In which I get a kidney!
A few weeks ago, I had my regular clinic appointment and my nephrologist and I were talking about the D word. While I wasn’t stoked about doing dialysis, I had resigned myself to what was going to be my new normal and did what obsessive me does: googled the heck out of what other people’s experiences on dialysis were in an attempt to prepare for me doing dialysis. The Librarian and I and started making plans for the house and I started making plans for work and class to accommodate this new routine. I was resigned to accept this new normal and then, I got the call: “How would you like a kidney?”
The call came in while I was at work, planning for an upcoming program and chatting with my team. I literally dropped everything, let my director know I needed to leave for labs and then…I waited.
Lots of waiting.
I didn’t want to believe it; the previous week I was told that “everyone does dialysis” and that “it would take years before I get a kidney” and suddenly I was getting the call. I didn’t want to believe it because I had not planned, and I didn’t get a chance to obsess and fret. I didn’t want to believe it because these things don’t happen to me.
Except it *was* happening and it was happening to me.
When I texted my family’s group chat, everyone had advice. My sister kept telling me to pack a bag for the hospital. My mom and aunt (who have both received calls of their own) gave me encouragement but it all of this still didn’t seem real. I, Rachee, am getting a kidney?! The days went on as usual. Went to class, went to work. Chatted it up with my team and ate my leftovers from lunch. The Librarian tried to keep me occupied with games and errands and such until we got the call: Come to the hospital by 9.
I finally packed the bag and foolish me, thinking “I’m going to be in the hospital for just a few days and probably will be bored” packed the sweater I was knitting, three books, a magazine, my computer and a pair of pajamas and then The Librarian and I headed to the hospital.
The staff at Penn were phenomenal. I have my qualms with Penn but for this occasion, they were phenomenal. They made me feel comfortable, kept me in the loop and explained everything that would happen, why they were doing what they did and explained every step of the procedure. The nurses (who don’t get enough flowers, props, or pay) were attentive and present. The many people parading in and out of my room never made me feel like I was a burden or unimportant. I will say that there were times I felt like I was in an episode of Scrubs (My Fifteen Seconds) because the way those docs would whisk in and out of the room was kind of dizzying.
Surgery was a blur. I remember chatting with the anesthesia team (I managed a lil humble brag about running) and then I was in recovery feeling like my throat was on fire. There was some singing, and some goofy chatting and then I was back in my room.
My family and friends were great. Sending well wishes through text, visits and just being there to grab things or walk the halls. It’s hard for me to let people help. *I* am the person but it’s humbling to let others do for me and it’s so appreciated.
Two weeks out and recovery is going. It is a practice of patience and grace and forcing me to slow down and allow my body a chance to get better. Each day is different and it’s a process allowing myself to be nice to myself to allow healing. I am thrilled with this second chance and look forward to getting back to doing all of the things I have been putting off because sick and tired and not feeling well.