Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Part Fifty-Four: Eight Month Check-Up

Last week I begrudgingly made an appointment for the kidney doctor.

I say begrudgingly because... well... I really didn't wanna go.

But if I complained about my incisions one more time, I think Carrie might've handcuffed me, thrown me in the car and drove me down to the doctor herself.

I had a few main reasons that I needed to make the (short) trip down to the hospital.

The Never Healing Incision

You remember this from the previous post, back in January. That darned incision near my ribs just wouldn't close up. It would seem to close up... but then a shower would reveal that it wasn't scar tissue, but crust that was closing up the hole. I went through a few cycles of scraping the crust out of the inside of the hole, getting it to bleed a little, then watching it heal up a little bit more. A few weeks ago I think it finally almost closed up completely. It hardly leaks any fluid now... even when pinched. But it still doesn't look the greatest, and it hurts a little bit too. Here is a newer picture which you can compare with the one from the last post.

A Pain in the Side

Besides my annoying little unhealing incision, things were looking pretty good for the first six or seven months after my donation. That is, until I noticed I was starting to get an occasional sharp stabbing pain in my abdominal muscles, just above the biggest incision. Here's an oddly proportioned picture to give you an idea of the spot (marked with an X).

The stabbing pain would hit me when I rolled a certain way in bed or if I moved a certain way at work. I started probing around with my fingers to find the spot in question and discovered a small (pea sized) bump there. When I pressed on the bump with my fingers it hurt... a lot.

I also found that the area around the bump was getting pretty sore after a long day of leaning over a drawing table at Six Flags.

I had been warned that my incisions could take up to a year to heal and that it might be a while before I felt right. But the little bump (and stabbing pain that accompanied it) concerned me somewhat. I've been schlepping around 60-70 pound boxes at my other job and wouldn't be surprised if I'd overdone it a little bit. Supposedly, incisional hernias in kidney donors are rare, but I guess I'd be just as good a candidate as any.

The Doctor's Visit

I scheduled my visit for Tuesday morning and arrived at the Doctors Office Building armed with a book and fully expecting to wait a good two or three hours.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Surgery waiting room in the DOB is filled with people meeting with the transplant team. I don't mind that part of the wait, as there are lots of kidney donors and recipients hanging around and I enjoy eavesdropping on their conversations. Eventually, I'm whisked away to get my vitals taken and then plopped back out into the waiting room for a little while longer. I finish the book that I brought and soon am called into an exam room where I wait a little while longer for the doctor to come.

My surgeon eventually comes into the room and greets me. Asks me if I'm feeling okay, to which I rudely reply... "Well, there's a reason that I'm here today." (Thinking... "Duh... I didn't just come here for a social visit.) Perhaps it's his accent, or maybe just the way that he is, but he always seems somewhat condescending and I immediately feel stupid for having scheduled this appointment.

First I show him my never-healing incision, which is now almost healed, and he is unimpressed. He says that that area will be more sensitive because it is on the ribs and it will just take a while to heal.

I raise my concerns about the painful spot and he has me lie back while he asks a few questions. He takes both of his hands and pushes down on my muscle while he has me *cough* *cough* *cough*. And then he tells me that he doesn't think I have a hernia but maybe the bump I'm feeling is just a "knot". He says I'm just going to have to put up with it. He then gives me a lecture on scar tissue and how it doesn't move the same as the other tissue so it's always going to feel weird and maybe a little bit painful.

Of course, if the bump gets bigger or any more painful, I'm supposed to come back in and see him again. And he definitely wants to see me in four months for my one-year check-up.

I left the DOB, somewhat irritated that I'd wasted my morning but also grateful to know that I supposedly don't have a hernia. I guess I'll let you know if anything comes of it. Otherwise, I'll see you in four months!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Part Fifty Three: Kidney Pants

Meghan inquired about my stupid little incision so I thought I'd provide some pictorial progress.

This picture was taken at least a week or so ago (10 weeks after surgery), but I'd say it probably still looks about like that. It's still pretty much completely healed except for that one spot. It is still a little leaky and it will temporarily scab over from the ooze but then as soon as I touch it or shower it opens up again.

I promised a long, long time ago that I would post a picture of the kidney pants that my buddy Beth brought me the day of my surgery. I was seen wearing them home from the hospital, but you never got a close up of the fine puff-paint decorations. Way to go Beth!

