'I Gave Away a Kidney'

And next? Off I went to surgery the following morning to give my kidney to the next person on the list and all was fine. When I came round in the very spacious and efficient high dependency unit, I quickly discovered my neighbor (yards away and safely behind a large curtain) was not handling things well. Each time a number of careful and loving nurses approached him he let out a volley of language that was so foul it was funny! And nurses would speed away from his bedside in merry, understanding laughter before having another attempt. When I finally caught a glimpse of this monster, I saw a little white-haired person rather older than me, the picture of a model patient.

But it must have been agony when you came round, wasn't it? Well, I was very sore of course, but all dozy with the anesthetic. And I had this wee button to press which provided morphine. The morphine, however, caused me nausea. Well, my mother had suffered from nausea through strong cancer treatment and I had often wondered what it was like. Aha, I thought now, so this is nausea, poor, poor Mum. I don't like it. We'll do without the morphine and the nausea and see what gives. And I was fine. I took the pain killers on offer and asked for more when I needed them. Pain is managed so much better these days and I felt the benefit of that.

So it was a major operation, wasn't it? Well yes, but they did it with keyhole surgery. One hole for the camera, another for the tools, a couple of drain holes and a wee slit beneath bikini level (me in a bikini??) center front. At least that's what I think the holes were for. And I healed up pretty quickly.

My Recovery

How long did it take for you to recover? The team made sure I had all sorts of support built in back home, lasting for about three full weeks. I owe such a big debt of thanks to the kind people who helped me when I got home, taking it in turns: my cousin from 100 miles away, my best mate from the south of England, my sister from the same part of the world, and specially to my neighbor just up the road who looked in to cherish us both on a daily basis: God bless Dot. We also acquired nice new recipes as our helpers grappled with a strange stove and did things their way (doesn't often happen like that in my house!)

Recovery was quite tricky. Getting well after keyhole surgery is much easier of course, so I felt well very quickly. But of course I got very tired and, bliss, had every excuse to disappear upstairs for a quick kip. Still do. One must remember that this was a major surgical operation and the ensuing trauma is something that lasts for quite a long time. In short I have had to take care, in a more specific manner than is usually meant. I still do.

Two days after I got back, my husband had to deliver a PowerPoint presentation, something he hadn't done before. I spent some time in the morning typing up his lecture and some more time in the afternoon teaching my cousin how to manage the laptop and projector, and making absolutely sure all the images were in place – you know the first time you try to do things on a computer, they all go wrong. They sure did for my husband, poor man, so we grappled with that too. All went well in the event – I just felt overwhelmingly tired after the set off.

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