Friday, March 30, 2012


Back from the hospital, where I've been Doris'd again (dressings redone and infection kept at bay). Amazing news, I've got the weekend off with no blood tests, nurses or doctors! Back again for a monster day on Monday, but at least I'll have had some respite.

Instead, P. and I will do some shopping on Saturday and go to the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra on Sunday afternoon. Some outings!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Proceeding well

Today is a 'day off' as I don't have to go to the hospital for tests and review. It is a good chance to have a good rest as P. and I are still recuperating from fairly major operations.

I got notice yesterday that Monday will be a big day at the hospital. I have to fast for my morning blood tests, then late in the morning, I'll be admitted for day surgery (under anaesthetic) to remove my Tenckhoff catheter (for peritoneal dialysis) and my PermaCath for plasma transfer. At last, I'll be free of attachments and entry points. But it does mean an all-day fast, a small price to pay for 'freedom'.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Three weeks down

Today is three weeks post-transplant. Both of us are healing well and Kevin the kidney is still performing well. I've only got to go to the hospital for three days this week so far (missing two) so things are improving. However, I'm off the diabetes trial, having failed to get a blood sugar reading three times yesterday. I'm not sorry to stop the finger pricking.

Peter saw his surgeon on Monday, who informed him that his kidney was larger than expected so required a bigger incision, which explains why he is taking longer to heal than me. Today he goes to see his nephrologist, who will examine his blood tests. If all this sounds a little obsessive, it is because the process, for the first month, is very intensive. It is quite difficult to think of anything else, except getting a bit of rest.

We are eating quite well, both from our own shopping and from deliveries from friends. We have a full freezer which would enable us to withstand a lengthy war. Thank you everyone.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A few steps to normality

This morning, it was off with father early to the hospital, where I was dealt with very quickly, giving gallons of blood for various tests. We've got Sunday off, so for the first time in well over a week, father and I can both sleep in. After diverting to get some medicaments on the way home, I went down to the Convent Market, where I got milk, gnocchi, salmon, steak and kidney pudding and some veg., plus flowers. Then Pierre went to the supermarket near Brunswick Street on the bus to get some more supplies plus coffee at Jasper's. We are now well supplied for the week.

We have an early start on Monday as I begin the diabetes research project, then we've got our PR photo (which all the transplant pairs do), then P. has got an appointment with his surgeon, the first post-hospital. In the meantime, we'll have a small rest and relaxation time.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rake's Progress

This morning I got 'Dorised' again: Doris the head of the transplant clinic redid my three dressings. All infections had better beware. Doris intends to head them off at the pass every day.

Last night, P., Frank and I went to the Opera Victoria production of The Rake's Progress. In truth, it probably was a bit early for such an outing, only a fortnight post transplant. However, we managed it: a quick bus trip into the city, a Thai dinner in Swanston Street, then tram to the Arts Centre. Conducted by the affable Richard Gill, the Stravinsky work was well sung and directed (by John Bell). The orchestration with a smaller Orchestra Victoria was truly splendid. We came home in a cab, so although we were both a bit exhausted afterwards, I think it was worth the small step back to normality. Our next outing is not until 1 April, a Sunday arvo Melbourne Chamber Orchestra concert.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New regimen

I'm now settling into the new regimen: up every morning at 6.45, then off to the hospital by eight with Dad, who needs to be weaned off this soon, though I'm very grateful for one less problem. At the hospital, I see the vampires for a blood test, then wait for the doctor in the clinic who checks my 'levels' and gives me the all clear. It varies in length from 1 to3 hours, depending on the number of takers for the day.

Yesterday, I also made the acquaintance of Doris Yipp, the coordinator of the clinic, who redressed my three dressings with great care and diligence. Infections beware! She has been doing it for a long time, and experience tells. Today, I lost my drain bag and my dressing has finally closed up.

Once the blood test is taken, I can take my Tacrolimus, which is being monitored via the blood test. Once home, I can set out my medications for the next 24 hours in their little pill boxes so I can take them easily when the time comes. Now I can settle back into a more or less normal life. Phew!

I've got no real work on deck at present, which is probably a good thing, but I can slowly redo my talk on Indigenous publishing and editing for Melbourne Uni. and the same material for a more 'experienced' audience at an APA seminar in late July. It is a good opportunity to rethink and revamp the material which is looking a little tired (i.e. needs new jokes).

Friday, March 16, 2012

Kevin gets a new house

Kevin the kidney has moved houses from Peter to Bruce. He got to his new house and looked around. Because dialysis removes most impurities but not all, he said, 'What's all this shit?' and set about clearing up, pedalling fast. He hasn't assumed all of his kidneyan functions yet but he seems to be a goer, at least so far. (P.S. Yes, he is named after our erstwhile prime minister who has something of a kidney air about him.)

The hospital (Royal Melbourne) and the members of the nephrology unit treated us very well, though I had the roommate from hell. I alternated between despising him and feeling sorry for him. There is certainly plenty to observe in a hospital ward over nearly two weeks. I loved the cleaner who has scrubbed floors there for 28 years! She said, probably correctly, that when she retires shortly there won't be anyone able or willing to do the job.

Now begins a fairly punishing schedule. In spite of having returned home, I have to go back to the hospital every day for a month for checking (bloods, etc.) then every second day for a month and so on. There are also moderate diet restrictions for three months (no fresh seafood, processed meats, soft cheeses).

Peter has been home since last Saturday and seems to be doing well. I arrived home today, thanks to father, and seem fine, though not completely healed. It will take a while. I'm still leaking into a bag from the main wound, though not much any more.

Thanks to all the people who sent good wishes. Too many to thank individually. I'm very grateful.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

The Mad Square

P. and I went off this morning to the last day of The Mad Square at the NGV St Kilda Road. I was a bit reluctant to go but am glad I did. I'm very grateful not to have lived in those times in that place. After the horrors of the First World War there was a bloody, brief revolution, then massive inflation, then Hitler. The exhibition gave a fine sense of impending doom, finishing with the examples from the Degenerate German Art exhibition mounted by the Nazis.

In between were brief periods of optimisim, like the Bauhaus school, but eventually these were crushed. The legacy is there in the art, the films and the objects but it is, on the whole, very sad. The luckiest artists escaped to America.

We then had a nice lunch at the NGV tearoom. I had the crustless sandwiches, which I love, plus a cake, and P. had quiche of the day with hot chocolate. Now, home again for packing for the hospital.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Step one accomplished

Today, my father took me into the hospital at an appallingly early hour: arriving by 7am. The purpose was to have a permacath installed so I can have several plasma exchanges to minimise the risk of rejection. It was a long wait: I was eventually prepared for surgery at around 12.30pm. The procedure, however, went smoothly and took around half an hour. It was done by the surgeon who will 'do' P. next Wednesday. The insertion of the canulla by the anaesthetist was the most pain-free ever.

After I awoke in recovery, I was given juice and a sandwich (I was starving having fasted since the previous evening), then my father arrived and I came home. Now I've got the weekend off and start again on Monday afternoon.