The 5th of January was decided as the transplant date. My sister and her family came down from the UK in December itself. I was excited at the prospect of getting the transplant done.
However, nothing went straight for me. I underwent a few tests to check my heart health, which indicated that my heart function was at less than 30%. I was told to undergo an angiography to check if any arteries were blocked. Thankfully the scan didn’t show any. The cardiologist decided to put me on medication to improve my heart function. So, the transplant date was rescheduled to the 12th of January.
Now that the transplant was postponed, we decided to enjoy the year-end. We went to Mahableshwar to end the dreadful year and usher in the new one. It was cold and fun. What a difference a year had made! Exactly a year ago, I was fighting for my life and everyone was praying for my well-being, and now we were celebrating the new year. It was a fantastic and optimistic time.
A week before my transplant, my nephrologist informed us that he completely missed that he had to attend a conference and was not available on the 12th of January. He suggested the 31st of January but due to an unavailability of surgeons, the 5th of February was the date agreed. With so many changes in the date, I was disappointed and was unsure of the 5th of February too.
It was really happening on the 5th though. After the transplant, I was not supposed to venture out except to visit the doctor. I was told to be home, avoid people and outside food in order to keep away from any infections. So a week before the transplant, we decided to go out for a meal at my favorite restaurant. It was a very relaxing, happy and enjoyable meal. I did not bother with any dietary restrictions and ate and drank whatever I liked.
On the 3rd of February, I got admitted to the hospital. A transplant patient has to be given anti-rejection injections and needs to have dialysis for two days consecutively. I did a full dialysis on the 3rd and an hour and half on the 4th. When I was leaving the centre, everyone wished me good luck and said they all will come to check on me once the surgery was done.
The next day my brother was admitted. We were in two different rooms. He came to visit me and asked how I was feeling. All I said was “Thank you so much.” He went back to his room. Mamata and Dinesh were going to and from both rooms. My sister-in-law was with my brother. The team of doctors who were going to do surgery came to check on me one by one and checked all my papers. They asked me about the history. My nephrologist also came in and told me that my friend Mona, who is anesthetist, will also be there in my surgery. I felt a huge relief.
Around 7 I the evening, Dinesh got a call and told me “I need to go as the nephrologist has called me to discuss something. You relax and have your dinner.” He was gone for a good 2 hours and we were wondering why it was taking him so long. Mamata asked me to have my dinner as there had to be a 12-hour gap, so I ate. Still no sign of Dinesh. Mamata asked me to relax and said, “I will go and check.” She also disappeared for a one good hour. Around 10 pm, both of them came back and just said “Oh there were so many formalities for both of you, so it took time.” I did not suspect anything. The nurse came and gave me the anti-rejection injection. Mamata and I talked for some time, and I slept. Surprisingly, I slept really well.
On the D-day, I woke up by 5 AM and got ready. I was to be wheeled in operation theatre at 6 AM. I sat in the wheelchair and we started to move towards the operation theatre. I met my brother there. We wished each other luck. We forgot to take a picture. The surgery technicians asked me to say goodbye to Mamata and Dinesh and started wheeling me in room. Since it was the first surgery of the day, they all cheered and said “Ganpati Bappa Morya” Apparently, that’s their protocol for the first surgery of the day.
They put me on the operation table. I saw Mona there and felt so relieved. She started talking to me and the chief anesthetist gave me spinal anesthesia. Mona held my hand and asked me to count numbers. I started and in no time, I drifted off.
I opened my eyes and found myself in the recovery room. It was done! The transplant was successfully done! There was a nurse waiting on me and she informed Dinesh. Dinesh, Mamata and Apeksha came to see me but were not allowed to enter the room so as to avoid infection. I just waved at them, told them I was okay and enquired about my brother.
My nephrologist came to check on me in the evening and started talking to me. He said “You are doing well. Surgery has gone well.” Then in a very uncharacteristic manner he said, “Good we did the transplant!” I found the manner in which he said that bit odd, but I was too drowsy, and I didn’t have anyone around to share it with and it just slipped my mind. It’s only after a month or so that I was told about the huge drama that unfolded when Dinesh went missing for four hours the evening before the surgery.