lifeorgan donationpost transplantThe Story of Holly & Billy the Kid

Chapter VIII: Billy the Kid

Everybody talks about The Power of Social Media, sometimes so much so that it seems like a cliche, but looking at my phone for the first time after surgery definitely made me a believer! I have never in my life seen so many texts, WhatsApps, Facebook messages, Tweets, Instagram tags, missed phone calls and other notifications. It appeared word had spread. I also promptly discovered that our plan to keep it secret from everyone still in Blackpool had failed miserably, and people I hadn’t even met yet had tracked me down on Facebook and messaged me to wish me well and to tell me they couldn’t believe what had happened!

I also discovered that Lindy, who had phoned the hospital several times during surgery for updates on me, had been posting on my Facebook wall keeping everybody updated on what was going on!

Responding to all the messages (and taking the odd Very Drugged Selfie; hilarious, but hopefully never to see the light of day again!) took the rest of Day 0.

Lindy appeared on Sunday afternoon. I think she was surprised by how alive I was!

Somewhere along the way, somebody, I don’t remember who, asked me if I had a name for my new kidney. (Among transplant recipients, this is not as strange as it might sound! I promise!) For some reason, my answer was “Billy”, as in, Billy the Kid. As in, some sort of cartoon cowboy! I have not a clue why I chose this name, but it stuck. Billy the Kid it was.

I would love to say that Billy the Kid worked perfectly, that I felt amazing and my life has been happily ever after from there on out. Unfortunately he didn’t, and it hasn’t.

I knew beforehand that because BTK came from a deceased donor, and had spent quite awhile in transit being transported to MRI, he might be a bit “shocked” to be transplanted and not work straight away. At the time, I was ok with that, but when it actually happened, it was much more stressful than I expected it to be.

While everybody around me was saying things like “This is really common!” and “It will wake up!” and “Mine took XYZ days (or weeks!) to start to work!” I was thinking “I just KNOW I’m going to be one of those people who gets a transplant that doesn’t do anything.” This was not helped by my still having to do PD at night while I waited for things to get started. All I’ll say on this topic at the moment is that post-transplant dialysis was an experience I’m trying to put behind me.

On a happier note, after the longest ten days of my life, Billy the Kid woke up. He didn’t exactly go from 0 to 60 in a day (and to be honest he still hasn’t, even as I write this 8 months after transplant) but he worked well enough for the consultants to be happy, and to be able to avoid needing to be biopsied, much to my relief!

Hands down one of my all time favourite pictures of myself. You’d be that happy too, if you suddenly had a working transplant!!!

On the 20-something of October, after 2.5 extremely long weeks (maybe I’ll write about them one day, probably not, but maybe), I was finally discharged from hospital and went to stay with some lovely friends who live in Manchester. This was brilliant as it meant I didn’t have to go back to the city where I actually live, some 30 miles away, and could stay nearby for regular outpatient clinics and potential emergencies, of which there fortunately were none! Real life was slowly starting to resume.

I’m usually a cat person…except for when I’m not. Dog cuddles definitely helped.

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