I'm a nerd.
Ever since I was a kid, the minutiae of fine nerdery has attracted me - I reveled in my Star Wars toys, I loved my Spider-Man and Batman comics, and I read fantasy literature. I still love all that - so I was very excited that shortly after my transplant in November of 2003, "Return of The King", the third installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, was being released. I have to admit, in secret, I was worried about my surgery because I was afraid something might happen and I'd not be able to see it (or God forbid, I wouldn't live to see the final chapter of the Star Wars prequel trilogy in 2005!).
So it was with great joy that I could leave the house and go to the theater to see "Return of The King". I went with my brother - the previous year, we had gone and seen "The Two Towers" together. I remember that vividly because at that point, I was so sick - but I wanted to see the movie so bad I made myself go. I was miserable during it, and my vision was already starting to get blurry. I, in fact, DID lose my vision before I was diagnosed. I remember going to see Gangs of New York in the theatre, and not being able to even see the GIANT movie screen - it was just color blurs.
When you're on dialysis, you're on a fluid restriction - your kidneys don't work, you don't make urine - hence you don't pee. If you don't pee, EVERY LIQUID YOU INGEST STAYS IN YOUR SYSTEM. So, if I had two 500 ml bottles of water, that's 1 liter of fluid that just stays in my body - and that's 1 kilogram of weight I gain. (2.2 lbs. Every time you pee 500 mls, you lose a pound people.) So, with my new kidney - I indulged myself on a GIANT movie sized cup of soda. Sweet, delicious Soda. I, in fact, had two during the course of the movie, and I peed each one out. That's a long movie. But it was worth it.
Things were going great - I was visiting the transplant clinic twice a week after the transplant, and my labs were awesome. My creatinine levels were about 1.7, which was really good. Creatinine is a muscle waste product, and the level of it is often used to measure kidney function. Normal (off the top of my head) can range from 0.9-1.9 in people. So I was doing great. But towards the end of December, the creatinine rose just slightly. They did an ultrasound and they found that my lymphatic channels hadn't healed correctly, and were dumping lymphatic fluid into my peritoneal cavity - which was putting pressure on the graft and elevating my creatinine. I was told I'd need to have a small surgical procedure called a peritoneal window. Basically, they'd cut a small hole so the fluid would drain into a cavity that would absorb it, and I'd just pee it out. Problem solved. I was told I'd be in on Friday and out by Monday. No Biggie.
I had registered for classes to return to school and finish up my remaining three semesters, and I was excited about it all - I was feeling great, I was motivated and eager to finish school, and move on with life. I told my professors I'd be out for a couple of days, I got my assignments and checked into the hospital.
I didn't leave for almost two months.