Saturday, February 28, 2009

Going Down Under

In my last post I forgot to mention the most exciting piece of news - in fact, the word exciting just doesn't cover it....super douper, insanely exciting may just about cover it.

I am off to Perth in Western Australia for 3 weeks... in 12 days! My best friend recently moved out there and ever since I knew she was going, I had been desperate to book flights to visit. Due to the small matter of a transplant I had to get many 'go-aheads' from various consultants, and luckily all of them said yes - resulting in an extremely happy me.

Not only am I absolutely thrilled to be going to see Hannah, I am also ecstatic to be going away without being on dialysis. The fact that I will have three long weeks to relax and do nothing but read on the beach and take photos sounds absolutely perfect...

Cottesloe Beach, nearby to where Hannah lives.

I was lucky enough to go on holiday a few times during my 5 years on dialysis. I tried not to let my kidney failure stop me from doing anything, and so in those 5 years I visited a few different countries, dialysising in each of them. Although going away is absolutely fab, it never feels quite like a proper holiday when you've got to visit the local hospital 3 times a week or plug yourself into a machine at night, and so to be going away without all this is a huge novelty! I literally can't wait.

Dialysising in Manila, Philippines. Face mask compulsory, sunglasses less so...

Strangely enough I found it a lot easier to travel once I had switched over to heamodialysis, due to the fact that I found booking into another unit in another country to be not too much of a problem. Don't get me wrong - I would always be nervous about going to another unit, I would worry constantly until I got there about all the language barriers and things that could go wrong, but luckily I never had a problem.

I found going away on PD slightly harder, but I am pretty sure this is due to bad luck as I know plenty of people who have never had a problem. Unfortunately my PD machine broke twice whilst on holiday, resulting in mad panics each time - and replacements being flown in. I also managed to forget various parts for the machine whilst travelling to Paris and remembered just as the Euro Star left the station. Oops. Luckily Baxter, the PD suppliers, have an office in central Paris...phew.

Fortunately this time all I have to remember is my array of medicines, my camera and a good book!

Ps. Quick update on Oli aka Philanthropic Pin Cushion Boy : Still doing really well and has just started going to the climbing centre in Leeds (looks far too much hard work for me), as well as being a member of a walking club and is still taking lots of lovely photos :) Click here to see them.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Not so Superman

'Superman Syndrome' : Effectively this is where the transplant patient feels so damn good after their new kidney/heart/insert as appropirate has been popped in to their body that they literally feel as though they could take on the world.. forgetting that they are still a normal human being and will get tired and ill the same as everyone else.

In the past few weeks I have been producing a short film entitled 'Finding Sol', and it has literally taken up every second of my life during that time. I found myself working 13 days in a row, and still feeling absolutely great. It was around day 15 in a row I started to feel pretty rotton, and one morning I woke up and my eyes looked a little swollen. Alarms started to immeditately go off as as kidney patients will know swollen body parts are a sign of fluid retention. Straight away I called the hospital in a panic and explained what had happened and after downing 2 litres of water I started to feel better. The hospital weren't worried but said to make me feel better I could pop in the following morning. Worried sick that my cretinine had taken a sky high jump I could barely sit still in the waiting room. Butterflies were practicly coming out of my mouth I was that nervous.

After seeing the consultant and explaining what I  had been up to in the past two weeks he looked at me with that head titled side ways wise doctor look. 
"So you've been working flat out for 2 weeks, and now you feel tired?" (bored doctory voice after my 5 minute rant)
"Yes! And I'm terrified that my kidney is rejecting!!" (High squeaky panic voice)
"Er're just tired. It's what normal people feel after working lots with little rest. Go home an have an early night." (wise doctory voice)
"oh...ahem...will do.." (quieter voice, less squeaky)

Needless to say an early night and a good nights sleep did the trick and I felt much better 24 hours later. 

I have just returned from the 4 day shoot of Finding Sol - 4 days of  0530 - 2200 of running around, sorting out lots of problems and making sure the shoot was running smoothly. Apart from the emotional exhaustion I felt great all the way through. I even wrote off this morning in my diary so I could have a long lie in but my body insisted on waking up at 8am as's amazing how different I feel since the arrival of Kasper the kidney, I would have never been able to cope with this a year ago...I was explaining to my friend how I feel like I have a brand new body yesterday - it's not just my kidney function that has improved, all my organs, bones and muscles have too. 

And for my Superman Syndrome - I have hung my cape up for now.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wellsphere Blogger's Competition

Thank you everyone who voted for me! It was fab to read the lovely comments that people left too - made it all the more worthwhile writing this blog.

I came 5th overall and also received the award for the best blog in my category - Kidney Failure. Woop woop! Happy skip.

You can check out the Top 100 blogs here. There are some really interesting ones so I'd recommend checking them out.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009