Finally Back Home

February 4, 2020

Yesterday, I had my post-appendicitis follow-up appointment. Because everything had been going well with my recovery after I got out of the hospital the second time, Jill and I packed up the car before going to the appointment (she did the vast majority of the work, because I’m still not allowed to lift more than 10 pounds). We said our goodbyes to and even exchanged addresses and phone numbers with some of the friends we made at the Transplant House, and said goodbye to the Transplant House itself. It was a fantastic place to stay for those couple of weeks, and the perfect place to be while recovering after surgery. I know I’ve said it before, but I had no idea that places like that existed before going through the living donor process, but now I am thankful that they do exist. Recovery would have been a lot harder without it.

My appointment was very similar to my 2 week post-surgery follow-up appointment I had one week earlier. I had my vitals checked and some blood drawn. I talked to both my donor coordinator and to the surgeon that took my kidney out. All of my vitals looked great, and my coordinator and surgeon both said my incisions are healing up nicely. They also asked how my pain was with my appendicitis, and I told them that I’m feeling so much better after taking all the antibiotics. Because everything looked good, and because I had been feeling well after getting out of the hospital, they cleared us to go back home to Virginia. My coordinator also said she would arrange another follow-up appointment. This one will be a little earlier than planned, around February 17, because that’s when the colorectal surgeon wants to see me for a follow-up appointment to check on my appendix. I will also need to have a CT scan before that appointment, but that hasn’t been scheduled yet.

Happy to hear that we were finally able to go home, Jill and I left from my appointment, went to pick up our cat from Jill’s parents’, and then started our drive back home. I had previously been given clearance to drive, so I even drove some of the way down and Jill drove the rest. I really enjoy driving, so it was really nice to be able to do that again. While getting in and out of the car was still a bit difficult, being in the car was a lot easier than it had been before when we went to our concert. I wore jeans, which still feel a bit tight and uncomfortable, so I undid the belt and top button on my jeans to make things more comfortable. Overall, the car ride wasn’t nearly as difficult as it had been before, but I was still tired by the time we got home, about 4 hours after we left Jill’s parents’ house.

After being gone for so long, it was weird to be back home. What’s weirder is being home and not being able to do some of the things I normally do as easily. Showering, getting on and off the couch, getting in and out of bed, washing some light dishes, even feeding our cat and cleaning his litter box are a lot more difficult than they usually are because I’m a lot weaker, I still have some pain, and because of my lifting restriction. But it was definitely nice to sleep in our bed last night, even if I still can’t sleep on my side comfortably.

Today was my first day home by myself, because Jill went back to work. Normally if I have the day off to myself, I’d just play video games all day. I’m trying to get a routine in place, however, to prevent me from going crazy, getting cabin fever, and to keep my recovery going on the right track. I’m also going to continue taking walks several times each day like I had been at the hospital and the Transplant House. I’m looking forward to having some time off at home to focus on healing, but it will definitely take some work to make sure I don’t get cabin fever and to make sure I keep my brain active while I’m not working. I’ll make sure to keep you all updated on how recovery is going.

It’s really amazing how much better I feel now that my appendicitis is in check. I had mentioned before that I still had some pain, that getting in-and-out of bed was difficult, and that doing small things was difficult because of the pain. While some of that is still the case, it’s all gotten a lot easier. My pain is minimal now, but still flares up occasionally. My core muscles are even feeling a lot better now. Even so, doing a lot of basic things, such as moving my body in general, can quickly make me physically tired and it’s hard for me to stay in the same position for long periods of time.

The difference between today and one week ago is amazing. Every day I feel more and more normal, and it’s hard to think that three weeks ago tomorrow I had a vital organ removed. Modern medical science and the human body’s resilience really are amazing.


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