Today 09/09/05 is the one year anniversary of my kidney transplant operation. It's a crazy thing to think about that last year I had already hopped on a flight from LA to Kansas City and was sitting in a hospital room waiting to be taken into surgery. If memory serves I got my call at about 4:00 in the morning last year. I was then on a plane that left LA at 6:15 and was in KC a little before noon, central time. The operation itself didn't happen until much later in the day like ten or eleven o'clock if I'm remembering right. So this time last year I was lying in a hospital bed as a parade of nurses and doctors came in and out asking me the same questions about drug allergies, taking my temperature and blood pressure over and over, drawing gallons of blood, and hooking my up to all sorts of monitors and IVs.
The last thing I remember before the surgery was being wheeled on a gurney into the or and moved onto the operating table. The table had wings where my arms could be extended out and strapped down. I thought about the pictures I'd seen of lethal injection tables in prisons and how they have the same arm rests. They moved me on to the table and got me situated. I looked around the room and I could see a cart that had a large stainless steel bowl on it. The bowl was covered with a small cloth, resting in a shallow box that had been packed with ice. It was my new kidney. I wanted to ask if I could see it but then then somebody put something in my IV and everything went fuzzy. Then they put the gas mask on me and I was out.
The next thing I remember, I remember as though I had my eyes closed while it was happening, which I probably did. Somehow I was aware that the operation was over, I had arrived in the recovery room, and I needed to move from the OR gurney into the recovery room bed. A simple task complicated by A: The million tubes that were running in and out of various natural and man-made holes in my body and B: The twelve inch gash someone had cut into my stomach and stapled shut. I remember trying to move and feeling lots of hands gently guiding this effort and I remember the searing pain in my gut. According to my father, who was present, I let loose with a stream of obscenities that had the nurses blushing.
When I finally came to in the recovery room I was in a great deal of pain and I was more thirsty (thirstier?) than I've ever been in my life. My throat was so dry it felt like I was drinking gravel every time I swallowed. Then one of the nice nurses introduced me to the magical world in intravenous pain killers and that pretty much set the tone for the rest of my hospital stay.
So that was me one year ago today. I have a lot of thoughts and emotions about this personal landmark. Six moths ago I had a blog post that dealt with this and I feel pretty much the same today so I'm not going to bother repeating myself. Check the archives if you must. Tomorrow night is my kidney's first anniversary party. I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully it will be the first of many.