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.
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.
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