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Post-Transplant Essentials: The Humble Shower Seat

I think I'll take the time to do a few posts about items I purchased before my transplant that came in handy (more like life-saving) after I came home from the hospital. Here's my first recommendation:

The humble shower seat.

An inexpensive shower seat can be purchased at any drug store, medical supply store or discount mega store, and fancier (more costly) versions can be found at home decorating centers. I chose to buy the cheapest one I could find and purchased it at my local CVS pharmacy. Mine is a sturdy white plastic bench with aluminum legs tipped with rubber slip-free feet. It cost about $15.99, and while the aluminum is already starting to look worn (and its obviously not meant to last forever), it has served me fabulously for almost five months.

Shower seats can come in handy for a variety of reasons. First of all, standing up straight after major surgery in the abdominal region (where most transplanted kidneys are placed) can be next to impossible. Additionally, you're guaranteed to be unsteady on your feet due to a variety of reasons such as medication side-effects and general fatigue - the shower seat can prevent an unnecessary slip/fall when you suddenly feel weak while bathing. Another great reason to have a shower seat is the ability to sit in a position that protects the surgical area from the direct spray of the water - sometimes this is extra important if you've been instructed to keep the area completely dry (Tip: Bandage the area, then hold a hand-sized towel over the bandages and sit backward on the bench with your back toward the water, then use your free hand to wash - this will help keep the area dry while the rest of you gets clean!) Finally, a shower seat comes in handy when you just want to relax in the water and not worry about creating additional fatigue on your body that can be caused by the actual task of bathing.

When choosing your seat, consider first the size and shape. Make sure to measure your bathtub or shower, most importantly for width (some shower seats are too wide for a standard sized bathtub). Choose a seat that is sturdy and can be easily manipulated into and out of the tub (before and after your shower, NOT during your shower!) A seat that is lightweight is also a must as the post-transplant patient is restricted to lifting no more than 10 pounds. A seat with a back or arm-rests isn't necessary, but might be features you'd like to have.

I would also like to suggest that after each shower you (or your caretaker) mist the seat with a solution of bleach and water (3/4c bleach to 1 gallon of water). This will keep the seat fresh and mildew free.

I've continued to use and enjoy my shower seat even after almost five months post-transplant. Sometimes taking a shower while sitting down has its advantages (mainly I don't have to stand while contorting my body to shave my legs!) If you decide that a shower seat is a good idea for you, I wish you happy shower-sitting!

Today's Health Education: "Different types of surgery require different home care instructions." Surgery: What to Expect - Topic Overview

I've got a tingling sensation

I have a tingling sensation in my fingers and toes. Its the most annoying thing, ever! Its especially noticable when I first get into the shower, or even worse, when I try to take a nice hot bath. Whenever my fingers or toes touch the water they feel like they're on fire. Aside from making water intolerable, sometimes at night or when the air temperature changes in the room (such as the AC going on or off) the same thing happens.

The tingling seemed to begin around the time I got my transplant. I need to check with my doctors to see if one of the two anti-rejection medications I'm on could still be causing this. At first I chalked it up to being on much higher doses, but at this point I've been on a stable dose of both Myfortic and Prograf for a few months. Prograf does list the side effect "tingling of the hands/feet" in its patient information, but I guess I thought that it would've passed by now. My serum TAC (tacrolimus) level is on the low-end of necessary, too.

The tingling is such a small price to pay for such a wonder of having a functioning kidney. I guess I don't mind too much!

Today's Kidney Education: After their transplant, most people just do not understand the magnitude of the surgery they went though. Many think recovery is a matter of a few weeks. - Post-Transplant: Benefits and Challenges

My Former Life is no longer My Llife: So, where do I go from here?

I've had a bit of a down week - from the beginning of last week until now. Things are a bit jumbled in my head at the moment, so figuring out where I should be, or even WHO I should be, remands garbled in my mind. My thoughts fill my brain like sticky molasses - making even the most deliberate pondering of any one thing, next to impossibly slow. My brain feel mushy and confused.

Where is the MyKidney blog going? How can I continue to blog about things that are much in my past... and passing further away with every minute. YES there are a still a world's worth of words to discuss all things "kidney". Am I the person to lead these discussions when my life feels as if its entering into new places with new opportunities? Should I be here?

I've always said that kidney disease and kidney failure don't define me, they are merely a part of me, along with all the other things in my life. I'm wondering now if I want to forget the kidney part of me all together. I have foolish dreams of being one of those people... one of those other people...

Still, here I am. On the one hand, I find myself scrambling around, frantically looking for my running shoes to get as far away from "kidney stuff" as possible. On the other - knowing my life will never not be about kidney disease keeps me a bit grounded. No matter how long I live or if my transplant lasts months or years (or decades as I secretly hope for!) My new kidney is my life. I can't forget it because my kidney is ME.

... where do I go from here?

I am no longer a patient. I no longer have Chronic Kidney Disease, I am not in End Stage Renal Disease, I am not on dialysis. I'm a post transplant recipient - tad da! The end. Goodbye!

I don't have daily dialysis stories to share or CKD advice to offer. I think that for the first time in my life I'm feeling confused about my own health and how to relate it to WHO I AM. For so long MY HEALTH has been the biggest part of ME.

So, WHO AM I NOW in my "nearly perfected fixed" condition?

As my life will get more and more normal and my kidney problems less and less important, should I stay (and blog?) or should I find other passions to drift to. Would it be fair for me to blog about things I will soon only know in a past-tense format? Is it right to assume that my past experiences might be like anyone who is experiencing similar things now? I don't know.

A big part of me wants to cool down and take a break from thinking about these things - While an equally big part of me wants to push ahead, continue to reach out and educate. Meet others who might need encouragement and friendship from someone whos "been there".

So, who am I? What is My Kidney Blog's future? Maybe you can help me figure that out...

It's a bouncing baby... KIDNEY!

If you've been keeping up with my hoo-hoo posts, maybe you'll be happy to know that I've decided to move all topics relating to my hoo-hoo over to my Krississippi (dot) com blog. It seems to be a little more appropriate to spare my readers here from reading about "MyHoo-Hoo" which really has nothing to do with "MyKidney"!

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