Thursday, September 1, 2016

The funniest thing that happened after donating my kidney.

I cant believe that I forgot this event when I wrote up the kidney recap.

Thursday morning I get the go ahead to check out. I'm not feeling that great, mainly nauseous from the "breakfast" that they gave me but as I stated in the recap if I take anti nausea meds they wouldn't clear me to go. So I suck it up, and call Danielle and begin to gather my things.

As i'm gathering my personals a nurse comes in that I never saw before. I had 2 nurses. The night nurse, a man named Sebastian, who looked a bit like John Kilcullen, and a cute red head who i H ad stick a suppository up my bum for 2 reasons. 1, I've never done it to myself, and 2, mainly I figured we might as well get a little more intimate. This new nurse I think was the discharge nurse. Very nice either way.

Remember now,  I'm just in my robe, no undies, no nothing. Right where I want to be. As I begin to legitimately struggle to get changed she comes in to have me sign something, I have no idea what.  She sees that I am having hard time because of the surgery but mainly because i'm bloated and nauseous.

To set the stage my clothes are on the window ledge, which looks south upon the FDR drive. So there  I am hunched over amazingly in font of said window ass hanging out for all of the east side of Manhattan to see, on purpose you may ask. Yes, obviously. She sees me struggling, and without realizing it exposing my tushie and very nicely tries to help by moving me over while simultaneously trying to close the curtain which she couldn't do because of all of my stuff in the way.

So here we are, me hunched over, back in front of the window, and as she tries to spin me around to help I keep going the wrong way so the whole show is now exposed.She is now frantically trying to help me put on my underwear but for some reason its not going well my ass is still sticking out the robe, yet again in front of the window no matter how gently she tries to persuade me away I keep ending up hunched over in front of the window I keep turning around and my robe keeps riding up allowing my private to not so privately swing around in front of the window and everyone which then makes her move even faster to help me get dressed but, somehow, my robe keeps flopping around.  At this point my childish game gives me way to much joy but that only helps to further  irritate my upset tummy more but it was worth it. She finally helps me hike my undies up and give me a look like don't be embarrassed . I thank her as she leaves. I was really feeling like crap that morning so my childish excursion really helped, for a bit that is.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Do you want to build a kidney man

I awoke today with an upset tum tum because last night I celebrated with friends and even though I only had 2.5 drinks my body was not happy when I got home. In fact it was down right annoyed with me.

Why was it annoyed you ask. Thanks for asking btw. because 2.5 weeks ago I donated a kidney and my body is still healing so throwing some delicious booze into it doesn't help matters much.

How did I get here? This is not my beautiful wife, etc. etc. Talking Heads songs etc.

Lets try this again. How did I end up donating one of my kidneys. Well lets go into the way back machine and figure this out.

Earlier this year (2016) A friend, who I will call "George" to hide his identity put out a distress call. "George" had a problem, his kidneys were failing him and he needed a transplant or else he would be resigned to a life of dialysis. Not a great prognosis for a young, active guy so I read it, Danielle read it we were saddened for him, and wanted to help. So I reached out to him asking what the steps were.

Danielle and I, along with some others that I know of began the process of seeing if we were able to donate. At first it was a simple email questionnaire. I passed it, Danielle failed, she was out.

Next step was some blood work to check some things. Blood type, what's in my blood, how does our blood react together etc. etc.

So I show up, give about 174 vials of blood meet with some people and away i go.

About a 2 weeks later I get a call saying your a potential match. We'd like it if you came in for the real test to see if you'd make an acceptable donor.

At this point I start thinking "Holy Shit! I just filled out an online form because I thought It was a good thing to do but I didn't think i'd keep getting called back!"

At this point "George" said there was others ahead of me in the testing phase so I was confident that I was not going to donate, what are the chances.........idiot.

I set up the appt. for the big test and I was instructed to collect my pee the day before the big test, and keep it cold the entire time. That was fun.....

The big test day has arrived.

I was told to arrive at nine am and expect to be there all day. Okay, I arrive at nine and begin the day.
First, i'm checked in then I get my blood pressure checked. It is a little high so I am ordered a 24 hour blood pressure monitor to wear and I'm sent on my way to another room. In room 2 a lot of blood, A LOT OF BLOOD is drawn. My blood pressure is checked again this time its back down to regular numbers.

Next room! I meet with my coordinator. The donor coordinator was my advocate throughout this process, she didn't know George at all, not a bit about his case.Her entire job is to focus on the donor.This was all done with my safety, and rights in mind. A very interesting process.

