Build Up To Transplant and Surgery
Last updated: May 2023
During my time at university, it was confirmed at my a hospital appointment that my kidney function was too low and my creatinine level too high, so I would need a kidney transplant. Although I knew it was coming, it still hit hard. I was only just coming to terms with the fact I have lupus and chronic kidney disease, so now to be told I would require major surgery was scary.
Leading up to surgery
I had never had an operation before and I would have to be put to sleep for it, so my mind was doing overtime to try and process everything. I’m very lucky that I had family members willing to get tested to see if they could be a match for me.
My mum was tested, but unfortunately, she was not a suitable match. Then my gran was tested, but again, was not a suitable match. My grandad was the final family member to be tested and thankfully, he was a match and was willing to do it for me.
He was to undergo various tests before the procedure could actually take place. The first test was to check his physical and mental health. A full medical history check was taken by a doctor which included weight, height, and body mass index (BMI). At first, there were some concerns surrounding my grandad's health as they discovered a problem with one of his arteries. Thankfully, after further tests were carried out and we were given the all clear, they decided that the procedure was safe to proceed.
The day of the surgery
The night before my surgery, my mum dropped me off at hospital as they had to prepare me for the next day. My grandad would come in the morning of the operation. He was taken down to surgery first where they would remove his kidney.
I was waiting anxiously hoping my grandad would be ok when they came to take me down to surgery and it was a relief when they told me he was in recovery. But now, it was my turn. I was going to be cut open and a new kidney inserted into me. As I lay on the operating table scared of what was to come, the surgeons were prepping me by putting the blood pressure cuff on and the oximeter on my finger to check my pulse. Shortly after, they gave me a sedative and moments later, I was knocked out!
About 4 hours later, I was woken up by the surgeons. I was feeling extremely groggy wondering what was going on. Shortly after getting my bearings, I realized the operation had been done. I was in the recovery room for about 45 minutes so the nurses could ensure there were no complications. Once they were satisfied, I was taken to the main ward and I could see the relief in my mum and gran's faces when they saw me. My grandad was in the bed next to me. I will never forget what he did for me. He donated a vital organ just to help his grandchild. I would do anything for him.
Pain after my kidney transplant
The pain following the surgery was agonizing. I could not cough or burp. I had some morphine given to me when ever I pressed a bell. I was constantly using it due to the pain. I also started getting cramps in my stomach. I was constantly crying for my mum in the middle of the night.
I was not allowed to eat anything until I let go of some wind so I think that’s one of the reasons why I was getting the cramps. When I farted for the first time, I felt so much better and I was then allowed to slowly start eating. I was peeing into a catheter bag and was able to walk around, so things were looking up.
My grandad went home after about 4 days, and then 3 or 4 days later, they released me. It was time to go home to rest and recuperate. Once I was home, I had to take it easy and rest for about 3 months, which is the recommended time for recovery from a kidney transplant.
Do you have chronic kidney disease without any symptoms?