Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Old Blue Eyes are Back


One year on
12 whole months
365 days

A year ago I was under the knife, or more like several knives (perhaps better described as scalpels)  having my wife's kidney inserted into my lower abdomen.

My internals now look something like the diagram here. (The left one's gone, the right  one's done and wife's is filtering on. - I should set that to music )  the ugly brown thing hanging up the top is what left of my native kidneys - not enough for a decent pie.


So what's life like now? 
It really couldn't be  better. 

I still have to take my pills at the same time morning and night, twelve hours apart, and will do for the rest of my life however short or long. But to put that in perspective it's no different than three meals a days and the pills are easier to prepare, consume and clean up after.

The changes are many  mostly to do with excreting bodily fluids...
What did you expect? The kidney seems to run the body's waste disposal system. 

But let me start with something else. The most immediate benefit was 
I get things done.

Writing for example, my second love, has taken off like a rocket. In September 2010, 4 months post transplant, I set myself a target to write "Arch" the final volume of my speculative fiction trilogy in one year. 

The first two volumes took 12 years, the writing slowing down as the kidney got weaker. I'm on track to finish "Arch" in July this year, a month earlier than expected, (I should point out each volume is 180,000 words - not small )  One year on.  In the 139 days of 2011,  I have written over 75,000 words,  11 of those days I wrote over a 1000,  one of those over 1300,  previously that would have taken me a week. (for more see my  writer's blog)
A couple of months before the transplant (and because of it) we shifted house. The house was good but the garden  was bare. 

One year on as well the prolific writing the garden has been transformed from above to below


At the same time I occasionally spend a few hours making pizza's in the Oakbank Pizza Bar we part own, anywhere between 4 and 6 hours a night rolling bases making and baking pizza, fish & chips, hamburgers,  serving customers and cleaning up afterwards

Then there's our web business  Koala Ridge  In this same 12 months, along with the Writing, the gardening and the Pizza Bar,  I built the Stirling District Hospital website

The thing is,  the last time I was this active was in the 80's when I was 40,  working studying and moonlighting. The decline was gradual  With the passage of time I did less and I accepted this as the natural process of aging. I met and married Felicity in the late 90's and she got the impression I was one of those blokes who talked about what I was going to do and never did.
One year on  all has changed.
Only in hindsight did we realise the affect my diminished renal function was having on my life.
Physically now, let me start with a daily ritual caused by consuming the three meals. (If you have a sensitive nose skip this bit - but it's an important and unexpected plus for me) You eat,  you shit.  One year on  the act itself is much improved. To put it politely, it's as quick and easy as taking the pills and the paperwork now takes one sheet not half the bloody roll.

And while I'm on excremental topics the required consumption of 2L of water over an above any other fluid intake like tea, coffee, milk, cola, beer and wine would ensure I couldn't sit through a whole movie without a break.  One year on that doesn't happen and sleep wise  I can get through the night with only one or two nocturnal visits to the en-suite.  (To be fair this is probably a function of time rather than the kidney - To help the ailing kidney  I was doing 2L  and multi-toilet runs before the transplant - its just taken this long to expand bladder capacity).

One change I could do without is sweat. Now when I work up a sweat  it really does run down my face. This never happened BT, (before transplant) Back then deodorant dried up in cabinet unused, unneeded, unloved.

One year on I now have enough handkerchiefs to last the rest of my life. I stocked up because my nose always ran. I would pocket two clean ones every morning and put fourteen to twenty in the weekly wash. One year on and I still pocket  two every morning (out of habit), the same two often unused are changed when I change my pants. Fourteen plus in the weekly wash is for socks.

Lastly my eyes are  blue  again, they were when I was young but  over the years they slowly faded to grey which I again put down to old age rather than a failing kidney - my lovely donor wife tells me I'm wrong, my
old  blue  eyes are back


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