Time sure flies! I can’t believe that this time a whole year ago I had kidney surgery! If you are new to my blog, this might be the first you have heard, but I had a floating kidney (technical terms: Nephroptosis, Renal Ptosis) aka wandering kidney, kidney hernia, kidney prolapse.
What is Nephroptosis?
Basically it means that the kidney slips down from where it is supposed to live and leans on the organs below, such as the bladder or stomach. I had this big old mess where my medical insurance refused to cover my operation so around about this time last year I was waking up from surgery, 5,000€ worse off but at least my kidney was in the right place.
These are my results from the renograms, taken 2 days apart. The first one was taken laying down flat and the other I was sitting on a stool.
When you have nephroptosis, the kidney works normally when you are laying down flat as it wanders back up to it’s normal position. When standing or anything other than laying flat, it drops and causes all kinds of fun. Sometimes people are asymptomatic and have no problems, only finding out they have a floating kidney by accident.
I was suffering UTI’s, bladder pressure, my stomach was badly affected (diarrhea and terrible colic pains) dizziness, fatigue and nausea. What a fun illness! My kidney Dr was fantastic and sent me for Isotopic renograms to diagnose me before performing a laparoscopy. I have 4 holes in my abdomen and 14 staples after surgery. My kidney was stitched to my back with 3 stitches and some special mesh, technical term for this operation is ‘Nephropexy’.
The Hospital Stay
When I woke up from anaesthesia I was pretty distressed. My BF was there waiting for me even though I was babbling garbage and I was more worried that I thought I had something in my eye. For 5 whole days I didn’t leave my hospital bed, not even for the bathroom (and he didn’t leave my side). I was put on a catheter and stayed on that until I was discharged on Friday.
The first night the nurses brought round some food on trays, one for me and the other for my BF. I wasn’t feeling too hungry but they said I should eat. Let’s just say ‘Exorcist style projectile vomit’ and leave it at that. I will never drink peach juice EVER again. My kidney Dr was very annoyed that the nurses had given me food the same day as surgery and I was terrified that all the vomiting and heaving would ruin my stitches. I was ok, but my appetite was all over the place. My niece came to visit at one point eating a packet of Tuc crackers and drinking a can of iced tea and it was all I could think about for 3 days.
If you ever wondered what it’s like to be on a catheter, there is no feeling really. UNLESS, one of your visitors leans on that side of the bed and then you will feel a full bladder feeling, or if there is a kink in the cable and you start feeling like you need the toilet, tell the nurse. I remember looking out of the window a lot at night and unable to sleep, my BF was allowed to stay with me on a fold out bed in the corner so most of the time I just looked over to him or watching the moon. There was free wifi in my room but I only really used my iPod for FaceTime with my parents or quick Facebook updates.
Time went very slowly during my stay and the worst time of day was when the nurses came to give me my sponge bath, although I felt so much better afterwards.
After 5 days I was allowed to go home, in an ambulance! This was actually quite fun and because I had to stay in bed another week after my hospital stay (to let my kidney heal to it’s new place) I was wheeled out of my room and then lifted into the ambulance like in the films. My BF was allowed in the ambulance on the ride home. All I could see was a lovely blue sky and so many palm trees. When we arrived home I was put into a special wheelchair and the ambulance guy and family member lifted me up 4 flights of stairs (apartment style building, no lift) to our house where I was put straight into bed.
I only got out of bed to use the bathroom (either showering or to use the toilet) for the first 5 days at home. After that I was allowed to take a few steps about the house, so I aimed for the balcony. Little by little I shuffled about the house, but always laying flat in between. I managed to marathon the whole of Breaking Bad from start to finish during the first few weeks. It wasn’t until May that I was allowed to start exercising again and get back to what’s classed as normal.
Since my original post last year, I’ve made some ‘kidney friends’ who have been through or are planning on having the same operation. I’m here for support if you need a friend to talk to about this as I know it can really mess with your head and cause a lot of upset as it’s hard to diagnose and recovery is quite tough.
Right now I’m feeling great, hardly any pains in my back (on the left kidney) walking on average 8,000 steps a day and living a normal life.
There is going to be a second part to this post, why? Because my other kidney has dropped and isn’t working properly so it looks like I will have to go through this all again! Doh!