Friday, April 07, 2006

Fistula Number Two

I told everyone that I was having fistula surgery this week, so I figured it was about time to share an update. On Monday, April 3, I had surgery done on my upper left arm (above the elbow) to put in a new AV fistula. The old fistula (which was done on my left wrist) had stopped working, and they could no longer use it for dialysis. So, the doctors mapped out my veins, and found that the best candidates were in my upper left arm.

Monday, around 11:00 am, I was wheeled into surgery. I don’t remember much after that, but when I came out, my arm was very sore and did not want to straighten out. I wasn’t worried about that, since the surgery I had previously had on my elbow had also made my arm stiff for a few days. The doctor had wrapped my arm in gauze from the elbow to the shoulder, and I could see several dark stains along the wrappings. He said to leave the bandages on and that they could change them in dialysis on Tuesday.

I stayed home from work on Tuesday to help facilitate recovery (and since I was still taking pain medication all day long). I went to dialysis, and the nephrologist came by and felt a strong thrill in my upper arm. It is still pretty sore, but the thrill is very strong and that is a good sign, especially since the thrill had completely died out near my wrist.

The nephrologist said to change the bandages, but did not want to remove the gauze that was directly on the surgical wound. He said I could do that in a couple of days. I changed out the gauze on Thursday night, and the scar is not pretty. I would guess that there is a four to five inch line of stitches holding my upper arm together. It was still bleeding a little bit, so I put on new gauze and bandaged my arm up again. It’s Friday now, and the scar area still hurts. I still cannot stretch my arm out fully without pain, but my elbow does bend all the way out now, which is good.

Let’s see, what else has happened this week. Last week (or two weeks ago) my dad and aunt sent in blood work to be run against mine to try and match up for kidney donation. This week, two non-related friends of mine sent in blood samples, and I sent in another set to be run against theirs. I spoke to the transplant coordinator today about the blood testing. She said that my dad is guaranteed a 3 out of 6 match (because all parents have at least a 3 out of 6 with their children). She did not have the results for anyone with her, so she could not give them to me over the phone. Hopefully she will call when she gets everyone tested.

She said that based on what the four donors that sent in blood test, I will probably just end up having to pick someone to get tested. I’m not sure who that will be, yet, as I have not seen the results. Please pray that God will make it obvious to me who needs to be tested for kidney donation. Thanks!

I would also ask that you pray for my arm to heal. Normally I play the violin at church on Sundays, but I cannot do that with my left arm out of commission. Pray that it will heal quickly, and that the fistula will mature properly for the next eight weeks. I grew tired of my chest catheter the last time I had one, and I know that I will soon stop enjoying this one as well.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Just keep praying that God will help me with my transplant decisions that I have to make in the next several weeks.
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