In my last post transplant blog post (here) I was on Day 5 of my recovery and I was peeing on myself. This resulted in the nurses having to put a bedpan next to my bed as I could not make it to the bathroom in time. My days literally consisted of me getting up every 15 minutes to pee in the bedpan and then back into bed. The perk of this is that I became mobile very quickly and this made my recovery a lot easier.
By Day 6 (Sunday), I still had not gone to the toilet yet and the doctors were a bit worried. So they started me on a very light laxative syrup (Lacson). Day 7 (Monday) came along and I was told I could not go home because my medical aid had not approved my medication yet. If that was approved, I would be allowed to go home. Since the final time to be discharged without being charged for an extra day was 12PM, I started working immediately. I called my medical aid office and my lovely friend at the office said she would do her best to have it looked at. She worked efficiently and by 9AM, I had my approvals. While my sister collected my medication, my transplant co-ordinator popped by as well as a nurse that explained my medication. The transplant coordinator gave me tips on what to avoid post transplant and how to best take care of my new kidney. The medication nurse explained what each tablet does and what the possible side effects cold be. To be honest, it was a lot to take in but I happily made notes to ensure I had all the information I required. As soon as they left, I started packing. I had actually packed quite a bit (I took a suitcase to the hospital) so there was a lot to pack away. As I was doing this, I stared getting the most intense stomach cramps of my life. I then realised that the Lacson was about to start working so I bolted to the bathroom. Long story short… I pooped. A lot. So much that I became dehydrated and had to wait two hours before I could actually leave the hospital.
And then the big event came. It was finally time to go home.
Here’s a tip for when you go home. Take a pillow with you and hold it across your tummy. Going over potholes and speed bumps is painful and it helps to support your wound. The same applies when going to the toilet, post transplant. For about two months, I kept a pillow in my bathroom. Putting pressure on your stomach to go to the bathroom can be quite painful so you will need that pillow. I finally arrived home and there was a banner waiting for me!
It was quite overwhelming being at home. I had left the comfort and safety of the hospital. I obsessed over the little things, like having my bathroom scrubbed from top to bottom everything. I was so scared of germs and it took me quite a while before I could relax. When I got home, I requested that visitors respect that I needed time and space. I only started allowing visitors in one week post after I had gotten home. I also made a sign for outside my room door. Underneath the sign was hand sanitizer and a box of masks.
The first few weeks of being at home was tough. I had very little control over my bladder and I would go to the bathroom every 30 minutes. Another thing I struggled with when I got home was my weight. I weighed 55kg before my surgery. When I got home, I was 50kg. That being said, before I got sick, I weighed 67kg. I felt and looked like a different person. It didn’t help that everyone that saw me would say things like “You look so skinny!” or “You really should put some meat on those bones hey”. I have come to realise that people are insensitive. I sometimes wonder if people think I wanted to be that skinny.
I am happy to report that I have picked up 7kg since then and I am a lot happier with that. Another thing I had to get used to is the medication. I have always hated taking tablets. It makes me feel so sick and sometimes it would make me want to throw up. I guess I would just have to adjust and get used to the idea.
I am going to end this post here because the days and weeks after that was more f the same. The peeing became a lot less frequent as time went by, thank goodness. I would see my doctor every week to ensure everything was still okay, which it always was. I am very happy now and I look forward to what the future holds.