Two days after the transplant. Max is going home today. I’m on track to be released tomorrow. Feeling pretty good, all things considered. Walked three laps around the surgical unit this morning. They’ve been pumping me full of fluids to make sure everything is flowing properly. So far so good. A little discomfort, but not much. Starting to feel antsy, which is probably a good thing.
Instruction Manual for a Kidney
Getting a new kidney is only the beginning of a lifelong process. And it comes with a substantial notebook with instructions. It covers some extensive dietary changes. It goes over the complicated series of medications to prevent your own immune system from rejecting the kidney, while also trying to prevent you from being susceptible to other diseases. I’ve also signed up for a clinical trial of a new medication regimen designed to reduce the side effects from the anti-rejection medications. But it means I’ll be coming here to Yale New Haven for two years. Initially I’ll be seen twice a week, then it drops to once a week, once every two weeks, and finally once a month for two years. Compliance with the regimen for meds is absolutely critical, with meds every twelve hours for the rest of my life.
The hundred pages of instructions, entitled “Adult Kidney Transplantation – Post Operative Patient Education Manual” covers likely risks from infections, increased danger of skin cancer, eating, drinking, and activity guidelines. Part of the transplant process involves knocking down the immune system. I’ll be spending much of today going through the instruction booklet since they will be giving me a test before I can be discharged. Fortunately it’s an open book test.
I’ve been most impressed with the entire Transplantation team at Yale New Haven. They have done an extraordinary job of taking care of me, from the start of the screening process three and a half months ago, right through the surgery and post-operative care. I would be remiss if I didn’t single out my extraordinary surgeon, Dr. Peter Yoo, who not only did a great job under somewhat challenging conditions, but made me feel comfortable and confident from our first meeting.
I’m especially happy with the way the entire team has treated my son Max, truly appreciative of the amazing sacrifice he’s made. He is my hero. And a hero to everyone here at the Yale New Haven Transplantation Center. And for that I will be forever grateful.