Donating a kidney, flying to Mayo for surgery, any packing tips?

Posted by savvysarahjane @savvysarahjane, Nov 25, 2021

Hi!

After 90 weeks of COVID related waiting following my clear to donate, my (donation on behalf of) recipient and I are scheduled for surgery in just a few weeks. I'm looking for tips from folks on things they had wished they had packed, or were very grateful to have thought of to have with them. After so much waiting, it feels like we're now going at warp speed and my brain is mush. I'm a Mom of three, so I've at least got packing lots of clean underwear covered. 😛

Thanks in advance!

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Transplants group.

@savvysarahjane, Good Morning and Welcome to Connect. You must have posted just after I logged off last night. I can almost feel your 'gotta hurry up' warp speed mode right now with 90 weeks waiting and suddenly surgery in a few weeks.

I would like to invite @leftyleft, @betsypuccirogers, @mauraacro, @ek101085, @danhoe, @tasher3433, @earlenes to this conversation. – Do you have any tips or suggestions for @savvysarahjane that you learned from your experience? What would you suggest to her about packing when flying to Mayo for her donor surgery in a few weeks?

REPLY

@savvysarahjane,
Here is some information that I also want to share with you.

-From the Mayo Clinic Living Donors Toolkit –
"Bring a basic toiletry bag for your use in the hospital, as well as comfortable, loose fitting clothes for when you are ready to go home. Because the hospital will already have your insurance information, there is no need to bring any documentation unless you are specifically asked. Leave all jewelry and other valuables at home."
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/blog/transplant/tab/resource-36/
Please don't be alarmed by the length of this discussion. The beginning posts are the direct words from @mauraacro who describes her kidney donation experience that are worth your limited time. Sprinkled throughout the conversations are many helpful interactions between donors as the share their experiences and ask/answer questions.
-The Journey from the Donor's Side
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/kidney-transplant-from-the-donor-side/
I was at the Mayo Rochester Campus when I received my transplant. Which Mayo campus will you be going to?

REPLY
@rosemarya

@savvysarahjane,
Here is some information that I also want to share with you.

-From the Mayo Clinic Living Donors Toolkit –
"Bring a basic toiletry bag for your use in the hospital, as well as comfortable, loose fitting clothes for when you are ready to go home. Because the hospital will already have your insurance information, there is no need to bring any documentation unless you are specifically asked. Leave all jewelry and other valuables at home."
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/blog/transplant/tab/resource-36/
Please don't be alarmed by the length of this discussion. The beginning posts are the direct words from @mauraacro who describes her kidney donation experience that are worth your limited time. Sprinkled throughout the conversations are many helpful interactions between donors as the share their experiences and ask/answer questions.
-The Journey from the Donor's Side
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/kidney-transplant-from-the-donor-side/
I was at the Mayo Rochester Campus when I received my transplant. Which Mayo campus will you be going to?

Jump to this post

Hi there! I am not a donor, but a caregiver of a kidney recipient, and mother of the donor. Rely on your caregiver at least the first 2 weeks. Our donor was so grateful to have someone to walk with many times a day, make her food as she had no interest, read to her, adjust those multiple pillows behind, and in front of, assist with getting to and from the bathroom/shower. Provide warm towels after showering, and being a good listener or silent companion. Everyone’s needs are different. Trust your caregiver, or get a new one if you feel uncomfortable asking for anything. Your are not a burden, you are a giver of life. Straighten your crown!
Bring your own music, short stories as initially it may be difficult to concentrate, stream some tv shows if you like. A short robe and very loose waisted pant, or drawstring pant will be helpful. Mayo will give you a large mug with straw for beverages. And that all important pillow!

I realize I have just rambled away here! Please excuse me! So, to answer your question on what to bring: very loose clothing, slipper socks, music/ reading material, and a fantastic caregiver. Oh, and halo polish. My very best wishes to you, now and always, and gratitude for saving a life.

REPLY

@savvysarahjane, you may appreciate the tips in this somewhat related discussion with tips from transplant recipients waiting for the call:
– Packing question: What did you have ready for "the call"? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/packing-question/

I'll add, bring a long cord for charging your phone or other devices.

REPLY
@tasher3433

Hi there! I am not a donor, but a caregiver of a kidney recipient, and mother of the donor. Rely on your caregiver at least the first 2 weeks. Our donor was so grateful to have someone to walk with many times a day, make her food as she had no interest, read to her, adjust those multiple pillows behind, and in front of, assist with getting to and from the bathroom/shower. Provide warm towels after showering, and being a good listener or silent companion. Everyone’s needs are different. Trust your caregiver, or get a new one if you feel uncomfortable asking for anything. Your are not a burden, you are a giver of life. Straighten your crown!
Bring your own music, short stories as initially it may be difficult to concentrate, stream some tv shows if you like. A short robe and very loose waisted pant, or drawstring pant will be helpful. Mayo will give you a large mug with straw for beverages. And that all important pillow!

I realize I have just rambled away here! Please excuse me! So, to answer your question on what to bring: very loose clothing, slipper socks, music/ reading material, and a fantastic caregiver. Oh, and halo polish. My very best wishes to you, now and always, and gratitude for saving a life.

Jump to this post

Double, triple like your post, @tasher3433. Thank you.

REPLY
@tasher3433

Hi there! I am not a donor, but a caregiver of a kidney recipient, and mother of the donor. Rely on your caregiver at least the first 2 weeks. Our donor was so grateful to have someone to walk with many times a day, make her food as she had no interest, read to her, adjust those multiple pillows behind, and in front of, assist with getting to and from the bathroom/shower. Provide warm towels after showering, and being a good listener or silent companion. Everyone’s needs are different. Trust your caregiver, or get a new one if you feel uncomfortable asking for anything. Your are not a burden, you are a giver of life. Straighten your crown!
Bring your own music, short stories as initially it may be difficult to concentrate, stream some tv shows if you like. A short robe and very loose waisted pant, or drawstring pant will be helpful. Mayo will give you a large mug with straw for beverages. And that all important pillow!

