Monday, September 5, 2016

Living Kidney Donors: Alert!

It's What You Can't See.

Yesterday's visit to our local ER was another reminder to use caution.  My son, Chris, and I had just removed our sagging, rotten, wooden walkway in our backyard.  I know that we were careful to put every nail in a bucket so that no one would do what I just did. 

I was headed back into the house. No,I didn't see any nails.  However, when I stepped on the loose board in front of the steps, I felt it slide right in. 

Howling,  I flew backward.   My first instinct was to pull the nail out.  I knew it was wrong, but pain was overriding common sense.  Thank God that my son was nearby. He told me not to look as neighbors helped me get into the car. I realized that all I could do was pray.

I had no idea if the nail had gone all the way through my foot.  I knew that the nails we pulled were rusty.  Most of them were long.  Generous comments were shared from folks in the waiting room, "That's going to hurt when it comes out. It looks like a construction nail. No, I think that it's a deck nail.  You know, the ones that twist so that they stay in longer."  See the nails in the photo.  The one on the top is about the size of the piece that was on the outside of my shoe.  I was worried that the rest was as long as the bottom one. 

They did get it out.  It was rusty. However, they weren't sure about what they couldn't see.  Xrays at every angle confirmed that there were no fragments in my foot. I was so relieved!  If that had been the case they would have had to operate to get it all out. Whew!

I left the ER with a grateful heart, a tetanus shot, and several prescriptions: an antibiotic and two pain killers.  One of the pain killers was for a heavy dose of Motrin .  As a kidney donor, I'm not supposed to take Motrin (Ibuprofen). This is an NSAID (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug).  Frequent use of these medications can lead to kidney failure.  Doctors recommend that kidney donors avoid these. Some people say that a short term use might not cause harm. I don't want to take any chances.  NSAIDs are hard on your kidney.  Instead, pain relievers with Acetaminophen, like Tylenol, can be used. I asked the nurse to enter it in my record so that any future visits would avoid NSAIDS.

I'm making sure to faithfully take my antibiotic until I finish the prescription. Just like the tip of the nail, many microscopic elements might have entered.  The adage is true-"It's what you can't see that can hurt you."

What about you? Have you had "near misses" after your kidney donation?  Do you have any safety tips that people need to know? 

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