Next room! The social worker. This was where things started to get heavy. We had a nice conversation and then she very smoothly started getting into more serious questions, basically checking my mental state.

Some of the questions were about how I would do if the kidney is rejected, if "George" doesn't take care of my kidney, what if I get sick due to donating. I answered everything correctly I guess since we ended our conversation and I moved on to the physical tests.

I got x-rayed, CT scanned, EKG you name it and I went through it. The CT scan was odd. I was injected with this white liquid that went into my arm and I felt this hot liquid crawl into the back of my throat, right down my spine through my taint and then faded away.

I go home. It took about 5 hours so almost a full day. I went home thinking "Okay, lets see what's next."

Next step was the 24 hour blood pressure monitor. What a pain in the ass that was. I did it, sent to back and waited. While I waited the hospital called. I had to redo the blood and urine test they didn't like one result.So I got a little more blood drawn and start thinking that this is probably where I will get disqualified. Or the blood pressure. Either way I figured something will disqualify me.

A week after I retake the blood test and sent back the monitor I get a call from the hospital. Surprise, surprise they cleared me! The blood test came back fine, as was my blood pressure. I was told to take at least a week, talk it over with my family and decide if i want to do this. I have to say that the hospital throughout this process was fantastic, at no time did they ever pressure me into anything. They made it perfectly clear  that this was my choice and I could say no at any time. They are amazing people.

I  took a week, talked to my brain trust, my family. In my head I was trying to find a way to not donate simply because I didn't want to do it.

After a week of really deep contemplation I couldn't justify saying no. I talked to everyone one last time and told them that I will be donating, then I text "George". Actually it was through Facebook messenger that I told him the good news. That was an awesome conversation, telling him yes was exciting, and a bit of a relief since I now knew what was coming. I hate when things are up in the air, even if the upcoming event isn't pleasant, like major surgery I'm better mentally knowing what to prepare for than not.

Lets just skip up to the weekend before the surgery. July 4th weekend to be exact and it was weird. We hung out with "George" and his family and it was a terrific day but with the surgery looming I felt a bit anxious. Monday, July 4th I usually go to a very nice picnic but not this time. I was home alone drinking a drink that was supposed to let it all out. I drank it and waited, and waited, and waited. nothing really happened. At least not like everyone said it would so I went bed knowing the next day would be intense.

Tuesday, July 5th. Danielle and I get up, the girls spent the week at my parents which helped a lot. I pack an overnight bag and away we go. The easiest way to get to the upper east side for us is the ferry to the subway. it was a great ferry ride, the subway was fine and we walked the rest of the way to the hospital having somewhat odd conversation but overall we are both calm. Checking in felt odd, the day actually arrived, surgery day.

This fucking day is actually here. I have agreed to let a surgeon cut me open,  remove one of my organs that is working perfectly fine btw. and then patch me up. Now, that organ is going to save a life its not like its going to be chucked on the ground but still this is a big, insane, surreal experience.

After check in, I'm put on scrubs, Danielle is with "George's" wife we will call "Marcy" to protect her identity. I go get Danielle and we hang in a little room. "George, Marcy, and George's sister" are in another room.

I see the surgeon one more time, I met him a week ago to discuss the surgery and what I should expect. He's a dreamboat, tall, in shape, amazing hair, and most of all a confidence level that if   harnessed could power Manhattan.

I get the call to head to the O.R. I say good bye to Danielle, "George, and Marcy" and head off. Now it gets really, really intense. Its just me and a nurse walking down a long hallway as she explains to me whats going to happen. Im half listening as my head is swirling a bit. She hands me off to the O.R. staff they ask me more questions and then bring me into the O.R.

The O.R. room freaked me out!!!! It was a stark, uninviting room. Fluorescent lights, bare white walls, just not a room id like to be in if I didn't have to be. The staff though was warm, and comforting. They put that clear plastic mask over my mouth i remember talking to them and then I was being awoken, in another room, very confused, extremely thirsty, not knowing where I am, what happened. Not a fun feeling.

Some time passes. I have no idea how long and I'm wheeled into an elevator to my room.
In the recovery room I had an Iv with morphine, awesome. I felt no pain. They had to unhook it as I'm wheeled to my room by the time I got there I was feeling the pain so the Percocet train began to roll in. Choo choo!!!!

