Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Diary of a Transplant Patient - Part 4

'Diary of a Transplant Patient' sections:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

I woke up exhausted the next day. And when I finally did get to doze, that's when rounds started: blood pressure, temperature, getting generally judged by doctors on state of health. I was always last for rounds so if I knew I had any big decisions coming up, I always had to endure another 15 minutes in deep anticipation, watching them move from bed to bed. And given being in this ward meant I was a day closer to home, every doctors' round was filled with anticipation.
When it was my turn, I remember listening patiently to completely differing advice from each consultant with a dazed smile on my face. Finally, the chart on my own bed was consulted and yes, my catheter, central line (neck) and one wrist cannula were to be removed. I double punched the air at this news and nearly cracked up when the most serious looking doctor there copied me then suddenly looked around in awkward confusion at to what he'd just done.

Catheter removal (a touch graphic)
Now, catheters don't come out easily. Unless you know what you're doing. Which many patients don't. As they try to remove them themselves. Once inserted, a tiny balloon is inflated to prevent it from falling out. This therefore causes the....'braver' souls who wish to remove them by themselves more pain than needed.
For me, the nurse talked at me the whole time to distract me, then told me to take a deep breath. I felt a weird pluck then it was pulled all the way out.
I have never appreciated getting up and going to the toilet by myself more. Yes, I now had to measure my urine input/output to ensure I was drinking enough, but quite frankly, I couldn't give a rats.

Central vein line
As this cannula was connected to a central vein, she informed me that she was going to add extra pressure to ensure everything stayed where it should after the removal. She did this, then stuck the world's largest bandage onto my neck. The other nurse came in, saw me and exclaimed '.....did...did you just try to hack her head off?'
I was now left with a major, and I'm talking 'vacuum with teeth' style, love bite. The bandage was later replaced with a transparent plaster which unfortunately gave the impression that I'd developed a bizarre skin problem. I hadn't realised this until I had guests and a friend stared at my neck in concern.

So. I now had the one cannula in my arm and the drain in my side (which required me to carry a bottle which I had to keep lower than my waist everywhere). But now I could go to the loo and get more comfortable in bed. To celebrate, I decided to go to sleep at 10pm, ready to conk out.
Sadly, this was not to be.
Just as a settled, I was given an injection to help the new kidney meld with the rest of me. I thought nothing of it until I realised I was getting so physically warm, I was longing for ice. Not to eat...but to lie in. I've been sunny warm, I've been running around warm. This was internal furnace warm. I've never felt anything like it. On top of that when I lay down and tried to relax, I was hit by a demon of an adrenaline rush, which coursed through my body for several hours. My entire body, and I mean literally every muscle, would tense for about 2 seconds, every 3 seconds. And those 3 seconds were bliss after the clench. I've never felt so physically furious in my entire life and I literally had no reason to feel that angry. Turns out I'd been given a light steroid injection and due to my metabolism, it was having a seriously intense effect on my body.
At one point, I actually tried gumming my arm to distract me. I soon realised this was a bad idea as I was actually at risk of biting a chunk.
So after half an hour of trying to get comfortable, I surrendered, sat up and continued writing my blog then watched a film, with my legs outside the cover and one foot desperately massaging the other. That seemed to focus the energy and placate me enough to ride out the hours for it to pass through my system.

I knew I was ready for sleep again when my legs gradually slowed and relaxed. And I knew that wouldn't be the last time I endured that.

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