02 January 2009

Day 10 post-transplant: progress...

Today is 10 days after my kidney transplant. I've been making what I consider to be good progress.

  • My strength is improving; I took my longest walk yet today - only about a block, but the farthest I've gone yet.
  • My incision is healing well; I still have a bit of (yuck) drainage, but much less than I did initially. The surgeon did warn that I would have some due to the extensive surgery required to install Shark's kidney. Most of the incision is scabbed over real nice, too. Did I mention I've got a bunch of cool staples?
  • My swelling is going down rapidly. I had about 10 extra pounds of fluid on me when I left the hospital, almost all in my abdomen. Hence my jokes about feeling pregnant. But since then I've been losing 1-2 pounds per day. I think I'm about 5 or so pounds above where I need to be. But it's easy to lose...just keep peeing!
  • My new kidney is working like mad. I didn't know that Shark was a race horse. I am peeing out a good 3-4 liters every day. And, pardon the expression, the pee looks good! This, of course, is the number one most important measure of how the surgery has gone.
  • My blood pressure and pulse are much much much better than they were prior to the surgery. While I was on dialysis, my blood pressure would regularly rise to 200/115 and my pulse was sometimes too fast or irregular. Now both are well controlled, although my pressure is still a tetch high.
  • When I first got home, I occasionally developed a temperature which went away with Tylenol. These have stopped and my temperatures are good.
  • I'm doing more household activities like eating dinner at the table with the rest of the family, climbing the stairs to take a real shower in my own shower. It's easier to get around and my surgical site doesn't really cause me too much pain, just discomfort.
  • Psychologically, I'm doing better than my first couple days back home. I attribute this to, among other things, going back to my pre-dialysis dose of my antidepressant, Lexapro. When my last kidney stopped working, the Lexapro would build up in my system since I could no longer excrete it. So after a couple days of my regular dose, I'd be so buzzed I couldn't sleep. Therefore I halved my dose (with approval of my shrink). Now that I have a working kidney, I'm excreting the medicine normally again. Since I was beginning to feel symptoms of depression, I've gone back to my full dose. It seems to be helping.
  • I'm sleeping better and pretty much through the night. Except for getting up to pee. Did I mention that?
  • My brain is getting less fuzzy. Uremia has the unfortunate effect of making your gray matter work less efficiently.
  • I have a ravenous appetite. I haven't had an appetite in, um, well, years. Another unfortunate symptom of uremia. Now I like food again, which is important to healing.
10 days down, 32 to go until my six-week milestone. So far, so good.