From Tuesday late afternoon until Thursday midday I was in my room. Tuesday night was rough but I made it through. I was looked into every 4 hours by the staff, unfortunately they were about an hour apart so it was more like every 3 hours that someone came to check on me. NOT VERY RESTFUL!

Tuesday night I was told that I would walk tomorrow. I said "ok" but in my head I was like there's no fucking way I will be able to walk tomorrow. No fucking way.

Wednesday morning I'm up at 5:30am, why? because someone came in to look at my sutures, or check a pulse, or something. I have no idea actually all i know is that I was up at 5:30 am.

At 6am the nurses aide comes in and asks me if I want to walk. Surprisingly I felt like I could so I got ready. I adjusted the bed, no biggie. Turned my body so my legs could touch the floor, that hurt. Finally I grabbed my little IV stand and got up. Very shaky legs, remember I still haven't had real food since Monday afternoon but i began shuffling up and down the hallway.

The aide was very excited "You're walking!" I looked at her like no shit, but now I can see how important it was for me to do that.

My next important job was to fart. the sooner I fart the sooner I can eat and go home. Percocet binds you up, plus my guts were all blown up with gas from the procedure and if the gas wasn't in my intestines then it traveled up my diaphragm into my shoulders. Did you ever have a white hot ball of steel rammed into your shoulder blades, if so the you know how that feels if not then good for you.

The more I walk, the more I move gasses around the sooner I fart so I was up a lot, I wanted out of there. Don't get me wrong the place was great its just not a restful place.

When I was wheeled into my room on Tuesday I had the IV in one hand and a back up in the other, a catheter in place, and these inflatable booties on my legs that would randomly inflate so i didn't get blood clots.

By Wednesday afternoon the booties came off since I was walking and the catheter came out, not the best feeling but not as bad as expected, the meant that I now had to get up to pee in the toilet and reality began to set in about how weak I was, and how much my abdomen hurt. it hurt a lot. Coughing was not fun. I was given this plastic doo hicky that I had to inhale through. I had to do this a few times an hour to reduce the chances of Pneumonia.

A few hours later

Hey Hey I passed gas!!! Wednesday afternoon, a little toot. It was like heaven. All morning I could feel the gas burbling around but it had no where to go. Finally though the damn broke and sweet relief. This meant I could eat food, no more jello, or chicken broth but actual food!

Boy that jello wasn't so bad compared to what I was given......Actually the dinner was ok, I ate some but i didn't want to overeat and get sick. Thursday morning's breakfast was a different story. I woke up a tad nauseous and when i looked at the "eggs" I almost puked. I steadied myself and had a bite. I was wrong they weren't bad, they were hideous, atrocious whatever word you want to use. I asked the nurse for something to quell my nausea and once I calmed down I ate cheerios, delicious cheerios.

Post surgery I had 2 jobs. Get up and walk, and fart. Since I did both I could go home. I was still queasy but I wasn't going to stay another night there.

On my way out I went to say goodbye to "George". I was feeling pretty beat up so it was a quick visit. "George" had some family visiting and when he told them who i was there wanted to grab mer and squeeze me put I put my hands up right away to stop them. A hug would have been the last thing I wanted at the moment. I told everyone that once were all healed up we would have a great big party.

Ah driving in New York City. On a perfect day its annoying on this day it was horrible, Still nauseous,  extremely weak, and sensitive to every crack in the road I did not enjoy heading home.

Thursday afternoon I'm home, less than 48 hours and i'm not feeling great. Still nauseous, and now sweating I'm afraid that I might have to call the hospital but before I do I have Danielle get me some Alka Seltzer and wouldn't you know it ol' "plop plop fizz fizz Oh what a relief it is" did the trick and within 30 minutes I was starving.

Since I got back home each day has been better than the last. I still get exhausted after simply walking but each day I am stronger, and my energy level increases. I am now almost three weeks past the  surgery and I'm close to feeling 100% like my old self. In another 2 weeks i'lll be cleared to resume my life as if nothing happened.

This has been quite a ride. It took me a while to wrap my head around what I did mainly because I went into a room, was put to sleep, then I was awoken a couple of hours later in pain. So even though I was there, I wasn't present to see my kidney leave, or go to into "George" but I know its gone, and I know he has it.

I don't know exactly what to say to people about this, They are all overwhelmed when they hear about it and keep saying how amazing it is. Now I just agree. I don't really know what to say.

Would I do it all again? Yes, without a doubt.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Ridin' that train, high on cocaine.

