Transplant Day #1
Asaf received a kidney today, May 11th, 2009 from one of our neighbors. We thought this day would never come. The system currently in place is well meaning, but certainly makes it hard and stressful to find a donor and complete the transplant process. It has been about six months since the donor began the process. She was subjected to numerous tests, both physical and psychological which of course, she passed with flying colors. I doubt that I will ever understand her dedication to her altruistic donation, but I will always appreciate it and treat it with the respect and awe that it deserves.
Our day began at 5:30am. The donor was hooked up to a drip line last night to make sure that she was hydrated. Asaf was shaved around 5:45 and then had to take yet another shower with antibacterial soap. Around 7am, the donor was wheeled down to pre-op. At 7:15, she was taken from pre-op to surgery.
We had a crowd with us at the hospital. The donor's husband, myself and my wife, my sister and her husband, our dearest friend Caryn and my third son, Boaz. It was good that we had such a strong support group. Surgery is stressful for the patient as well as for those in the waiting room.
We heard nothing until about 11am, when they told us that Asaf would be going to pre-op. He arrived there around noon. We took this to mean that the donor's surgery was complete and successful. While we were in pre-op, the transplant surgeon came by and said that the kidney was ready and that everything was looking good. Asaf went into surgery around 12:30pm.
We had a stressful time wondering where the donor was. We were waiting with her husband outside of the recovery room and there was no indication that she was even in recovery. Around 1pm, we learned that she was in recovery, but that they were busy and could not let anyone in to see her. At 2pm, she came flying out of the recovery room on her was up to the transplant ward. We were all relieved to know that she was ok.
Asaf's surgery took a bit longer. Around 6pm, the surgeon came out and told us that the procedure has went well, Asaf didn't lose too much blood and that he was starting out on the right foot. Then we waited to see him in the recovery room.
Around 7pm, Leiah went in to see Asaf. He was on a ventilator and looked pretty scary. The recovery room is a busy place and they don't let visitors stay there for more than a few minutes. Leiah was ushered out and promptly cried in relief and in pain at seeing our son in that state.
Around 8pm, Our son Boaz who is 16 and a half wanted to see his brother. Boaz has just finished the 60 hour MDA (Magen David Adom) course and felt that he was prepared. Boaz is very close to Asaf and the process has been very stressful for him. It turns out that seeing Asaf was also stressful. We sent Boaz home with a friend to get some sleep.
Around 9:30, I finally got to go and see Asaf. By that time, he no longer needed the ventilator and was able to talk. He said that he was tired and hungry! What a wonderful thing to hear, particularly since once of the side effects of kidney disease is a loss of appetite.
Asaf now has three kidneys. The surgeons leave the old kidneys in place because to take them out would be more traumatic. Since they are not necrotic, just inactive, there is little risk in leaving them in the body. The new kidney is positioned just about the groin on the right side. Its a good place to put it because there is room in the abdomen and its close to the bladder and major blood vessels. We hope Asaf has a long and healthy life with his new kidney.
Thank you for all your prayers and positive thoughts. They have been a blessing and support for all of us during these challenging times.
With love and respect,
Elliot and Leiah Jaffe