In other news, I slipped on some ice on my front steps yesterday morning and landed on my thigh. The bruise that developed was awful but I am still grateful that I bruised my thigh and not my one remaining kidney. Take a look!

After the new year, my Dad joined a gym and claims to have been working out every day! He still gets fatigued very easily and took a recent trip to the cardiologist to determine if this is a heart related problem. Hopefully within the next week or so he'll have some answers. Otherwise, I think he's looking pretty darn good. Keep up the good work Dad!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Part Fifty Two: Seven Week Update

You asked for an update... you got it.

I'm feeling pretty good seven weeks after donation.

For the most part, I wouldn't even know that I'd gone through such a major surgery. My energy level is fine. I'm back at work more than full time right now. Work is pretty intense with the holiday packing/shipping season and I haven't felt restricted in any way by my recent donation. The doctors had suggested I refrain from lifting anything "heavier than a phonebook" for at least 6 weeks. But as soon as I felt ready, I quickly worked my way up to 15... 20... 25 pounds. I've moved several that were in the thirties and a couple in the forties. Only when I moved a forty pound box, did I really notice anything weird going on with my abdomen. My co-workers are still quick to help move bigger boxes and I'll often ask customers to move their boxes around if I have any hesitation at all.

I still have slight tenderness on my left side when pressure is applied. I continue to have the most discomfort after sleeping on my stomach for long periods of time. The only other major issue I've had is with my incisions. Seven weeks out, one of my incisions has still not completely healed up and it is driving me crazy. And NO... I'm not picking at it! It's slowly closing up but there's one section of it that just reopens a little bit every time I shower. It doesn't bleed or anything... and it's not very deep. But it's a hole nonetheless and it freaks me out.

I even had a dream the other night that I had this huge gaping hole near my ribs that wouldn't close up and the doctors kept telling me it was fine but it clearly wasn't. *grumble*

For now, I'm just trying to avoid getting it wet so that it can heal up better. I even went without my usual morning shower today to see if that would help at all.

So that's what I've been up to. As for my dad, I guess he's doing okay. He lives a couple of hours away from me so I really don't get to see him that often to evaluate his progress. He still comes up here for doctors visits once a week and he is now able to drive himself, which is good for everyone. My parents stopped by my work the other day and I thought my dad looked pretty good. Seems like he's managed to keep from gaining much weight back. His color was good. We didn't get to really discuss how he was feeling though, although I'm sure he's gradually improving.

I know my Dad reads this blog from time to time now so maybe he will comment on his improvement.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Part Fifty One: Final Visit

Of course, it would happen that the day after I act as though I am done regularly updating this blog, I would have something of importance to say.

This morning I had my one month doctor's visit at the DOB. My Dad also happened to have an appointment around the same time and my parents ended up spending the night at my house the night before.

After several miserable visits to the DOB, I was prepared for an unnecessarily long wait. What I wasn't quite prepared for was a jam-packed waiting room. There were probably about 50 people crammed in the little waiting room when I got there. There were so many people that a few unlucky souls had to stand. As if waiting an hour for your appointment isn't bad enough, try waiting for an hour standing up!

As mentioned previously, the magazine selection at the DOB isn't the best and I remembered to bring a book this trip. I settled in for the long wait and was thrilled when my name was called 45 minutes later. The nurse asked how I was doing and I told her that I was excellent. I tried to be chipper, even though I knew inside that I was about to be tossed in an exam room and forgotten about for another hour or so.

To my surprise, it only took 5 or 10 minutes for the first doctor to arrive. He remembered me from my last visit, one week out, and asked if I was still picking at my scabs. He took a quick look, prodded around some, and asked how I was feeling. I told him that I was fine and he promised to send one of the surgeons in to talk to me. Of course, I'd heard that song and dance before and knew that when he said someone would be "right in", that actually meant that someone would be with me in another 45 minutes. I had barely settled back into my book when Dr. M came strolling in.

I'd seen Dr. M before but this was the first time we'd actually spoken. He seemed a little confused and was struggling to remember if he'd been involved in my surgery. He said something like, "Did I do your Dad's or..."

Then I smiled and said, "I don't know... but I DO know that I have a picture of you holding my kidney." (Maybe I should send him a copy for his collection.)

