After a night of seriously restless sleep I was awoken by the nurse talking to Oli at around 7am. He was to go down to the operating theatre at around half past, but beforehand we both had to have a dose of IV antibiotics - just to prevent any infection in and immediately after the surgery. Oli went first and after about 3 minutes started to itch his head furiously saying it was the worst itching he'd ever endured, he then pointed out his right hand was swelling up. The nurse immediately went to fetch a doctor, meanwhile another nurse started me up on the exact same antibiotics. Sure enough my head began to itch - it felt like millions of little bugs were running over my scalp - not exactly the most pleasant feeling - and my right hand also bizarrely started to swell. The Doctor arrived and stopped the antibiotics straight away and murmured something about it being a dodgy batch....not exactly a great start to the day!
It was then time for Oli to walk the green mile to the theatre. I think although he was a little nervous I was quite a lot more so and also so overcome with what an incredible thing he was doing. I tearfully gave him a massive hug and wished him all the luck in the world, and then he was gone.
About half an hour after Oli left, my surgeon arrived at my bed and explained that he had been called to do an urgent bowel reconstruction and would we mind if the other transplant surgeon performed the operation. Of course, I said this was absolutely fine. I would have been perfectly happy with either of the surgeons as they both have fantastic reputations and are lovely people. Prof Hakim was our surgeon in the end and he's the world president of the International College of Surgeons, and the surgical director of the West London Transplant Unit - I was in the hands of a celebrity in the medical world!
What then followed was possibly the longest two hours of my life...I even actually started pacing round the ward in my gown clutching a pillow. Not a good look.
When I was finally called to go down to theatre, I was terrified. It was an incredibly surreal feeling going through the theatre doors knowing that when I next went out of them my life would be changed forever.My Mum waiting for me to come out of surgery.
A lovely anesthetist then put me to sleep - and then the next thing I remember is opening my eyes in recovery with a nurse waving a big bag of wee at me happily saying "It's working! You're peeing for England!" Hoorah! I then asked how Oli was doing and they assured me that he was absolutely fine and had gone back up to the ward. I was so relieved that the operation had been a success!
I've only had one dose of general anesthetic before and when I awoke I remember feeling terrible....really groggy and I drifted in and out of sleep for the next 24 hours. But this was completely different. It's kind of hard to explain to someone that hasn't experienced kidney failure but I'll give it a go. It was almost as if before the operation my head was kind of foggy, I couldn't concentrate on anything for long and walked round in a daze a lot of the time. Suddenly everything felt clear, everything looked brighter, more real and colours more vivid and as I discovered later on things smelt better and best of all tasted better! I also noticed straight away that it wasn't an effort to move my arms or legs anymore. All of these things I hadn't even realised weren't normal when I was on dialysis, I knew my limbs felt heavy and I remember thinking on many occasions how much easier it would be if I didn't have to 'carry' my arms around. After the operation straight away it wasn't an effort to move anymore, it just felt....easy.
Oli's Dad and my Mum chat to me as I come out of surgery.
Oli recovering after the op.
The nurse also showed me my scar whilst I was in my four hour stint in recovery. 54 staples - Impressive! My flatmate took this photo immediately after the operation. The surgeons had put tegaderm (like a sticky clingfilm) so they could monitor it for any bleeds.
I was then wheeled back up the ward and on the way I saw my anxious family, boyfriend and flatmate all waiting. I gave a little wave and then was whizzed off in to the high dependency ward in a bed next to a very sleepy Oli. As I lay in bed that night I realised just how many tubes I was hooked up to - a catheter, my tessio line (used to administer meds), an ECG machine for my heart, 3 cannulas in my hands, blood pressure cuff, oxygen nasal specs and the best thing of all my self administrative pain killers - I was given a little button to press every time I wanted more...ah how I loved that. They ended up getting rid of it when I wasn't looking the next day as I was a bit click happy. Spoilsports.
I took this myself on the evening of the transplant. Everyone remarked on how much pinker I looked straight away which was fantastic! I look a little puffy as they constantly pumped me full of fluid to getting Kasper 2 to work his hardest straight away.
I fell asleep exhausted after the most nerve wracking, scary but also absolutely amazing day of my life.
Sending some smiles!
3 weeks ago