I realize I have just rambled away here! Please excuse me! So, to answer your question on what to bring: very loose clothing, slipper socks, music/ reading material, and a fantastic caregiver. Oh, and halo polish. My very best wishes to you, now and always, and gratitude for saving a life.

Jump to this post

Thank you for your kind compliments and helpful suggestions! I hadn't thought about a robe, but remember how helpful that was when I was in the hospital with my kids (got me out of those gowns a little sooner), so that's great to know. And I really appreciate the easy reading suggestion- I am a returning grad student so I thought, "oh maybe I can get through some research" but I think I'll swap that out for some magazines and maybe that Jessica Simpson autobiography after reading your suggestion. <3

REPLY
@colleenyoung

@savvysarahjane, you may appreciate the tips in this somewhat related discussion with tips from transplant recipients waiting for the call:
– Packing question: What did you have ready for "the call"? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/packing-question/

I'll add, bring a long cord for charging your phone or other devices.

Jump to this post

That cord suggestion is great! Yes! I will set one out. And thanks to you and @rosemarya for the links to prior threads. It's so helpful.

REPLY
@rosemarya

@savvysarahjane,
Here is some information that I also want to share with you.

-From the Mayo Clinic Living Donors Toolkit –
"Bring a basic toiletry bag for your use in the hospital, as well as comfortable, loose fitting clothes for when you are ready to go home. Because the hospital will already have your insurance information, there is no need to bring any documentation unless you are specifically asked. Leave all jewelry and other valuables at home."
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/blog/transplant/tab/resource-36/
Please don't be alarmed by the length of this discussion. The beginning posts are the direct words from @mauraacro who describes her kidney donation experience that are worth your limited time. Sprinkled throughout the conversations are many helpful interactions between donors as the share their experiences and ask/answer questions.
-The Journey from the Donor's Side
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/kidney-transplant-from-the-donor-side/
I was at the Mayo Rochester Campus when I received my transplant. Which Mayo campus will you be going to?

Jump to this post

Forgot to say that we are going to Rochester.

REPLY
@savvysarahjane

Thank you for your kind compliments and helpful suggestions! I hadn't thought about a robe, but remember how helpful that was when I was in the hospital with my kids (got me out of those gowns a little sooner), so that's great to know. And I really appreciate the easy reading suggestion- I am a returning grad student so I thought, "oh maybe I can get through some research" but I think I'll swap that out for some magazines and maybe that Jessica Simpson autobiography after reading your suggestion. <3

Jump to this post

That’s brilliant! You may like to sleep, too! You’ll feel terrific and poop out quickly, in the beginning! Listen to your body☺️Very best wishes, I’ll be watching for any updates.

REPLY

Congratulations, that's so exciting!
Do you have any maternity leggings or pants? Or high waist ones? They go up over the incisions & if you're bloated, are very comfortable. I was in the hospital for such a short time that I didn't need much but brought the long charger, a travel toiletry kit, kindle, phone & a change of clothes.
I was in Rochester in January so don't know if it's as cold now but layers of clothing & good walking shoes are nice because while it may be freezing out, inside places are very warm. If you're used to the activity of 3 kids, you may be restless & walk a lot but Rochester is a great place for that both inside & out. I had a much easier time walking than I did with the seat belt in a car.

REPLY

Blessings to you and your recipient during this time. I donated my left kidney to an unknown recipient in May 2020. I had a Mayo only a couple of hours away from my home in AZ so I was able to only be in the hospital 1 night. I was pretty sleepy and nauseous in the hospital so I didn't do much besides walk every hour and then rest. Luckily I was fortunate enough to not need pain meds after going home, Tylenol and sleep worked for me. In the Rochester Mayo there's many tunnels for a little walk if it's too cold out. I think the short walks really helped me heal quickly. 3 weeks after my donation I was able to walk minor trails at the Grand Canyon. Listen to your body though, I rested and slept a lot to let my body work on healing. I had my 10 ft phone charger and listened to some podcasts, books, and Ted talks to keep my mind occupied. I found rolling to my side and getting up that way put the least pressure on my incision and after the first walk I could get up without help. Same for lying down again. I had a weird side effect once home of crazy hot flashes that they said isn't a normal side effect (🤣) but really had a smooth recovery and I'm still feeling great. Your team will still be there for you so don't hesitate to ask them questions- incredible people they are!!! About 10 days after I felt pretty much back to normal except would wear out more quickly. If you need any support at all, please reach out. I will pray everything goes smoothly for you and your recipient. It's a true blessed gift you are sharing- thank you.

REPLY
@mauraacro

Congratulations, that's so exciting!
Do you have any maternity leggings or pants? Or high waist ones? They go up over the incisions & if you're bloated, are very comfortable. I was in the hospital for such a short time that I didn't need much but brought the long charger, a travel toiletry kit, kindle, phone & a change of clothes.
I was in Rochester in January so don't know if it's as cold now but layers of clothing & good walking shoes are nice because while it may be freezing out, inside places are very warm. If you're used to the activity of 3 kids, you may be restless & walk a lot but Rochester is a great place for that both inside & out. I had a much easier time walking than I did with the seat belt in a car.

Jump to this post

I don't have any maternity pants, but I do have high waisted ones! That's a helpful tip. And def packing my favorite tennis. I am used to exercising 5 times a week so I imagine I'll be walking lots as I recover.

REPLY
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