After a little laugh, he looked at my incisions and he asked if I had any problems. I said I had none and then he gave me some shocking news. He said that they didn't need to see me again!

That's right. He said they didn't need to see me ever again... unless I wanted to come and see them for any reason (even if it wasn't kidney related).

I was a little confused by this information, as I'd been previously told that I would have to return at 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after my surgery. Of course, we've already established that these visits are a waste of my time... so I wasn't one to question or argue with the doctor about it. If he says, I don't have to come back... then I don't really feel a need to go back.

So that's that.

Meanwhile, my Dad continues to improve. His heart doctor saw him yesterday for the first time since the surgery and was amazed at how much "younger" he looked. Apparently he still looks a lot older than my mom though. As we were leaving the DOB an older man with a walker was coming up the sidewalk toward us. He struggled to move to one side as we passed and my dad came waddling behind us. For some reason, the man decided to ask my dad if my mother and I were his daughters. My dad gently corrected him but the man just laughed and accused my dad of "robbing the cradle." Funny.

I've gotten a few responses regarding my request for other stories and I hope to bring some of those to you soon. If anyone else is interested in sharing anything at all, please email me at:

Monday, November 27, 2006

Part Fifty: New Directions

You may have noticed that more and more time has been passing between posts. I apologize for being so neglectful, but I really would've written if there had been anything to say. The increasing silence between updates is probably a pretty good indicator that my kidney adventures are drawing to a close.

My experiences have ceased to be fascinating or informative and instead are beginning to come across as just plain boring. I'm starting to think that I've done all that I can do here.

It has been nearly four months now since I first started this blog. And one month since I went through with my kidney donation.

I've enjoyed writing about my experiences. Mostly, I just wanted a record of what happened over the last four months. But I also wanted to provide the one thing that was lacking when I was making the decision to donate. Sure, there are plenty of "donor experiences" out there but most of them would barely break a printed page. What you generally come across is the, "I donated a kidney to my brother because I love him and it wasn't so bad and it made me feel great" sorta stories. When I started researching kidney donation, the stories I enjoyed the most were the more substantial accounts. Getting a "play-by-play" account of someone's kidney donation really helps you to imagine yourself doing it and enables you to prepare for each step along the way. Judging by the many comments I've received, it seems like I've been able to accomplish this and have been a help (and a source of amusement) to many potential donors.

I know that there are many out there who are just now discovering the Take My Kidney archive. I intend to leave the blog up indefinitely so that as many new readers as possible might stumble upon it and take something away from the account. I also intend to update it with new and incredibly exciting personal information as the need arises.

As my own kidney story winds down, I'd really like to turn my attention to others out there who have recently donated or are in the beginning stages of the donation process. I would be honored to share your stories with my readers... even if it's one of those half-page-feel-good sorta stories. If you think you'd be interested in being a featured donor on my blog, drop me a line at:

Monday, November 20, 2006

Part Forty Nine: Sadness all Around

This weekend turned out to be a pretty emotional one for me, my family, and my friends.

Sunday, I returned home for my Aunt's memorial service. I was able to see many cousins and friends that I haven't seen in years and enjoyed dinner afterward with my parents, my brothers, and their families.

My dad's suit hung on him awkwardly at the memorial service, and the surgical mask he's still required to wear in public added thirty years to his face.

Thankfully, when we returned to the house and he removed his mask, he looked a lot better than he had in a while.

I was glad to see my family and so many who came and offered hugs and praise and congratulations on the success of the kidney transplant. At the same time, it was difficult to be there with my father, knowing I'd given him a new lease on life, while my dear friend Suzi sat at her own father's bedside, waiting for cancer to squeeze his final breath from his body.

Sometimes I feel guilty that I am applauded for doing something that was so incredibly easy to do. There was no decision to make when it came to making my dad better. Sure, I had to face that GoLytely and some minor discomfort. But the worst pain of this whole ordeal comes from knowing that there are so many others out there who would do anything to save their loved ones... and they'll never have the opportunity to do so.

Please give your thoughts and prayers to Suzi and her family in this incredibly difficult time.

Also, keep our friend Elizabeth in mind tomorrow as she and her father get ready for their big kidney day! Elizabeth, You're gonna be fine! Keep us updated on how things went.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Part Forty Eight: Dad Update

Here's just a quick Dad update for you.

