These boots were made for walking

Today it was cold and blustery, maybe not the best day to decide I wanted to start walking again. My son took the dogs on a good long walk and then said if I wanted to have a walk he would accompany me. I quickly put on a warm coat, tried my boots on but the fluid in my legs and feet is still too much to fasten them so I wore my old dog walking shoes with a pair of warm socks, found a pair of gloves and we set off. We didn’t walk far but oh the sense of achievement to be out and walking standing tall rather than the painful shuffle of the last couple of weeks. After a while I began to look a little grey and my son suggested we call at a local shop, buy a newspaper and some sweets and head home. I was glad of the rest in the shop for a couple of minutes (and impressed by my son’s honesty when he was undercharged and pointed out the shopkeeper’s mistake) then we walked back home and had a bowl of soup to warm ourselves up. I hope to walk a little further each day, without the dogs for the time being, it will help me get stronger and fitter and I’m hoping help the fluid accumulation to disperse.

I got the call.

At 12.35 on Wednesday 25th September 2013 the phone rang, I was fast asleep but woke thinking it was probably my son calling to say he’d be late home or something. Instead a calm voice said “Hello, is that Mrs C D……….? This is the coordinator with Manchester Transplant services, we have a kidney for you, a 6/6 match” In the excitement that followed I could hardly take in what was being said but basically I was told to pack a bag, have something to eat, have a shower and remove all jewellery and prepare to be at Manchester Royal Infirmary (approx 50 miles away) between 5am and 7am . The last thing I was told was to go back to bed and get some sleep – ha as if I could sleep.

I phoned my son who came home and we got the bag packed and had an early breakfast of Weetabix and toast and tried not to panic. I went back to bed but didn’t sleep and after a while got up and had my shower then read until it was time to go.

Arriving at Manchester we were told that there was a slight delay with the kidney – which turned out to be a long delay. At 11pm that night a man walked past the ward with a large white coolbox transplant boxand a few minutes later I was given a gown to put on ready to go to theatre. The operation started at 1.30am and I was back on the ward by 8.20am complete with my new kidney. I felt amazing, possibly because I was full of morphine and was soon sending texts to anyone I thought would be interested to tell them the good news. Reading them back I sound very cheerful …I even praised the hospital food! Over the next couple of days the morphine was reduced then stopped and the euphoria lessened as the pain kicked in. By day six I was at my lowest having started to feel very sick due to the high doses of immunosuppressive drugs and so I was sent home despite saying I really didn’t feel ready.

Once home I followed instructions as well as I could but the drugs were making me sick multiple times each day and after a few days I also developed diarrhea and became very dehydrated despite drinking lots of water. My appetite decreased as the sight or smell of food made me nauseous so by Wednesday (a week after leaving the hospital) I had to go to the local Emergency department and was admitted to our local hospital. Six litres of saline later I felt much better if a little waterlogged. The D&V had lessened although still present and on Friday afternoon I was allowed home again. After a quiet weekend I returned to clinic at the local hospital for a check-up and will resume the twice weekly clinic visits to Manchester on Wednesday.