Sunday, August 12, 2007

Diary of a Kidney Transplant - 6

Saturday 11 August

In the morning, the lead doctor on the ward round (Mahmoud - Maff's surgeon) inspects my distended, discoloured bollocks. He pronounces it nothing to worry about - it's uncomfortable, but a normal consequence of being so fluid-overloaded. He suggests that the nurses sort me out with a jock strap - when they bring this the relief is amazing. I'm walking a little bow-legged, but comfortably.

Spend most of the afternoon catching up on some sleep. In the evening, the sun outside is too inviting. I put on my shorts, and boots over my surgical stockings, wash my hair for the first time this week, pull on a shirt and my boots, stash my 'urine tank' which is still attached via a catheter (where you'd rather there wasn't) into a shoulder bag I got Suzy to bring in for the purpose. I can just about pass as a mad tourist on the street I reckon. I walk out, and head along to London Bridge, where I'm still in time to stand in the glow of the setting sun. This feels indescribably gorgeous. I get a tourist who's taking pics of his friends with Tower Bridge in the background to take one of me with my phone. It's Friday evening, and I really want to talk to someone, so I make a couple calls, including to Aunt Kathleen, who's on her way to Katrena's hen night in Canterbury, dressed as Carmen Miranda. I head back to hospital, and meet Roberto Cacciola, my surgeon on his way out the door. He has a big smile on his face, which I hope is from satisfaction at a job well done. I ask him if he fancies a drink - sadly his family is waiting for him. I'm still in a sociable kind of mood, so I go back up to the ward, collect my laptop and head out again. I wander around Borough Market, laptop in hand, looking for a wifi signal. The place is teeming with people spilling out of every pub, in the wamr evening, and lounging in groups outside all the now closed market shope. Just as I get connected, a NZ girl rus over and says "Are you on Facebook? My friend Naomi wants you to be her friend." She then notices my accoutrements, and asks what I've been up to and where have I escaped from? I tell her the whole story, and she seems genuinely interested. I ask her to take me to meet her friend, which she does, introducing me to Naomi, who's sitting with a big bunch of large antipodean blokes outside The Ginger Pig butcher. I end up talking mostly to Hannah, the girl who grabbed me in the first place. She's lovely, and we share travelling and life stories. After a while the group moves into the Butcher shop, and I'm invited to join them. I nip off to by an alcoholic contribution to the proceedings. I have a momentary worry, about whether being in a butcher's shop with me compromised immune system is a good idea, but decide that I'll take the chance. I end up staying until about 10 - just before which, the butcher guys bring out a tray covered with absolutely delicious stuffed roasts - turkey I think. They carve these up, hand out some soft bread rolls, and we all feast.

I head back up to the ward, just in time to take my evening pills, washing my boots on the way in, just in case I'm carrying some ground bourne infection into the ward.

A peaceful night's sleep, from around 12.30 - 4.30am, when I wake up with similar discomfort down below to the night before. Not again, I pray. Does this happen at 4am every night?



At 10:58 am, Blogger Roman Krznaric said...

Hi there. We met a couple of nights ago in Oxford at a Climate Change talk. I was the guy who said he was writing a history of empathy and compassion, and was interested in the history of organ donations. I've read about your experiences on this blog and have been fascinated and inspired. I thought the video of you and your donor playing music together in the hospital was incredibly moving, a symbol of the possibility of harmony and understanding between two human beings, and of what people can do for each other. If you're interested in what I've written on these themes, see my essay 'Empathy and the Art of Living', which you can download from my website at:

Bye for now. Roman Krznaric


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