A day in the life of a nephrectomy patient

Hey there everyone I just wanted to drop by and leave this little post here. A lot of people reading my blogs lately are people from some of the Kidney Cancer forums I have joined who may not have gone through their Kidney Removal yet so there are a few things I will be going over specifically for that but also in a post like this are going to be some things that will hold true for anyone in the hospital. This posting will highlight some of what you can expect as a typical day in the hospital for most people but some of this post will highlight things specifically for the person going through a nephrectomy.

Typically the day starts around 6 am or a slight bit earlier. At this point your morning shift comes on and your doctors come around to see how you have been doing. So from about 6 to 7 you will see your new nurse, your new head nurse, your doctor and anyone else that may be critical to your care that is just coming on duty.

During my time in the Shands Urology wing we had nurses visiting about every 4 hours for the typical tests which included taking my temperature and my blood pressure. During this time they also would check my pee bag for how full it was and would empty it marking down how much I peed in that time (no I can’t remember the name of the pee bag I just know you get hooked to one with a catheter when you have this operation.)

Now sometimes between those 4 hour shifts you also get nurses coming in at odd times to offer you some of your medicines whether it be for pain, or stomach issues, or shots for not getting blood clots. The fact is you will most likely see someone for some reason whether you call them or not just about every two hours.

Now different days call for different things. For example once you are off catheter you will have to call your nurses in everytime you go to the bathroom so that they can measure your pee and dump it for you as they will want you to use a urinal bottle. Also the first 2 to 4 times you pee after this surgery when they measure your pee they will also give you an Ultrasound to make sure you have fully emptied your bladder.

Through the day you will also see people form the Physical Therapy group. These people will be your worst enemies while you are in the hospital but it’s best you listen to them. You see most likely you will be in a lot of pain (I didn’t have a lot of pain but exercise like walking and such caused me a lot of discomfort). This won’t be at all pleasant while in the hospital but it is needed. Without moving your bowels will take longer to wake up and you run the risk of developing blood clots which can do major damage or even cause death

Around 6 at night your night shift comes on, at least here it seemed everyone did a 12 hour shift. So what you had go on at 6am you now have happening between 6 and 7 pm as everyone comes in to say hi and let you know that they will be the ones you talk to and see at night.  For me this was also the time they came in to give me my shots for making sure I wouldn’t get blood clots.

As the night goes on they mainly leave you alone except for the typical tests every 4 hours. However my worst time came around the time between 2 and 4 am. Most hospitals that I have been in decide that waking you up in the middle of the night is the perfect time to draw blood to take your labs. Most likely because you are too tired to really care what they are doing. However for me a lot of the time I couldn’t sleep at night until they did this because I am afraid of needles and thus sleeping before that for me could easily lead to nightmares.

All of this was a typical day on the Urology floor at Shands hospital in Gainesville Florida. Things were very similar to this when I went in to MRMC in Ocala for the stones except I had different things I was hooked up to and some different tests. It’s not fun and it makes it hard to get rest but it truly will help in the long run. So try and relax while you’re there and try to nap between nurse visits. After all you’re there to get better and lack of rest won’t help a single bit!


6 thoughts on “A day in the life of a nephrectomy patient

  1. I must say that this is very difficult day for everyone who passed through this. I’m sharing this article so that people with kidney problem read this and get some idea about the procedures.

  2. Well, I’m not jealous for you that you have to wake up about 6 am or even a little bit earlier. For me it would be like hell – I always sleep till 11 or even 12 pm, so you can imagine, how I would look and feel, if I had to wake up 5 hours earlier. :(( Hope you don’t suffer as I would!

    1. Oh sleep it doesn’t happen…you get a lot of little cat naps and that’s about it since they come check on you every few hours!

  3. I wonder if taking bloods at night has something to do with being a time away from food intake too. I know sometimes I have had to give blood first thing in the morning and before I’ve eaten for specific reasons.

    1. It might very well be. I know a lot of different tests require fasting blood levels so that could very well be why they come in the middle of the night to do it. Very good idea!

  4. Wow, I was pretty curious as to a day in the life of what you went through and you were able to put things into detail so well here. It sounded like long and some difficult days for you. You are right that one has to relax a little despite the tests and checks you have to undergo, after all — you’re there to get better!

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