Not really, cocaine is a horrible drug that should be avoided at all costs.

Everbody is talking about our trip to WDW on the Amtrak Auto Train so I decided to write a blog about it.

Okay, the Auto Train has two stops Lorton Va., and Sanford FLA.. Lorton is just south of D.C. and Sanford is about 45 minutes from WDW.

Btw. WDW means Walt Disney World.

The train leaves around 4pm al little earlier if possible, it depends on the load in. The cars are to checked in by 2:30 at the latest! Not 2:31, and if you miss it there is no other train that day, and they probably isn't room the next day so DO NOT BE LATE.

We left our house at 8am, knowing that it is a 4 hour drive to the train station. But Darren, that would get you there at noon what are you going to do with all that extra time you might say. We relaxed, and got lunch, and with the rainy weather on the way down we checked in at 1:45pm.

When you check in you leave your car and everything you do not need on the train. You have no access to your car on the train so prepare your overnight bag.

Checking in is wonderful. You walk in, check in, then you relax and wait. Around 2:30 they start boarding the train, at 3pm the cars are loaded onto the train cars and they begin attaching those cars to the passenger cars. When you board you meet the person who will be your attendant. Basically, they check you in, show you your room, or seat, more on this later. In the room is one outlet, temperature controls, and seats that turn into your beds. The attendant will turn down your room for you to sleep besides that you're on your own. You are free to walk to the lounge car, get an adult beverage, and watch the sights go by. Dinner, and a continental breakfast was included in our package.

Sleeper car, vs seats. We decided to get the sleeper car it was a few hundred dollars each way but in my opinion well worth the money. You have your own room and access to 3 restrooms, and a very nice shower on your car, on the same floor even. There was never a time when all the restrooms were occupied, nor was the shower. If you just get a seat you get a very large, very roomy, comfortable seat but no privacy at all. If you want to, or need to save the money skip the room. If we take the train again, and we probably will we will definitely get a room again.

Dinner. Dinner was okay, it wasn't horrendous but it wasn't memorable. There are 3 diner slots, 5pm, 7pm, and 9pm. 7pm was full  by the time we got there so we chose 9pm. I'm glad we did, it was quiet and relaxed. when we returned from diner our room turned down. We chilled a bit but it wasn't long until we were all sawing logs, as the trains swaying rocked us to sleep. That is until the trains wild turns, and bumps woke we me up a lot on our way to Florida. The girls slept right through but i felt every turn, and heavy clunk as we ride over where the tracks cross.

Waking up the next morning was nice, aside from being a little tired from the interrupted sleep. We were in Florida, and we watched all these little towns, and weird neighborhoods slide by. A lot of swampy land some of it swallowing up abandoned houses, a lot of miscellaneous junk piled at the back of the yards close to the tracks created the image of crude temples left to decay.

A nice continental breakfast is served and then you just wait in your room for the train to pull into the  station. Your room was returned to normal while you eat.

There is WIFI on the train. We skyped with Danielle's mother in California, and my parents, who were visiting Todd and Julie in Texas while we headed to Florida. That we pretty cool.

When you arrive the next morning the auto cars are detached and moved while you hang out. This happens really quickly, its pretty amazing actually. We are then asked to disembark and wait for the car. We decided against priority service which would have gotten our car off first so we had to wait 30 minutes, No big deal really except we really wanted to get to WDW so it felt like forever. Once your car is called you just throw your overnight bag in the back, hop in, and go. So easy.

On our return trip we left WDW a little late so we didn't get to the train station until 2:23pm, remember they will not take cars after 2:30pm so we were sweating it a bit as we were driving. So, if you do decide to take the Auto Train LEAVE EARLY like we did on our way down.

Danielle and I both slept much better on our return trip, probably because we knew what to expect.

On both trips the staff was polite, friendly, and very professional. They did a super job.

The majority of the passengers on the trip are pretty up there in age, really up there, which helps make it a very quiet experience.

So, how much does this all cost?

$1,500.00 round trip was the bill. This was for a sleeper car that had 4 beds, dinner and breakfast is included. car is obviously loaded, and unloaded so you have that with you.

I believe Danielle said that it was a few hundred dollars more than plane tickets were when we got our train tickets which was July 2015, but we would have rented a car, or taken a lot of taxis while in WDW and it is basically hassle free unlike an airport so the extra cost is well  worth it in my book.

That's it. feel free to shoot my any questions if you got them