I had reported earlier that Dad would be having surgery to get his dialysis port removed tomorrow, but it turns out the surgery was this morning. Apparently, I wasn't the only one who had made this mistake. I was wondering why I was confused, but it seems as though the Friday surgery rumor originated with my parents. Thank goodness the hospital called my dad to remind him what time to be at the hospital in the morning!!

It seems crazy that you could be confused about which day you're having surgery... but then again, he's been in and out of that hospital so much over the past few weeks that I can see how it might happen.

Since I volunteered to open the store this morning, I wasn't able to hang out during the surgery. I did get up a little bit earlier and stop down at the hospital to see my mom. When I arrived, I ran into her near the elevators. Turns out, they'd just taken my dad into surgery right before I got there. If only I hadn't hit the snooze button this morning! Oh well. The surgery sounded like it would be fairly quick and routine. My mom said that some of the nurses and other folks up in the surgery area were asking about me. I'm not sure how much of that was really true and how much of that was just my mom trying to make me feel good.

I was able to visit with Mom for about a half an hour before I had to run off to work. During the visit, I learned that:

1) My dad gets to go home for good!
2) His creatinine level had dropped again to 1.6
3) They still haven't started him on his last anti-rejection drug
4) His "blood level" is up to "36" (Mom said 40-45 is normal for a guy? I don't know much about this.)

My mom called me later in the morning to tell me that the surgery went well. My parents were able to leave the hospital by 10am. Dad has a couple of new incisions... one below his belly button and another at the port location.

Although I didn't get to see my dad this morning, it sounded like he's doing better. I'm sure that going home will give him a real boost. Unfortunately, there will also be some sadness waiting back home for my dad. His sister passed away on Monday and the memorial service is this weekend. I'll be going home for the service, which will undoubtedly give me a chance to get a better assessment of my dad's condition and time to catch up with long lost family.

I will keep a tally of how many times I am referred to as a "brave little girl".

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Part Forty Seven: Three Week Update

At some point early this morning, I realized that it was Wednesday... which in turn made me realize that it has been three weeks now since Kidney Day.

I wonder if I will always associate Wednesday with kidneys and the day that I gave up one of mine.

I can almost see myself, many years from now, on a Wednesday... sitting in my rocking chair on the porch and musing to myself, "Well, it's been 2728 weeks now since Kidney Day."

Three weeks out, I feel pretty good. I know that I am lucky to have recovered so fast and I am grateful for this.

My biggest complaint these days is fatigue. I get tired a lot more easily than normal, but I'm not sure if it's the surgery or just my lack of activity. Sitting in a chair all day really does suck the life out of you.

My incisions are still healing up. The larger one is doing well, the crusty scabby parts are all pretty much gone and now it's just sort of a raised red/pink line. The smaller ones are taking a little bit longer to heal. They are still somewhat scabby and oozy but they are slowly closing up. I'm still having problems with the one under the fat roll, but it is making progress as well. They don't itch quite as much as they used to, which is a relief.

My biggest accomplishment lately is being able to sneeze without thinking I'm going to die or that my insides are ripping open. I can't even describe how frightening and painful sneezing can be when you've just had surgery. I got to the point where I was trying my hardest to avoid sneezing. Eventually the old stick-the-finger-under-the-nose trick quit working and I just had to let it out. It's been a lot better though, the past few days. I just make sure that I grab my belly and hold it tight before I sneeze.

I still feel swollen and sore on the left side of my abdomen, but each day it gets better. For quite a while, my stomach felt so numb and tingly. Then it started "waking up" and I had a lot more discomfort, especially down below my belly button. I still don't feel normal, but I am more mobile and less guarded. I don't even really notice the soreness unless you poke me or if I try to turn or bend a funny way.

The first day back at work went fine and I ended up picking up a few hours yesterday afternoon as well. I seem to be fine carrying boxes around, as long as I don't have to bend over to pick them up. I generally only feel a little bit tight on my side when I'm doing it. I'm working about 15 hours this week and next week and then will be taking on a lot more hours toward the end of the month and into December. The UPS Store gets pretty busy during the holiday season, but I am feel up to the task.

