In October 2016, my now-husband had a kidney transplant. In fact, we met at a kidney disease support group! We were barely starting a relationship, and there was a lot yet to learn about each other. After his transplant I had to learn how to deal with numerous follow-up appointments and accompanying labwork, plus his changes in attitude and lifestyle after many years on dialysis. To go from a very active person to staying quiet and not on-the-go all the time during recovery, was difficult for him. To suddenly have what seemed to be a pharmacy-in-a-box was brand new and challenging to manage. I accompanied him to all appointments and kept detailed notes. I asked a lot of questions, and asked for answers to be repeated in “laymen’s terms” so we could be certain we understood clearly.
I wish I had better known that each transplant is different, due to different circumstances, and each person being individual in their approach, reactions, etc. Doctors can speak in generalities, but I needed to learn about my husband’s particular case. The tips I would offer another caregiver are:
– Learn to ask questions.
– Keep a journal. It was a valuable tool for us.
What would you like to tell to the caregiver whose loved one is on the transplant list? What advice do you have for fellow transplant caregivers? What do you wish you had known?