed to make sure I wasn’t forcing him into it… once Paul had told him that he was acting under his own initiative I was invited in. On his computer screen he had a 3D image of Paul’s kidneys and their blood vessel’s, now I am used to seeing 3D models on a computer screen, its what I see everyday at work, but somehow to see this being rotated around and to hear the surgeon tell me that this (Paul’s right) kidney is my new kidney, for some reason took the wind out of me a little. The reason I will be receiving Paul’s right kidney is because it has just two arteries connected to it, as opposed to his left which had three.
The surgeon explained that the secondary (smaller) artery does increase the chances of that portion of the kidney ‘clotting off’ to about 10% but still worth going ahead. I had a couple of questions, namely about if there is any problems with me being vaccinated against yellow fever (for jungle/safari based future holidays) and also when I would be able to travel after the Tx. The answer to that was 12 months, which doesn’t tie in with my current plan on a round the world trip starting end of this year – early next…so I can see some negotiation required with the follow up teams coming up.
We left MRI with not much more info than we had prior to attending in all honesty, no firm date was set, the nurse suggested it would be around 6 weeks and the surgeon said we could be looking at three months based on the numbers of people already scheduled. So that was that, good news that we are going ahead, but I think we both would have preferred a date.
Today has been a hell of a long day for me, I had to prematurely terminate my dialysis treatment by 15 minutes this morning at 4:!5 am to allow the fluid to be drained and clean my machine down, I had to get over to Manchester airport for 05:30 as I had a meeting over in Belfast all day. I returned this evening almost exactly 12 hours later, there was some other news that came through today though…now what was it…ah yes, of course….I HAVE MY DATE!! and no, I don’t mean with a hot Brunette… Wendy (transplant coordinator) called and we were offered a cancellation on the 28th March!! How amazing is that!!! Just over four weeks from today I will be heading into MRI for my kidney transplant.
I am obviously over the moon about this, although I have already started with the nerves…this is not normal for me, I usually don’t bother my arse (get concerned) over operations, but this time around, I guess its because its not just me taking the risks I am already a bit twitchy.
Well, like I said, its been a strange old few days, glad to get back into work in the morning for a bit of normality, and I guess start the preparation/planning for my time off, I am definitely going to have to take at least a week or two off following the transplant….just kidding mum!!!, maybe three weeks ;o)
Onwards and Upwards