I woke up with a powerfully dry mouth.
It felt like the Sahara Desert in mouth, and it tasted like a dog snuck in and pooped in my mouth. Man, I was sore below my stomach, and I could barely move. I felt a little like I had played a really rough hockey game. I came to rather grogilly, and suddenly the dryness in my mouth was so overwhelming that I began to choke on my own tongue. I begged a nurse for some water, but they said I wasn't allowed. I began to choke so badly, I cried - luckily, my mother was there at my bedside and she got them to give me these swabs dipped in water that I could suck on - that gave me enough moisture to whet my tongue and keep me from choking on it. I wish I didn't have such a huge damn tongue.
But, suddenly, there I was - aware that I was through the surgery. The last thing I remember is being in the waiting room downstairs. I was on a gurney, with IV fluids attached. My Dad was waiting next to me - and they came for him first. He grabbed my hand, and I looked him in the eyes. He winked and then was gone. They came for me a short time later - and I remember laying on my back, looking up at the sterile white hallway, and the bright lights - thinking about how things would change when we were done. I was getting my transplant. I had been on dialysis for eleven months, and it was starting to wear on me. I thought about how lucky I was that my father was a match and how quickly we got a transplant.
Like most people, before I was sick, I thought you just lost a kidney and BAM you get a transplant. Lickity split. Like they have a stock-pile of them - or that so many people die everyday and they all donate organs so there's plenty to go around. There aren't. People wait years for organs. (As of this writing, I've been back on the Transplant waiting list for almost four years. Who knows how long I'd wait if my father in law hadn't decided to donate.) And when you decide to get a transplant, it's not as simple as "Oh! Here's your transplant! Lovely!" You have to go through training and eduction about transplants, and taking care of one is no simple task. Caring for a transplanted organ is difficult and time consuming - though you still have more freedom than being tied to a dialysis machine.
So, there I was, wheeled into the O.R. The lights were low, and nurses and doctors ran around, all gowned up. There was some music playing. It was Barry White of all things. I chuckled and said "Low lights....Barry White.... Are you trying to seduce me, Doc?" The room cracked up. And the anesthesiologist put the mask on my face. I took a couple of breaths, and floated off to sleep.
And then we're back to me waking up. After I got my bearings and noticed that my mouth was dry, I then noticed a large tube and bag attached to my nethers. I looked inside the foley catheter. I was full. It was full of glorious, beautiful, yellow pee. I've never been so happy to see urine in my life. There have been times in the past where I pee'd, and I was so relived to do it.... but this.... the nurse came in and said "Oh! I have to empty it again! You've been making pee like crazy. You started making urine on the operating table!"
The operation appeared to be a success. I couldn't believe it.
My Mom, however, looked grave.
"Nothing, honey... everything went great for you...."
"Yeah, and Dad?"
"Well.... there was a complication during the removal...."
My heart sank.