APPROVAL...or How My Wife Became My Donor

written on July 1, 2014

Finally, Cedars came through and gave us the good news last Thursday – my wife’s been approved as a living donor!  Yay!  That means soon I’ll have another kidney.  Hopefully a new kidney will last a good 20 years, just so I don’t have to continue with dialysis.  I know receiving a kidney doesn’t mean my body won’t reject it, it doesn’t mean I won’t have horrible side effects from all the medications.  It does mean I should be able to take a break from dialysis, at least for a little while.  Hopefully for the rest of my life.  We’ll have to wait and see.

It’s exciting for me to know that she’s approved.  That she loves me enough to want to donate.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to return this gift of life – how can I, really?  I’ll never be able to give her a kidney if something happens to her remaining one.

In addition to the excitement there’s also some trepidation on my part.  I’m considering a kidney transplant to be a huge deal.  It worries me that something might happen to either one or both of us.  I don’t like to think about it, but there’s always the chance.  Plus, my wife’s lifestyle will have to change somewhat after the surgery.  She won’t be able to eat a high protein diet any longer.  She also won’t be able to take any pain medications other than Tylenol (acetaminophen).  She’ll probably have to watch how much alcohol she drinks.  There might be other limitations afterwards, but I haven’t heard of what they might be.

We’re trying to figure out what to do with me after the surgery.  I won’t be able to be around the kids for at least the first month, if not the full 3-month recovery.  The big concern is them bringing home something from daycare that I will then catch and take forever to recover from.  It’s going to be hard enough recovering from the surgery, but not having an immune system and then getting a cold or the flu or something won’t be too good. 

Right after I came home from the hospital the first time, a week later I caught some virus from our daughter and had to go back to the hospital.  I was only there for 2 days, but trust me, I don’t want to have to go back to the hospital after the transplant.  The goal will be to stay as healthy as possible so maybe the kidney has a better chance of making it.

So where do I go?  I’m thinking we need to send the kids to someone’s house for the week or two of my wife’s recovery, that way she doesn’t have to worry about the kids.  And she also won’t have to worry about getting sick herself.  If you don’t have kids of your own, trust me when I say they are little germ factories.  Especially when they’re around other kids every day.

I know we’ll figure it out.  Just another obstacle to overcome in the race to get me well.