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Update from Charles: into the O/R at about 10:30 p.m. PST. A bit later than expected, but the transplant team was working two other operations at two other hospitals, one of them at Children's here in Seattle.

Update: Here we go. Off to the OR with me in about 10 minutes. Charles will keep people updated.

Last night at about 11:15 pm, I got The Call. The University of Washington called as we were setting up my dialysis machine and told me to be at the hospital in the morning, as I am the primary candidate for a kidney.

I don't know anything about the donor yet, but would like to find out. I have about a six hour wait or so until the tests are complete on me and on the donor, whose family has lost a loved one but who decided to have their loved one live on in others by donating the gift of life.

The waiting is hard, but necessary, and if all goes well, I'll go into surgery this afternoon or early in the evening, and hopefully won't have to dialyze any more. Charles and I are both here with our fingers crossed.

There's more below the fold.

Sara R and everyone who sent messages for my love catcher quilt will be happy to know that it is currently on my hospital bed, much admired by all who have seen it. If everything works out the way we hope it does, I'll be here for a few days and wanted to make sure that that quilt came with me to the hospital. It is providing me with much comfort as we wait for the news, one way or the other.

If this doesn't work out for some reason - either because of something with my physiology or something with the physiology of the kidney and the donor - we'll head home tonight to dialyze again and wait for another call. But now that I'm on the top of the wait list, the rest of the wait - if there is one - should not be too long.

I'm beyond excited to be here, waiting at long last for the gift of life that will give me back my energy, my health, and let my side of the bedroom stop looking like a dialysis clinic. Neither of us got much sleep last night, so Charles is sleeping in a chair at the moment. I'll ask him to keep you guys updated on how it's going if I go into surgery. He, too, will have a long wait. Obviously, I have a laptop here in the hospital with me, and the hospital has wireless Internet service, so it's likely that he'll be on DKos later.

Wish me luck. If you're the praying sort of person, prayers for a great outcome for all concerned would be welcome. I will be on for at least the next few hours.

This may be the day. I will have to change my DKos sig at last and am looking for a good one.

I also want to thank, again, all the Kossacks who volunteered to get tested to see if they could be my living donor. It is truly humbling to have someone offer that, and "thank you" seems so inadequate to the task. It's all I have to offer, that and our friendship and caring. It's difficult, even for me, to put into words how I feel about this. Several Kossacks have already been tested and, like my little sister, disqualified for one reason or another. Just the offer is remarkable, and that some seven people have offered and contacted the transplant program shows what kind of people make up the Daily Kos community. This is not something you'd find elsewhere. Thank you, all of you, for everything.

Update, 3:40 pm: Now we have a probable surgery time, if everything is a go (still not known and won't be for a while): 7:30 pm tonight. I'll go to sleep tonight with a new kidney and wake up to a new world where I have to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and keep the kidney flushed. And LOTS of new medications to go along with it.

Major Update, 8:15 pm: IT'S A GO! OR Transport will be here to get me in 15 minutes. The next you'll probably hear is from Charles, who will have my computer, and who will be going home to feed the dogs and grab my medications.

I'm so excited!

Update, 2:00 a.m. from Charles, at home: I'm collecting medications and other necessities we forgot in the rush to get out of the house this morning. The dogs are fed — finally! — but I desperately need a few more minutes to clean up and put on fresh clothing before heading back to the hospital in time to meet Kitsap River when she gets to the recovery room.  

As I noted above the fold, there was a couple of hours' delay before the team was finally ready for her. I'm told they were still waiting for a final report on the donor kidney's biopsy, but the medicos weren't going to wait any longer before getting her prepped.

All we know about the donor is that they were about Kitsap River's age, and had experienced "massive head trauma". May all the gods bless those who made the decision to let that death become life for Kitsap River, and perhaps others who may also benefit from the donor's organs. May their lives be blessed, even as their decision blesses Kitsap River's with life anew.

Weather permitting, KR's mother will be flying up from the Bay Area mid-day Friday to help in any way she can. KR will spend at least a couple of days in hospital until everyone is sure the new kidney will "take", and after that she'll have to go in daily for ongoing evaluations.

On her behalf as well as my own, thank you all for such a warm outpouring of love and good wishes. Thanks also to the Chronic Tonic team for their lovely diary. Thank you.Updated by Kitsap River at Fri Feb 18, 2011, 08:02:43 AM

Update, 5:00 a.m. from Charles, back at the hospital: She's in the recovery area, trying to get the post-op pain under control.


The kidney is producing urine already! Woohoo!!!


More later, when she can come back upstairs.


Updated by Kitsap River at Fri Feb 18, 2011, 10:22:19 AM

7:00 a.m., back from the recovery room She pees!!!!!

Update 12:06 pm from me, Kitsap River: Everything seems to be going very well. I haven't been permitted to eat or drink anything yet, but expect to be able to take in clear liquids after the transplant medical team does their rounds and comes in for a visit. I have been trying to find out how close the match was, whether it's a 1 or even 0 out of 6 HLA match or a better one (the more the HLA antigens match, the better). I am actually sitting up a bit althouigh still am in a fair bit of pain. They've given me a PCA (patient controlled analgesic) with a very strong opioid, dilaudid, and I am using it; this is major surgery with a major incision! The kidney's working well, it appears, at least as far as making urine, but I don't know anything yet about how it's doing with respect to clearing out toxins. Lab work will let us know that in the next couple of days.

It looks like I'll be here four days or so if everything goes well, and it's going well. I make a bunch of urine, the incision looks great according to various physicians and nurses, the pain is to at least some extent manageable, and now I need a name for my new best friend.

Oh, and the hospital is the same one where I had the peritoneal dialysis catheter removed in October, when I received a good luck kiss the day before from President Obama. I think that energy is still holding strong.

Update, 8:30 pm 02/18/11: My lab results are back. The best news of all is that my creatinine, a measure of toxins in the bloodstream, is down from 3.5 (pre transplant) to 2.8, in about a 14 hour period. The kidney, which I'm naming Bimaaji (giver of life in Ashinaabe), is strong and clearing the toxins like a champion. And what this means is truly wonderful: no more dialysis if this keeps up! Certainly no dialysis is planned for me here. I have to pinch myself to believe I'm not dreaming.

Originally posted to Kitsap River on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:51 PM PST.

Also republished by PacNW Kossacks.

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