I’m so proud of Dan and how well he continues to do! Yesterday he went to his last wound clinic (yay!) — he’s still about two weeks away from everything being completely healed over, but he’s done with the specialized wound care! He also had labs and a transplant clinic, which went so well that his doctor brought up the subject of Going Back To Work! Heavens, the guy has just had a kidney transplant and he’s well enough already to think about returning to work? Wow! It’ll be part-time at first – his first day back is already planned for this Friday…..Friday?? I know! He’ll need to work part-time for a while until he’s built up his strength. But wow, it’s just made me reflect on the entire journey that Dan’s been through since he was first diagnosed with kidney disease. The kidney transplant has been looming in his future for so long that it became a fixture in our lives…now it’s actually behind him — it’s done, complete, no more looming. It’s an interesting enough mind-set-change for me, so I can’t imagine what it must feel like for Dan.
He plans to visit his old dialysis center, at the suggestion of his doctor, to kind of show the staff that people can get better (it’s got to be a challenge working at one of those centers – it was challenging enough for Dan to be a patient there three times a week, but to work there full-time has got to take a lot of patience and stamina). And to also show the patients that a transplant doesn’t have to seem like such an impossibility — if it’s an option for them, they should at least give it some consideration.
Dan will continue to have labs every week, and attend transplant clinics at least two or three more times before he “graduates” from the transplant program. I am going to miss his team of doctors and nurses – they are the best. But they have new transplant patients to deal with now, and Dan will go back to his regular nephrologist and internist for his regular care — although he’ll always need to have routine labs.
Oh, I almost forgot: Yesterday, Dan also had the routine biopsy. He had to be checked into the “Special Procedures Unit” and then was wheeled into radiology for the actual biopsy. The doctor located the kidney via ultrasound, picking a spot well away from the major blood vessels in the kidney, and gave Dan two injections of novacaine: one just under the skin and another that looked right in the kidney itself. He didn’t feel either injection – so far so good. The doctor then took this huge needle with a plastic-looking attachment, and did a test “thwak!”. That was the biopsy needle contraption and it sounded LOUD when the doctor activated it. A little intimidating, but Dan felt okay because the doctor has been saying all along that it would be nothing like the biopsy he had years ago on his native kidneys. Going through all of those big back muscles to get to the native kidney is the tough part, so no wonder it was painful. This one was much different. The doctor took two samples (that’s two LOUD THWAKs!) and then he was done. He covered up the entry point with a small band-aid, and Dan never felt a thing. Nice! As we were coming out of the room, another kidney transplant patient was waiting her turn in the hall. The doctor asked Dan to tell her how it went, and he said “Piece of cake!”. They called with the results today: normal – no signs of rejection. Wonderful!