Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Things They Don't Tell You When You Decide to Donate a Kidney...

As most of you know, I donated my kidney on Feb. 11. I was in the hospital a little longer than expected, but I have been home for a week now. I am going crazy--I'm not going to lie. I don't remember Marcus' recovery being this difficult. I am not the kind of person who asks for help or enjoys just sitting there while others do everything. I am very independent...or depending on who you ask, down right stubborn and hard headed. So to just have to sit around and watch others do everything is driving me crazy. I can't even bend over and pick something up that I dropped. A small child could get lost in the forest that has grown on my legs; I can't bend over to shave my own legs or even wash my own feet. I can't pick up my babies or do much with them at all. I am slowly getting better. I feel like I take three steps forward and five steps back. The pain medicine makes me loopy and tired; I am sick of sleeping my days away. Today was the first day with out pain medication; can I get a WHOOP! WHOOP!!

The doctors and living donation staff people go over a lot of info with you before your surgery to make sure you know what to expect. They do a mental health screening on you that takes about an hour. I'm still trying to figure out how I passed that part. The surgeons make sure you understand exactly what you are doing. They are so thorough on their part, I often felt like they were trying to talk me out of the surgery. The whole staff did an excellent job, but there was stuff they didn't cover.

Things they don't tell you when you deciding to donate a kidney:

1. Saying goodbye to your babies the night before surgery is harder then the surgery it's self. I had to be at the U of U hospital at 6 am so we took Christian and Emma up to my mother in law's the night before. I HATED saying goodbye to those two beautiful children. I know the surgery was safe and I was doing the right thing, but I am also a "what if" kind of person. Nobody knows what could have happened, and I could have been saying goodbye for the last time.

2. When most patients wake up from a surgery like this, they have what is called (or I call anyway) a pain ball inserted into the incision. I was sure to tell the surgeon that I wanted one as well. It makes the incision basically numb and the pain manageable. I did indeed get my pain ball, but the OR nurse didn't turn it on. The day of surgery was HELL...there is no sugar coating it. Once the pain ball took affect and I was coherent enough to realize I had my own morphine button, life improved drastically.

3. Recovery for the donor is always harder then it is for the recipient; you are perfectly healthy before surgery, they rip an organ out of your stomach and then your body has to mend. Surgery was on a Thursday, by Saturday I still hadn't been able to get out of bed; they couldn't get my nausea and lightheadedness out of control. Two days after surgery, in walks the guy who has my kidney. He wanted to see how I was doing and saw hi. He looked awesome. He was walking all by himself and looked great; pathetic little Monica couldn't even get out of bed. He also left the hospital before I did. Normally, recipients are in the hospital for at least a week, he left after five days. My kidney RoCkS!! They don't tell you the absolute JOY you will feel when you see the person you helped walk out of the hospital looking like nothing every happened. I wish nothing but the best to this great person and his family.

4. Your mother will call you EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!

5. You will be miserable, in pain and sometimes flat out questioning yourself "What in the #$@* did I just do?" But you will never regret being an example to your children about helping out other people. You will never regret giving someone a new, better life. You will never regret listening to the promptings of the spirit that told you all along to help your fellow man, even when you were scared and second guessing yourself. You will never forget meeting the recipient and his wife for the first time the day before surgery and just the pure look of appreciation and gratitude on their faces.

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