Saturday, August 11, 2007

Diary of a Kidney Transplant - 5


Maff and I escape from the ward for the first time, and head downstairs between 10 and 11. He's ahead of me and finds the piano in Atrium 1. I join him and sing some tunes, to the bemused glances of several onlookers.

We get back upstairs just in time for the morning ward round. They pronounce Maff fit to go home that afternoon, and decide that i will probably be able to go on Monday - at least a day earlier than expected, so something must be looking good.

Natasha arrives around 12 and stays till 1. She expresses her amazement at the whole experience, and decides that she'd like to write an article about it, to try and promote living donation as something great to do.

Suzy arrives at 1.30 with my sax - and Olivia - and we all head downstairs to the nice piano in Atrium 2 to play some tunes. We ignore the notice forbidding it being played between 9 - 5.30, and nobody seems to mind. It's a rather moving experience for me - it really does feel as if Maff and I are more attuned to what each other is doing. At one point in 'I wish I Knew' we both throw exactly the same lick in simultaneously - perhaps sharing a 'kidney' moment?

Maff's assistant surgeon Ben turns up with his sandwiches - apparently not realising it was us playing. He requests 'A train' which we play, very tenderly. In fact, my playing in general has a slightly more tender quality to it than usual. I mostly manage to resist the temptation towards the racous (to which I usually succumb). Maff is also playing better than I've ever heard him. Luckily Olivia has a camera with her, and shoots several long movies, so the event is preserrved for posterity.

Later on it's a busy afternoon - lots of visitors. I just have a hunch that I should try and catch the end of the PM programme, and I switch on at about 5.52 I think, just as Eddie Mair is reading out a few comments that people have left during the week - and someone is saying 'Thanks for following up the story about Maff and Andy - the interview of the year, especially after all the bad news from Iraq, and so on...". I'm sitting with my dinner on my lap with tears flowing - somehow hearing this comment from some stranger who heard us on the radio just captures the emotion of the whole week, and I sob quietly to myself - just overwhelmed by the feeling of love that it engenders. I take my laptop out and try to find a wifi spot in the hospital without success. I bump into my dialysis nurse as she's leaving her office at 7pm, and ask whether she might possibly know of a computer on the net. She takes me back in and we sit there for another 20 minutes or so, while I find the PM blog and post a comment there (see - and find "The Glass Box for Friday" 10 August).

Friday night is the most uncomfortable yet, around 11 - 1am anyway. The bowels are finally on the move again. When I sit on the loo, I'm horrified to see that my balls are the size of a grapefruit, and a dark purple colour all over. They've been heavy for a day or so, which I was told was normal, but this is a littel more scary. The shit when it comes produces one of the most excruciating pains in my penis I've ever felt. I shriek a bit. The relief afterwards is almost worth it.

And that brings me to now, at 4.34am - it's about time I had some sleep. The old bloke in the bed at the end, has been giving his nightly performance of groans, moans and pleading for the nurses. I really feel for him - he's obviously pretty uncomfortable. Though there's also a feeling of 'here we go again', as it seems to be some kind of habit. Perhaps that's unfair.

But sleep is impossible. From absolutely nowhere, comes a regular series, every 5-10 minutes of involuntary errections, each of which cause excruciating pain. No matter what deflatory image I conjure up, this seems to go on for ever - at least until after 6am. I must have slept eventually, as I wake up for breakfast around 7.30am.



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