Sunday, June 21, 2009

Monday, Monday ...

In about eight hours I am having a nephrectomy. I am voluntarily having my kidney removed to donate to someone else.

WHAT!? They are going to poke holes in my belly, blow it up with air and pull my kidney out through a little slit. I MUST BE INSANE!! WHAT WAS I THINKING??

Last week my old best friend, Mindi, and I went to dinner. I told her that I didn't understand why everyone was making such a big deal. It couldn't be worse than a hysterectomy or a C-section. My kidney is only about the size of my fist and that is much smaller than a baby. Mindi, in her dry way, said, "And just when have you had a hysterectomy or a baby?" I admitted that I had had neither. So she said, "So, Pamela, you have no idea what you are talking about."

My mother used to say that all the Paulk kids had the unique ability to speak with great authority about subjects we know absolutely nothing about. Well, except my older brother, Keith, who actually does know something about everything. We have yet to stump him.

Mindi is right. I don't know what donating a kidney is like, but the staff have done a great of preparing me. I go in tomorrow morning at 5:30 a.m. My brother, Mack, my nephew, Chris and two of my best friends, Gail (new best friend) and Carol (best friend from work) will be there. They will sit watch in the waiting room for the next several hours.

Merrie from Anesthesiology kindly called me yesterday to talk about anesthesia. When I explained that I am claustrophobic, she said she would make sure I was warm and comfortable and that nothing would be put over my face until I was asleep. That was incredibly reassuring. She even said she could put me to sleep in a comfortable sitting position. She did warn me that my side would get stretched a lot with my arm over my head, so not to be alarmed. Hooray, mentor Kathy, for encouraging me to stretch.

I will wake up about four hours later that will feel like two seconds with one less kidney. I will stay in the hospital for a couple days and go home to recuperate. My recovery will take 4 - 6 weeks. I measure full recovery when I can get back to the gym and my pilates and yoga classes. They say a full six weeks before I am allowed to do that. I have a wonderful support system of family and friends who have volunteered to check on me, walk with me and feed me.

Thanks to everyone for all their notes and words of support. It has already been an extraordinary journey and it really hasn't even started yet.

I am ready for tomorrow - Monday.


  1. Have woken on and off throughout the night. Thoughts and prayers for you, your recipient, your families and med teams. I shall be following the threads especially closely throughout the day. We shall talk soon.
    - Jessica

  2. Pamela, I just returned to town from Colorado. I thought of you so often and I cannot wait to hear of your progress. You are so incredibly brave! Priscilla

  3. Hi Pamela -

    I donated last month to my dad at J-HOP. The staff was awesome! I enjoyed the treatment on Marburg 2; not having to worry about a roommate and having meals when I wanted them. Wishing you a speedy recovery!!!
    Monique :)