The Rest of the Story
The Rest of the Story
I was in the hospital for four days. Doesn’t that seem fast to have a whole organ put in your body and then have them send you home three days later? I was surprised too. I wasn’t sure I was ready to go home. I was still overwhelmed with how fast everything went, from the phone call to the discharge day. I had been given so much transplant education and even quizzed on it during those four days. The amount of “anti rejection” medications scared me. I had a chart so I knew when to take them and what they were for but I just wanted to make sure I had it altogether.
I was assured by teams of people (including a social worker) that I was ready.They all made things as easy as they could for me. I joined the “Transplant Pharmacy, “who equipped me with a U of M duffel bag, filled with ALL my medications.They even included a blood pressure monitor, a thermometer, and every item that I would be using. The pharmacy will also ship my medications to me every month.
And so…I went home.
I have been doing extremely well. I am not saying it’s been easy. The anti-rejection medications really kick my butt on a regular basis. There’s so many pills and so many side effects. One of the pills tends to make people moody and emotional – Doug said, “yes, we need more of that in the house.”
A couple of the other medications make me unbelievably nauseous. As time goes on the medications will be tapered off to a life-time maintenance. I also have to go to the U of M Hospital once a week for six weeks and to a lab here in Lansing, once a week. Those things will change too.
But I can’t complain because I got a kidney! I got a kidney.
There’s so much more that I want to say about this experience because it’s on-going but from a different perspective now. This morning I woke up at 5am – still on that dialysis schedule:-)
As I sat at my computer with the house all quiet, I started writing what I guess you would call a “thank you” letter to my donor’s family. Thank you doesn’t seem like it’s nearly enough though and there are strict guidelines that I have to follow when writing to them.
I finished the letter, very mindful that two weeks ago I got a kidney and they lost a family member. I told them how much I appreciated the selfless gift that I received and what this kidney means to me and my family. I also wrote that I hoped my letter brings them some comfort. I asked them if (when and if, they felt it appropriate) they could write to me and tell me about the donor.
The letter doesn’t go directly to the family. It goes to a group called,”Gift of Life.” The group then forwards the letter on to the family. If they choose to write to me, it goes through the same process. The group does not allow you to tell the family any personal information like your full Name, Address, City or State. I could only sign my first name. I think that changes when both sides decide they want to communicate on a regular basis.
I hope that I do hear from them. I’d love to find out what my donor’s hobbies were, what kinds of things made he/she laugh, what they felt was special about their family member. I already know what I think is special about the person. He/She…saved my life.
So there won’t be a “to be continued…” because you all know the rest of the story. I would really like it if you all who have been a part of my journey – by praying for me, showing your support and reading this blog, would comment with questions for me. I think that would make a good next blog.