Meanwhile, my Dad is doing well. He was able to score a month's supply of EPOGEN, which should help with his anemia. They think his creatinine level has gotten almost as low as it is going to go, but are waiting to start him on his last anti-rejection drug until it does. Mostly, I think he is just getting bored with being stuck in an unfamiliar house and having to sleep in a different bed. If he is going to sit around, he wants to do it at his own house. He's hoping that if he shows enough improvement, he can go home to stay soon. In other news, Dad gets his peritoneal dialysis catheter removed on Friday! I can only imagine what a relief it will be to get rid of that thing! It's gotta be kind of annoying/scary to have that tube hanging out of you. We'll all be glad to see it gone!

Update: Reader Sheila from OH asked if my dad had lost any weight. Actually, last I heard he'd lost nearly 20 pounds since the surgery. It's kind of weird because they had told him the new drugs would cause him to gain about 20 pounds. But being off that high-calorie peritoneal dialysis and a smaller appetite has got him down to about 185 pounds.

I will leave you with a picture of me and my pretty cat, Keetah. It was quite an accomplishment to pick her up. Just don't tell the doctor. I think she might weight more than 15 pounds. Note: She really does have two big ol' eyes. One of them is shut and the other is squinty here. I swear!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Part Forty Six: "Don't Try to be the Hero"

Dear Readers:

I must say that I was more than a little surprised at the lack of interest in my kidney photos! My hardcore readers have managed to comment on the most mundane of my daily activities. But I finally give you the coveted kidney pictures and you hardly bat an eyelash. Shame on you! Has the excitement finally worn off? Have you moved onto other kidney blogs? Are you too busy dealing with your own kidney donation to comment on what some might consider "yesterday's news"? I know that you are out there. I can see you on my stat counter. Of course, I'm mostly kidding here, but where's the love? I'm getting lonely.

My grandparents finally went back to Florida sometime around the middle of last week, but I had the opportunity to speak with my Grandma via telephone on Sunday. I happened to mention that I was going back to work today and my Grandma got very serious. "Be careful," she cautioned. "Don't try to be the hero."

While I appreciate my Grandma's concern, I don't really see how going back to work is heroic. First of all, I would absolutely LOVE to never have to go back to work again. Contrary to what some might think, being a bloggin' celebrity superstar is not the most lucrative position. Not everyone can afford to take off nearly a month from work, without pay. I'm not trying to be a hero, I'm just trying to pay my rent.

Furthermore, it's not like my work is really that strenuous. I work at a UPS Store, not at UPS. It would be one thing if my job were to load heavy boxes into the backs of UPS trucks all day. Instead, I either stand around, leaning on a counter and doing nothing, or I sit on a stool and stare at a computer. Sometimes this activity is interrupted by someone who needs to drop off a prepaid return shipment, or mail a few first class letters. Granted, even this small amount of activity is more strenuous than my usual routine of sitting in chairs and playing video games. I would hardly call it heroic.

Thanks to the warnings of my doctors, my family, and you, my beloved readers, I was aware that I should probably take it easy at work the first week or so. Despite the lack of actual activity at my work, there was a good chance that I would get easily fatigued. Fortunately, I didn't really find this to be much of a problem.

I spent most of the morning sitting in my chair and relaxing before my five hours of work. My boss wasn't there when I arrived and I spent a few minutes catching up with my co-worker before I settled into my favorite leaning position. My first challenge came with the mail delivery. The veteran's day holiday on Saturday made for heavier than usual mail today, and I had to carry a rather heavy bin of mail from the counter to the mailroom. Fortunately, there was no bending over involved, and I was able to easily navigate into the back room with the heavy load. I only felt a mild strain on my abdomen as I carried the bin, but not really any pain or discomfort.

Shortly after the mail arrived, my boss returned to the store and surprised me with a cookie bouquet! YAYAYAYAYAY!!! Here is a picture of it (minus one of the cookies):

This is the second time that I have received a cookie bouquet while working at a UPS Store. The last time was in Madison, when C sent me a bouquet with dinosaur cookies. This time, the cookies were in the shapes of flowers, with the message "To Brighten Your Day!" My boss apologized that the sentiments weren't more kidney specific and we mused about what the message might've said instead. I guess they had one that said something about a "speedy recovery" but since I've been gone for quite a while, he didn't think that really applied. I suggested perhaps it should have said, "Thank you for not being off work for more than a month!" We got a good laugh out of that.

