Chapter One: Diagnosis
Chapter Two: Donor?
Chapter Three: Dialysis
Chapter Four: Transplant
Chapter Five: Recovery
From My Lens
 Chapter Five: Recovery

Recovering from a kidney transplant begins the second doctors close your incision. It is not easy. The incisions are tight and painful, and you're encouraged to get up and move around when all you want to do is stay in bed and rest.

My father was wheeled out of the operating room around 2 p.m.; by 7, nurses were walking him around the floor. When I was taken to my room after a brief stay in the recovery area, he already was walking by my door.

I, too, was pushed to get moving early on. Hours after I was brought to my room, a nurse had me stand up, then sit in a chair. It was very painful and felt like it was too soon after the operation to begin moving, but I was told it's all imperative in the healing process.

The next few days were more exciting for my father than for me. He began walking laps around the hospital floor by Saturday; by Sunday, he'd walked an outdoor track near the hospital. I, meanwhile, slept on and off throughout Saturday, trying to get up the energy to walk. By Sunday, I was up more frequently, and on Monday, I moved into Galter/Carriage, just a few doors down from my father.

When I return home, the pain should be tolerable without prescription medications. I can't lift more than 15 pounds for the next three weeks, at which time I'll have the staples removed from my stomach and (hopefully) the perm-cath from my chest. Another three weeks after that, I might be ready to return to work.

In the meantime, I'll have my blood drawn several times a week. My blood tests will be the only indication as to whether the new kidney is functioning properly or not. Advances in anti-rejection medications make it unlikely that I'll ever feel sick, even if the kidney isn't working properly.

So far, the tests have been promising. My creatinine was above an 8 when I went into surgery; by Monday, it had dropped to 2.8 and was still falling. It hasn't been that low in more than a year.

I'm told I can expect a few rejection episodes. Hopefully, they'll be minor enough that medication will put me back on track.

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