Update from Kidney Donor Athlete, Mark!

Read Part One of Mark’s Story here!

I returned home from my surgery after one night in the hospital. With my surgery scheduled at 6:30 in the morning, I had a complete day to start my recovery. By 5pm on the day of surgery, the staff had me up and walking with the help of the IV stand. Then a very light dinner of toast with butter and some chocolate pudding. By 8pm I was up on my own walking without any aids and feeling very good. The next morning at 5am, my catheter was removed, urine tested and shortly after an omelet was on it’s way for breakfast.

The goals for the 2nd day were four more walks and to urinate twice by 11 m before they would consider discharging me. I actually spent most of the morning out of bed, walking around the floor for a couple of hours total, drinking some decaf coffee which helped in the 11am urination goal. The only things left were the inspection of my surgical wounds and a visit my doctor, Dr. Mezrich, which both happened by 1pm and I walked out to be met by Lynn waiting for me with the car.

My two-week post op visit with Dr. Mezrich went well. Over these two weeks, I had increased my daily, easy to moderate walks to a solid hour while tossing in a few outings of to 2-3 hours and was moving around the house and sleeping with virtually no pain. My energy level seemed good but the book was still out because I hadn’t done anything very strenuous yet.

I asked Dr. Mezrich at our meeting if I could start some light bike riding and he said no. He explained that even though I was feeling very good and by all accounts my recovery was going very well, there is no way of getting around the fact that it just takes a certain amount of time for wounds to heal. If I pushed things too fast, a wound could open and I’d cause a hernia, then I’d be starting all over again.

With my decision to sign up for the Tuscobia 160, a winter fat bike race that has been allowed to proceed with special rules and considerations due to COVID-19 on December 31st, I don’t want to jeopardize that. Check back in the early days of 2021 for my first race update post-donation.

I cannot say enough how relaxed and secure the UW-Health staff made me feel through-out the whole transplant process. There was a continuing string of apologies from the very beginning revolving around the changes, alterations, re-scheduling, and new procedures made and changed due to COVID-19. However, I feel everyone, from my coordinator Melissa to the nurse that walked me out of the hospital, who ran back in to get me a blanket while we waited for Lynn, did their utmost and honest best to do all they could.

The one-day evaluation process was a wonder to be part of. The MRI, CT scan, stress test, blood labs, overview of the procedure, and personal questions about the whole transplant process really created a cocoon of confidence around the experience that gave Lynn and me a feeling of complete trust with the process from start to finish. Actually, my CT scan showed a possible issue so they had an echocardiogram performed just to be on the safe side but it checked out ok after further review. Another example of how careful and cautious the staff was concerning my health.

I am looking forward to Hugh, my voucher recipient, getting matched up and being able to experience him getting his kidney along with him. I mailed off my letter to let the recipient of my kidney know that I’d like to make contact and in the same way as Hugh, I am excited about experiencing the journey of the person that received Lefty. But, I also know that that might not happen. I know that the recipient is still very thankful and I think no less of them for not wanting to connect. I respect his or her wanting to be anonymous and personal reason(s) for why. It doesn’t diminish what we shared and I hope they would feel no guilt.

I’m looking forward to Hugh, my voucher recipient, getting matched up and being able toexperience with him getting his kidney.I mailed off my letter letting the recipient of my kidney know that I’d like to make contact and inthe same way as Hugh, am excited about experiencing the journey of the person that receivedLefty.But, I also know that that might not happen. I know that the recipient is still very thankful and Ithink no less of them for not wanting to connect. I respect their wanting to be anonymous andtheir personal reason(s) why. I doesn’t diminish what we shared and I hope they would feel noguilt.

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