Although I had only been working at the store for a few months before my surgery, I must admit that I was a bit surprised that I hadn't already received some sort of acknowledgement from my boss. Okay... this will probably sound awful but...

I know some people only get married for the presents... and maybe some people only give kidneys for the presents... but I swear that wasn't the case! I mean, I may have fantasized that my boss would surprise me with a paid leave of absence or a hospital room full of roses... but at the very least I figured he might drop a card in the mail. Is that so much to ask for? After a few weeks of nothing, I gave up on the thought. So it was a complete surprise to see him walk in with cookies. He totally redeemed himself with sugar.

Now I feel kind of guilty for expecting something from him in the first place. Was that wrong of me? I think I need to write Miss Manners and see what she says. I know you other donors out there probably have something to say about this. Surely, I'm not the only one who imagined she would wake up from surgery in a room full of balloons, presents, and wall to wall flower arrangements. Surely, there would be groups of children gathered around my bed, singing of my bravery and heroicism while a Mariachi band played in the background and confetti rained from the ceiling. My visitors would be lined up down the hall, and the hospital would have to extend their visiting hour policy to accommodate everyone. While I drifted in and out of consciousness, drugged up but beaming from the attention, the mayor of Saint Louis would read a proclamation declaring October 25th, "SUPER-AMANDA-THE-KIDNEY-DONOR-HERO-DAY".

Maybe Grandma was right in warning me not to "try to be the Hero." She just warned me about a year too late.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Part Forty Five: Pretty as a Picture

At some point yesterday, between Disney planning and video games, I got up the nerve to drop off my kidney camera at the nearby Walgreens.

I know that many of you out there have been biting your nails in anticipation of these photos. I apologize for taking so long to get them developed. I guess there was a part of me that was kind of creeped out at the thought of the photos. It was like I enjoyed knowing that they were there... that I had them... but I didn't necessarily want to see them.

My other concern was that the people at Walgreens would either:

A) Screw up the disposable camera somehow and lose my pictures forever.


B) Be grossed out by the pictures and refuse to give them to me.

I brushed all of these fears aside and dropped the camera off for a Next Day pickup. This afternoon I anxiously made my way to the Walgreens photo lab and requested the photos.

Originally, I'd intended to wait to look at them until after I picked up C from work. Instead, I hardly made it back out to the car before I was tearing into the package.

I was pleased with what I got. The surgery pictures were satisfactory and there were a lot of funny pictures taken with the camera after the surgery. I was so out of it I don't even remember a lot of the stuff. It's kind of like when people leave disposable cameras on the tables at their wedding reception so that guests can document the experience from all angles. Usually the bride and groom get the cameras developed and find the most ridiculous pictures. I had to scan these into the computer, so I'm only giving you the highlights. Plus, they got kind of repetitive after awhile. You can only look at so many pictures of me looking drugged up with only one eye open. Here's what I got for you:

The physician's assistant came in and drew this circled K on me before surgery so they would make sure to get the right one out.

I'm assuming this is what things would've looked like from my viewpoint if I'd been awake. Thank God I wasn't awake! The guy on the right looking at the camera is my surgeon, Dr. S.

This is a picture of my kidney on ice right after it was removed. There's lots of other interesting things stuck on my kidney... but don't worry... they get all of that off.

Here's another shot of the kidney as it is being cleaned up.

And this is one of the other surgeons, Dr. M, holding my kidney after it's ready to go.

Next they put the kidney in this little container with some sort of solution in it. I'm assuming that this is what it was transported to the other room in?

This picture is from Thursday when I took a trip to see my dad at his room. I like how we are both wearing hats. There's not a lot of ways to accessorize a hospital gown.

And this was later in the evening during World Series Game 4. The funny thing about these next two pictures is that I don't remember this AT ALL! As you might recall, I was really in and out of it during that baseball game and ended up turning it off pretty early on. I was having trouble focusing and there's no telling at which point my Mom decided it would be funny to lay this Cardinals shirt on me and take my picture while I was watching the game. Carrie thinks I look like I'm in a vegetable state.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one who fell prey to my Mom's little games. My Dad seems a little more alert than me, though.

Well, I hope those were worth the wait. Sorry for the poor quality of the photos, but I didn't really feel comfortable handing over my digital camera to a complete stranger... even if I was trusting them to remove my kidney.