Feels like I skipped some vital parts of the story, right? But that’s the difference between one day and the next. One day, you’re functioning at about 9% and the next, you have a new kidney. Your wife’s kidney. Who just happens to be a match. And who’s love and selflessness was so great she gave it up for me. Wow.
After I heard Cassie came through with flying colors, it was my turn. They transported me to the prep room where they had me answer more questions and went over the procedure with me. When they brought me in the nurses there told the attendant to put me over in the same corner where Cassie had been earlier. I can’t say enough about the medical teams and nursing staff at Stanford. They are truly top notch and worth every penny. The level of care we both received was beyond our expectations. The entire team came in to introduce themselves and to make sure I knew what was about to happen and to give me a chance to ask any questions. Then it was just the waiting as they prepped the room. The lone nurse left with me sat there and asked about our story, so I told her. I told her how amazing it was to find out we were a match. How more amazing it was Cassie was willing to do this for me. And how seemingly miraculous it was that it all came together the way it did. She listened intently with a smile on her face as I recalled our story.
Then it was time.
They wheeled me in and transferred me to the table. Pretty soon, I was out like a light. I don’t even remember going under anesthesia, but I do remember waking up. Suddenly, I was in a completely different room. I was hooked up to multiple IVs and had two tubes in my arm and three in my neck. I had monitors on my body and I had to lie still for twelve hours following the surgery, but they let Cassie come in and sit with me for a while. They escorted her into my room, and pulled up a chair for her next to my bed so we could hold hands. Then they quietly left and gave us time to ourselves. I told her how much I loved her and she said the same and we just sat quietly in the room holding hands with the night sky as our back drop.
I was drifting in and out of sleep those twelve hours. The nursing staff would come in frequently to check my vitals and see how I was doing. I wasn’t allowed to have water or anything right away (apparently the anesthesia can make you quite nauseous and some people react badly – that’s the last thing you want after major surgery to your body). But after those twelve hours, they let me have a liquid diet meal for breakfast to see how I would do. After that went well, they bumped me up to real food. Everything seemed to be going well for my recovery. Three (the new kidney) started working right away. Like Cassie, Three is a no nonsense kind of kidney and wanted to get right to the job. Pretty soon I was pumping out liquids and things were moving along.
Cassie’s recovery was quite miraculous. It hasn’t even been a week and she’s already off the pain meds they gave us (not me though – it’s going to take a bit longer for me). She left the hospital the next day! Leading a carnivore lifestyle has really helped Cassie’s body to become much more fit and healthy and she was the talk of the floor. Everyone who came in to see me commented how extraordinary her recovery was. I was so happy for her. The only sad part was I would be alone in the hospital, but it was great to see her get better so soon.
And it wasn’t bad for me at all. My recovery was going better than expected. They had originally projected I would be in the hospital until at least Sunday if not Monday, but as the week progressed, they decided I would be well enough to go home on Saturday! Again, I can’t say enough about the nursing staff at Stanford. They deserve every penny they were asking for. They were there for me and Cassie 24 hours a day. They always had a great attitude and a positive demeanor. They helped us without question. They offered to do things for us without us even asking. And they made sure we were well taken care of. And they were so polite on top of it all! Just an outstanding experience. If you need quality medical care, being at Stanford would be a blessing.
Saturday came and after getting two more doses of anti-rejection medication, I was sent on my way. The pharmacy staff came by and trained me on how to use my new medication. They also gave me a care package of medical goodies to help me and make sure I had everything I needed to succeed. Tiffany, the social worker came by and when I needed to talk (feeling a bit overwhelmed with the care I would need post-surgery), she came without question and sat with me as we worked on solutions together. I felt a whole lot better. Alex, my dietician called to give me support and to answer any questions, and the doctors came by whenever there was a question the nurses couldn’t answer right away. Even though I didn’t have my family in the room with me, I never felt alone and always felt much love and support. When it was finally time to leave, a bunch of the nurses and staff came to see me off. As I got wheeled off the floor, I felt ready for the next phase in my kidney journey. The road to recovery…