I visited Dan this morning and found him sitting up in his chair again. He said it wasn’t as painful as it was last night. He thinks they will move him to a regular room today! His potassium is still at 5, which means that the kidney still hasn’t fully kicked in with its full filtering power, so there is a chance he may need dialysis tomorrow.
Dan’s nurses here in ICU have been outstanding. It is so comforting to know that Dan is being cared for by a top-notch nursing staff. Dan’s nurse this morning found out that he wasn’t given a “kidney pillow” when he first arrived in the unit. It’s a small kidney-shaped pillow that Dan can use to kind of brace his incision site when he needs to move, or cough, or laugh. Although we are trying very hard not to make him laugh. His poor abdominal muscles are not going to let him laugh very easily for a while.
Our friend Jeff arrived to visit just before lunchtime. It was very good to see him. I noticed that while Dan is talking his blood pressure creeps up a little, which is good. It might be coincidence, but when I left I encouraged them to keep on talking. I think they were going to pull out Jeff’s laptop and get online, so we might hear something from Dan today. I have ordered a lightweight netbook (shhh, it’s a surprise for Dan!) that should come on Monday, so it’ll be easier for Dan to get back to his email and stuff.
I met Charlie and my mom for lunch, and then took Charlie back home to rest before heading back to the hospital to see Dan’s new room. Charlie has made a get well card for Dan, and a thank you card that I’m hoping we can ask the transplant team to send to the donor’s family.
We went back to the hospital this evening and Dan was visiting with Cynthia. They had just gotten him situated in his new room, so Charlie got to ask questions about the tubes and machines (very few are left, compared to Thursday night), and he assisted his daddy on a walk around the floor. We met the night nurse, and she explained that we need to pay particular attention to germs now that Dan is on immune suppressors. Dan must wear a mask when he takes a walk in the hallways, and we all need to wash our hands and keep them clean and away from our eyes, nose, and mouth.
Once Dan is out of the hospital, we will need to go back three times a week for labs. These labs will help the doctors determine the correct level of medications. The drugs that suppress his immune system keep his body from rejecting the kidney, but you don’t want to take more than you need or you will have unwanted and unnecessary side effects. So over time, he should need less and less, until he is taking only the minimum amount necessary to keep his body and kidney playing nice together. Dan will need to continue to wear a mask when he’s out in public, until the doctors tell him otherwise. So if you have a cold or a sniffle, we love you but please don’t come visit until you are well.
By the way, Dan said that he wasn’t in much pain during his first walk since the surgery. His night nurse (what an awesome and super smart lady!) said she was going to keep him walking, so there won’t be much resting in bed while she’s on duty!