This time last year…

I was sitting in Manchester Royal Infirmary waiting for a kidney transplant. The kidney finally arrived around 11pm and I was taken down to theatre shortly afterwards. So today is my official anniversary of getting Sidney the kidney. What a year it’s been, the transplant went well but in the weeks and months afterwards I became severely dehydrated and had to be hospitalised, developed Leukopenia due to one of the anti rejection drugs (leukopenia is a severe lack of white blood cells, dangerous because it leaves the patient seriously at risk of infection.)

By the summer I was feeling better and enjoyed the first half of the summer holidays sewing, gardening and attending weddings. I was due to attend my nephews wedding on the 15th of August but woke on the 13th with a temperature of 40.5degrees, shivering and vomiting. Our GP came to visit and immediately called an ambulance, probably saving my life in the process. Arriving at the hospital I was given fluids and started on antibiotics. Over the next two weeks I had two further episodes of very high temperatures, rigours and vomiting, in each case my blood pressure dropped dangerously low and more fluids, steroids, antibiotics and oxygen were needed to help me survive. Once home I suffered a further relapse less than a week later and returned to the A&E department of the hospital where I required resuscitation as my blood pressure dropped so low. I’m now home again recuperating, the sepsis had left me with difficulties standing, walking, poor balance, I have difficulties concentrating for long and get tired very quickly. I am however very aware that I am one of the lucky ones to have survived sepsis with only minor problems. The infection came not from my transplanted kidney but from one of the old kidneys which may need to be removed once the infection is finally gone. I will need to take strong antibiotics for some weeks yet to ensure that it is destroyed. During the weeks in hospital my transplanted kidney did lose some function but the fluids, steroids and other treatment  protected it as much as possible and the function is gradually improving again.

So it’s been an eventful year, I marked today’s anniversary by walking round the full block with my walking stick, the furthest I’ve walked for the past couple of months, in the sunshine. I thought about the donor and gave thanks for his/her generosity in registering as a donor and that of the family for carrying out those wishes in the difficult hours after the death of their relative.