Transplant Epilogue

I’m now over 6 weeks post transplant and everything is still about as perfect as it could possibly be. Appointments reduced to once a month, blood draws weekly, creatinine around 1.2 and eGFR over 70. Amazing!

There was however, just one thing hanging over my head and if you read my previous post, you’ll know what it was. The stent removal.

Today was the day I’d been dreading, but I had to face it. So at 8.45am I headed back into Seattle to visit the Swedish Urology Clinic and Dr Phillip Chapman. The wait was longer than I would have liked – when you’re dreading something, you just want to get it over and done with, so an hour in the waiting room was less than ideal. I passed some of the time by providing a required urine sample. Eventually my name was called and I was taken into a procedure room to meet Dr Chapman. Rather like the anaesthetist, he was very pleasant and calming and after going over my medical history (again) he explained in excruciating detail what was going to happen. I suppose it’s better to know, but it didn’t exactly put me at ease.

So, with no photos this time (for obvious reasons) this is what happened.
I lay on the exam chair and exposed the work area, so to speak. Hanging from a hook on the ceiling was a bottle of sterile water and a long tube which he proceeded to attach to the camera thing. I was expecting a screen so I could have seen what was happening too, but it was a tiny monitor that he held up to his eye – perhaps that was for the best. The procedure was basically to insert the thing up my penis into the bladder, have a look around to make sure all looked ok, grab the stent’s curly end with a hook and pull it out. But first, it had to go up!

Out came a syringe of gel infused with lidocaine, a local anaesthetic. After a clean with alcohol (which he apologized was cold, as if I cared about that!), he squirted a small amount into the end, waited a short while and did it again. Each one sent the gel further up and it was an unpleasant sensation. Then came the moment to get started. To be honest I didn’t feel it going in and almost immediately he said that he was at the sphincter (the bladder valve). He’d already warned me that this couldn’t be numbed and getting past here would be the worst part. It was, my goodness it was. Fortunately the pain just lasted for a few seconds like he assured me it would.

And then he proceeded to turn and twist the instrument observing the inside of my bladder. All was well but he was surprised at the length of the stent and enquired whether I had had discomfort urinating, which I hadn’t.

I was then asked to take a deep breath and exhale. And in one deft motion, he pulled everything out. It wasn’t as bad as the entry, but to be fair, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. “Would you like to see the stent?” I was asked? “Hell no!”, I think I replied.
He gave me some tissues to mop up from the water that had escaped (the procedure water from the ceiling, not urine) and left me to get dressed. He came back with 5 antibiotic tablets for the next couple of days just to prevent infections. And it was over and yes, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

All I need to be aware of is any potential blockage now the stent is gone, so that would manifest itself in a lower urine output or signs of fever etc.

So in summary, it probably wasn’t as bad as I was dreading, but on the other hand, would I like to do it again? I refer you to my previous answer. “HELL NO!”

One thought on “Transplant Epilogue

  1. Hi Wayne,
    I came across your story – thanks for the inspiration. We are trying to get in touch with you re RemoTraC. Just to let you know, your email bubbles up to me as the CEO at CareDx, over the weekend.
    Hope to be in touch with you shortly. Stay safe and take care! Peter

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