Donating a kidney, flying to Mayo for surgery, any packing tips?
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!
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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.
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.
Thanks for your reply. I am grateful to hear all these details of your experience. They help me to wrap my mind around what is coming.
@savvysarahjane, I am taking a break from some holiday preparations, and I am wondering about you. You didn't indicate when your kidney donor surgery would occur, so I want to drop in for a quick, Thinking of you 💐-
I hope that you are doing well, and that your preparations are going smoothly. Will the surgery affect any holiday plans?
What is the all important pillow? I'm getting ready to donate next week.
Hi there! So. The all important pillow is one the transplant team will give you, kidney shaped,of course😚. However, we brought a baby pillow, several king size pillows- one very soft and flexible, one firmer, and unfortunately forgot a body pillow. Please allow your caregiver to help arrange these under and around you to relieve some pain while the gas escapes. Some are great for support, some just for comfort, some under your knees, some behind your back if laying flat is uncomfortable. Some under your shoulders, behind your head. You may find nothing is comfortable at first. It’s quite all right to rant!
Also, if available, reclining chair was very helpful.
You are an amazing Lady. You are about to change not only 1 life, but a chain you may never know of! Thank you! Bestcwishes for a speedy recovery🥰
Thank you. I'm grateful to help my mom! Do I bring all these pillow or are they provided? How long will I be bloated? How was the car ride home for those traveling? How long until walking around ok?
Lots of questions now we're getting near! Also, did a nutritionist meet with you and educate on what you can you eat or not? Thanks for any help. I'm feeling a little in the dark
I donated my left kidney to an unknown recipient in May of 2020 at the Phoenix Mayo hospital. My surgery and recovery went very smoothly. I would donate again if it was possible. I tired out easier than usual but I was able to get up and walk right away. I tried to get up every hour and walk as far as my body allowed. I think this really helped with recovery and I was able to hike a little at the Grand Canyon 3 weeks after surgery. I really paid attention to my body and rested whenever I felt I needed it. I was fortunate enough to not need pain meds (except Tylenol and sleep) after leaving the hospital the day after surgery. I was able to eat regularly after surgery. I drink a lot of water and my kidney is working like a charm. If you have any questions your team is definitely there for you after surgery for as long as you need. I am also happy to try to help from my experience. Blessings to you on this life changing journey.
Hi KristinKay! The important pillow is the one that gives the most comfort, be it a scent, a feel, whatever gives YOU comfort, But MAYO will gift you a green kidney shaped pillow that you can place anywhere you don’t want pressure! We travelled to Mayo Scottsdale, from Las Vegas by car and we just moved into an Airbnb for the duration, so extra pillows were easy enough. Also, drinking water by the case! Phoenix water is gross. And you will be drinking gallons😊 Mayo will also give you a large, lidded plastic mug.
I’m going both ways here, as my husband was the recipient and our daughter, K, was the donor. K’s bloating seemed like a week. She was walking same day, albeit slowly, but faithfully! ( her own caregiver moved right in with us..it was an ideal situation.) they walked every 2 hours, she was released next day, and had to stay a week for testing after, to be sure all was well. The pillows were packed around her like a newborn, in the car, and they stopped nearly every hour when she needed to change positions, or pee! She did find stairs were out of the question the 1st week she was home, and a reclining chair was a godsend…with pillows of course! She is a walker, and in good physical condition so walking fit into the routine.
My husband, at 75, had organ rejection, 3 days after transplant. However Mayo put him back in, blasted the rejection to hell for 4 days, and he progressed as well. We were actually in Scottsdale for nearly 8 weeks before heading home…with the pillows, the 4 hour drive took 7 hours with our stops.
Walking will be your lifesaver, both of you! Not fun, at first, but restorative. Go as far as is comfortable as often as you can, sleep in between. We progressed from a walker to a cane, to nothing within 2 weeks for my husband.
Yes, a nutritionist met with us! Very helpful, though G had been on the kidney disease diet for over a year, so not much different. Take notes! For myself, everything was a whirl, especially as Covid was showing its ugly face and I found I could refer to notes, again, after a conversation.
Oh my goodness, let me just ramble here😊.
Oh, we also found the 7 day pill container to be so helpful, as well as timers on our phones/ watches.
Remember, the only stupid question is the one you DON’T ask. The Mayo team is fantastic, but the people here are amazing! My very best wishes to you all, with hopes of a speedy recovery.
@tasher3433 – Please keep on rambling!!! Your first hand account of your experience is better than any textbook can provide❤️.
As a caregiver for your husband and mother of a donor daughter, you are providing useful insights from both sides of kidney donation and kidney transplant.
What do you wish that you, caregiver, had known ahead of time?