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 and 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.