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My Recovery at Home

I was allowed home 2 days after the operation. The journey home was okay. Couldn’t really avoid all the bumps and potholes in the road so had to support my abdomen during the journey. It was good to be home. Own bed, own bathroom etc. Couldn’t keep my eyes open so had not been home for long before went up to bed. Now of course, my bed does not raise up like the hospital one. So with great effort I got onto the bed at a sort of an angle and then couldn’t move, lol. The pain in my abdomen was intense. Oh well – I just stayed there on the bed sort of laying across it – and went to sleep. Woke about 5am feeling refreshed and wanting the bathroom, but quite a battle to get out of bed. took around 10 minutes trying to work out the least painful way.

Decided that the next night I would sleep with lots of pillows behind me so my upper half is already raised, just like the hospital bed was. It would then be much easier getting in and out of bed as would not have to use my abdominal muscles as much.

In myself I felt very well. Still bloated which was uncomfortable rather than anything else so hopefully the extra 4 kilos would go soon. I got tired very very quickly. In fact I had only been up for around 3 hours and was walking back from the kitchen with a cup of tea and almost dropped it as I found my eyes closing as I walked. The tiredness just came out the blue!! I know I was told I would feel tired, but I was not sure if that meant bodily tired i.e. no energy, or tired in wanting to go to sleep. Now I know. I had to go back upstairs and get some sleep. I arranged the pillows so they were like a backrest. I have a memory foam mattress which is bliss. I could get into bed a lot easier now with little pain. I got a good hours sleep and woke refreshed. Around 3pm the same thing happened and I found my eyes just would not stay open, so got another hours sleep. I must say the first four or five days was like this. Suddenly feeling sleepy when I had only been up a few hours. I didn’t fight it as I knew my body needed the rest. I was also going up to bed around 7pm or 8pm in the evenings. I actually felt more comfortable laying propped up in bed than sitting in the chair downstairs, which squashed my abdomen up a bit and was uncomfortable. I had very good night sleep for the first week, most nights not waking at all until the morning. Pre operation I would wake about 3 or 4 times needing the bathroom. I also found that sleeping with my upper half propped up I could breathe a lot easier as well which I am sure aided a good night sleep. In fact I have continued to sleep propped up and find it much better than laying flat in bed. When I have saved the money I may just invest in a bed where I can raise the back up. I am surprised at the difference in quality of sleep I get this way.

The first week was obviously the hardest as I was not allowed to do much and I felt tired so quickly throughout the day and there was a bit of pain when I walked or used my lower abdomen. For some reason the first couple of days I forgot about the pain medication. Duh! After that I took it and made sure I took enough. Although I still had some pain, it was not troublesome. In fact I was quite pleased I had a little bit of pain as it reminded me to take things easy. I enjoyed being spoilt and looked after the first week!

Some people get no pain at all. I believe the only reason I got pain was because I am overweight and the pressure of a tummy “overhang” on the incision area coupled with gravity pulling down on it when I walked, just aggravated everything! If you picture walking with a bowl of jelly ….?? Yup I think you have the picture!  If I held in my abdomen muscles which then supported the incision area, then I had no pain at all when I walked. Of course remembering to take the pain medication would have helped!

Once 10 days had passed then I noticed a quicker improvement. I was not sleepy during the day any more, although I did physically get tired. It was quite some time before energy levels restored themselves. Incisions were healing nicely and everything was just great.

I also heard that the recipient was doing excellently well! That is the best news of all. Wonderful!

Recovery continued and things are great.  It has been a while since the evaluation finished in October 2009  and some time since kidney donation, so I hope I have remembered everything, I did make notes at the time but not always. Anyway I hope this blog gives a good insight into the process of becoming an Living  kidney donor and the actual donation process itself. I know if I had another spare kidney I would do it all again without hesitation.

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152 Responses to “Recovery at home after Kidney removal”

  • Catherine:

    Hello,

    I just recently donated my left kidney and find many of the observations made in earlier posts to be spot on. I have pain and am quick to tire. My question is centered on the bloating. It seems my entire abdomen and my lower back are grossly disfigured-and it is uncomfortable. I’m waiting for the air/gas to dissipate, but this doesn’t seem to be happening very quickly. What, if anything, can I do to help restore things to my pre-surgery state (flat abdomen)? I’ve also noticed the bottom of my ribs hurt when I breathe deeply. Any idea why?

  • Diane:

    Hi Catherine,
    You don’t say how recently, but I know it was probably a couple of weeks before I felt my weight had returned to near normal, although my lower back I was not aware of being “disfigured”. I suppose there are no set parts of our body that will necessarily show the bloating. I was arms, legs and abdomen.

    I am not sure whether you are linking the air/gas with the body bloating? My body bloating was fluid retention and that affects a lot of people. The gas they pump into the abdomen cavity, most should go as they complete the operation with some migrating to shoulder area.

    If you are saying the abdomen and lower back bloating is due to the gas, then maybe seek advice from your donor coordinator?

    Bottom of your rib area could hurt because there was some bruising during the removal of the kidney.

    Make sure you drink plenty of water. Tiredness is very common, I would be having two or three naps during the day, even only just a couple of hours after waking. But if you can be mobile periodically. Sit upright when you can so any trapped gas can rise and gently walk around the house periodically. Keep active if you can BUT it is important you listen to your body If you are unusually tired, it is because your body is saying “hey I just had a major operation and cannot cope with you playing tennis and healing your body” 🙂 🙂 …. so you need to rest and not fight what your body tells you.

    I am no medical expert at all …. so I would say do consult your coordinator for their advice. I can only speak from personal experience and what I have heard others say.

    Let us know how you get on ….
    All the best in your recovery
    Di
    x

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