Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Two weeks ago

Fourteen days ago, my youngest son was hooked up to a machine that would empty his body of toxic blood and push it back inside him as mostly clean. He would be hooked up to monitors and have his blood pressure taken every 15 minutes. He would ride out stomach and leg cramps. Fight the want vs the need for sleep while people were carrying on conversations, televisions were playing and alarms were sounding. He didn't know any difference, but I did. It was his LAST dialysis session. :) Needless to say, my feet didn't touch the ground. When it was all over, I actually got a bit weepy. I going to miss some of our fabulous nurses. Yes, the docs make all the calls...but the nurses are the backbone of a hospital. I appreciate the care and concern they often showed my son...and at times...me.
That night, I tucked my "broken" son into his hospital crib one last time. A new day was coming in the morning. A new beginning and a new life, all in the form of a 5 inch kidney. Yeah...I didn't sleep for crap! And Matthew I think noticed my excitement and was "partying" it up from 2am til 4am. :) But I didn't mind in the slightest. We just giggled together. Then daddy arrived at a more respectable time in the morning at 7am after dropping the oldest son off at his parents' house. Soon we had a roomful of family including my parents and my aunt (the donor's friend).
Then...THEY came for him. I was so overwhelmed. I think I saw my mom cry. I grabbed my camera to take his last crappy kidney picture in the waiting room of the OR. Along the wall of windows leading to the elevator, I told him to soak up his last bit of sunshine since he would be stuck in the hospital for a couple of weeks. We went through all the consents and necessary talkings to with the transplant team. Then, they took him from my arms.
I've NEVER been happier to see someone take my son to surgery than I was at that moment.
Don't get me wrong, I was nervous...it was a major surgery. But happiness won out over nerves. But with the emotional battle occurring on the inside, I think I was crying while smiling on the outside. I just remember hugging Ian tightly. We headed up to get the entourage and I texted family and friends (that were being sweethearts and spreading the word for us) that he was taken back.
We waited. Steve, our donor Marie's husband, and her son Matthew (great name huh?) ;) came over to visit while Marie was still in surgery. We all talked and prayed together. I felt very peaceful the whole time. So back upstairs to waiting. We received updates every hour and Steve would text with updates on Marie. Then, one of the reporters from Sharewyk (Share What You Know) tweeted some pictures out to us.
Marie's kidney had arrived and Matthew's had been taken out. His kidneys were compared to rotten meat the size of a wad of bubble gum (ewww). Here's the comparison picture of two unhealthy kidneys and one GREAT kidney!
I started getting all hyper at that point. Life was going into my son, taking away disease and death. I just hoped beyond all hope that it would "take". We needed liquid gold to squirt out of that thing! With every update after that, I would ask...is there pee? Any pee yet? Did you see pee? No one answered that they had. AAAAAAAHHHHHH!
Then the transplant surgeon came out. I RAN into his arms right smack dab in the middle of the OR waiting room. I just gave him a BIG hug and sobbed on his shoulder when he told me Matthew was peeing for the first time in 3 months, REAL pee for the first time in his lifetime. Yep, there was a nice wet spot right there on his scrubs...but he just got out of surgery...he'd change them anyway. ;) I thanked him profusely and set about calling everyone! I really just wanted to see my son. But before we could see him, we took the picture we'd been waiting to take....
So off to the PICU waiting room to wait until Matthew got his bed assignment after recovery. That was around 2:30pm. We didn't see him until 7pm. He was NOT tolerating his pain well at all and was freaking out about being alone with nurses he had never met. They finally called me back saying that usually they don't let parents see their child like this, but it was all they could do besides sedate and intubate again. The moment he touched him, his blood pressure dropped by 20 points. He was still in pain, but he was near someone familiar and was able to start breathing again. They were setting up to bag him before I got there. His sats had dropped to the 50's and his arms, legs and face were turning blue. He pinked up nicely again soon after our arrival. Mommy didn't lay down at all that night. Just had to comfort my son since his pain meds were cut when his respiration went down. So I know he was hurting.
They next few nights got worse before they got better. The worse night being Sunday night when Matthew's prograf (anti-rejection med) reached dangerously toxic levels of 42 (needed to be 10 - 12). He was hallucinating and frantic. He didn't recognize us, would scream, tear at his skin and stop breathing. Another "bag him" night. UGH! But as all things do, they get worse before they get better. And now..they are SO much better! He is peeing up a storm...seriously...we're drowning in urine here and couldn't be happier about! His labs are still finicky, but look awesome! Marie is recovering well and even came to visit us this past Monday when we were still in-patient and she was needed across the street for her check up. Matthew was so smiley his last weekend at the hospital.
With transplant, we have gained a functioning kidney, urine and an appetite. We have also gained new family members (Marie and Steve and their kids). Matthew has become a brand new person. He is still Matthew, but more. He is for lack of better word and at the risk of sounding corny... ALIVE! His smiles are broader, his laughter is richer, his energy is multiplied. And our hearts and lives are SO full now. We could not be happier with everything. Still in awe of our son. Still overwhelmed of what Marie has done for him...for us. Our boy is healthy!!!! Thank you God for allowing things to come in your time and in your way. I could not see a happier ending than what we have right now. Our boy is healthy. :)

8 comments:

Mindy Skains Independant Scentsy Consultant said...

I have been praying for you all. The Lord is great..

Keep us updated.

Blessings

Randi Jo :) said...

awww what a beautiful testimony of beautiful people. beautiful story. beautiful life :) hehe just beautiful!

you're such a great writer too.

I am so thankful for you all and am so glad I could journey with you all via internet!!!!!

matthew looks soooo great in that last picture! the kidney pictuer is unreal... i still can't believe this has happened karen. i can't beleive they were able to do it and it's done every day - AMAZING!!! miracle!!

you are sooo strong karen. God provided you with the strength you needed didn't He!? Thank you God for matthew's life!!! :)

*Jess* said...

I'm so thrilled!!!

Susie said...

AWESOME GOD, Karen! I smile everytime I think of you guys! What an honor to journey with you and see God's goodness!! Thanks for that privilege! We're still praying -- and still praising God...esp. for pee!! :-)

Lolidots said...

I'm just so stinkin' happy for you!

Jamie H said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I am so happy for your family and Matthew's "new" life! God is definitely good! I'm crying....

Anna said...

I love your amazing story! God is great! How is your little man doing now?

I don't even know how I found your blog..the blog frog? But we live in GA too :)

Pam, mom, honey, said...

i think i may have commented to you before but as the sister of a organ donor this post made me cry with happy tears. i am so glad you were given a kidney. i wish more people understood the process and how many people that you can help by donating your organs. it is not just one person. i can not wait to hear more details of how he is doing now. but for now i want to read back theough some more of the story. thank you for talking about organ donation.

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