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Arriving at UAB

Posted Oct 01 2008 5:07pm
After my phone call from the Organ Center telling me they had a possible match, we were on a time table. The call came in at 9:35 PM and we were told to be at the hospital by 2:00 AM. I know most people would think that you wouldn't need that much time to arrive but you really do. There are many things at home that need to be done in the event that the surgery does take place like paying bills, last minute packing and taking a shower. But most importantly for me it was making sure my 2 sons would be taken care of until my sister, Jessi arrived from New Jersey. We finally got in the car and headed out. The first stop was the gas station to fill the tank and get a drink. If the surgery is a go, I figured I had until midnight to eat and drink and I was gonna take full advantage of that. Then the next stop was McDonald's to grab a bite to eat because who knew when I would be able to eat again. We arrived at UAB at 1:15 AM. This time we were told to go to the ER and they would take care of getting me admitted. Right away I picked up on the people's sense of urgency which was not there with my other visit. By 2:00 AM I was in my room. Then the flurry of people coming in began. My nurse, the resident doctor for the kidney transplant patients and a couple more medical people. The next thing I know, their giving me a surgery time and I haven't had my blood drawn yet to see if it matches the donor. At 4:00 AM my blood was drawn and I had a 5:30 AM pick up time to head down to surgery. Again the sense of urgency with everyone was very apparent. It took 3 attempts at getting my blood drawn and the IV started but it wasn't bad. One of the attempts did leave a black and purple bruise that lingered for 3 weeks. I arrived in pre OP with the news that my blood work wasn't back yet so there would be a wait until the results came in. Out of the 2 surgeries being done, I was to go first because the other man who was receiving the other kidney had to go to dialysis first before his surgery. They kept calling the lab about every 15 minutes to see if the result was in and finally at about 8:00 AM we found out it was a go and within 5 minutes they were taking me back to the OR. I was introduced to all the team members who were there. The only 2 people who weren't there was the aniesiologist (sp?) and the surgeon and they had been paged. One of my nurses stood there and held my hand and stroked my arm while they were getting everything prepared like putting the leads on my body for the different monitors. She would tell me everything that was going on around me. Everyone was so friendly and warm and I felt completely at ease. The aniesiologist came in and commented that I hadn't received any Vercet yet and their reply was "Look at her, she hasn't needed anything to calm down". He looked at my BP and other monitors and then at me. I gave him a big smile and he asked what was wrong with me, that most people were nervouse wrecks by that point. I told him I had been in good hands and there was no need to be a nervous wreck. He then sat down told me to breathe deep and the next think I know, I'm waking up in a lot of pain thinking that no time at all had past, even though it was about 4 hours. I had the ability to push a button and get Morphene. The problem was my fingers were numb and I couldn't really push the button with some effort but I finally figured a way to do so and voila no more pain. Normally after surgery you are taken to Surgical ICU. I came through surgery so well that I went directly to step down. Apparently there was some concern at first because I wasn't making urine right away. When they rolled me into step down was when I was able to first see my hubby, Bruce. They said as soon as I saw him, my kidney started pumping out urine making up for lost time. I spent less than 16 hours in step down and walked to my regular room. My nurse in step down said that she was amazed how quickly I recovered. People without diabetes didn't recover that quickly and that it was quite amazing that someone with diabetes was able to rebound so quickly. Of course they were pushing the fluids through the IV rather quickly to help the kidney come on board. The first 3 days I had a catheter in so I was really unaware of how well the kidney was doing. More details later.
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