Tag: Technology

Topic: Kidney A-Go-Go: The Results

Cindy Thinks

Ally Thinks

It’s been a week since the kidney transplant and I am absolutely thrilled to let everyone know that the transplant went, and continues to go, amazingly well for both Brian and me.

He looks terrific and I’m getting there (although he’d probably reverse that statement!).

We’re both back at our respective homes (me – the next day – if you can believe that…and him after only 3 days), and we’re both getting up and around and eating and sleeping well…and healing day by day.

The time we spent in the hospital is all kind of a blur for me.  From the moment we got to the hospital (with side by side pre-op rooms where we all ran back and forth visiting one another) to waking up later that day to be told that Brian was already in the ICU, looking and sounding great, with a fully functioning kidney (going gangbusters from what they told me).   I must admit, I really didn’t comprehend where I was or what had actually happened earlier that day (a testament to the quality of drugs that they were giving me) until hours into the night, although others told me that I was sitting up carrying on conversations with visitors not long after they brought me to my room.

The next day I had only one thing on my mind from the moment I woke up.  I wanted (no – NEEDED) to see Brian.  It was kind of a mission for me.  I HAD to see him with my own eyes.

And everyone involved worked to make that happen.

The nurses got me all unhooked from my various IV’s and tubes.  Matthew made sure I was comfortable and looked presentable.  Disa (Brian’s Sister) placed a bejeweled tiara on my head (because she knows I love jewelry) and several of our friends and family (thank you all more than we could ever express!) surrounded me in their “Team Carrillo” T Shirts, as we strolled (me in a wheelchair) through the halls to see Brian.

Then I saw him…sitting in his bed…looking INCREDIBLE.

His eyes were white (I never realized how dull and grey they had gotten) and his coloring was dark and rich again.

When I rolled next to his bed his smile could have lit up the entire room.  We held hands.  We checked out each other’s conditions.  We couldn’t believe our eyes.  I was fine.  He was fine.


It felt like everything around us stopped.  Everything we had talked about for so long…everything we had been working toward for the last few months…the idea of Brian finally getting a kidney so that he could feel good again…was here…and now.


Words can simply not express the emotion that came flooding into both of us.  And, I think, those around us.

But the thing that amazes me today as I sit here and write this post…is that we really live in a time and place where they could put me under, cut me open, take out my kidney, cut him open, put it in his body, hook it up…and it make it work!

I mean – OMG!  Can you believe that they can do that!?!

Don’t get me wrong…everyone explained to me what would happen beforehand.  I signed on the dotted line.  I logically and rationally understood that this is what we were working toward, but I’m not sure I really fully comprehended that it meant a living part of me was going to be living inside of him, doing what it should be doing.

I mean – OMG!

How do you get a handle on that!?!

It is f—king amazing!

So, I think it’s important to stop and take a moment to thank all of the doctors and nurses and researchers and technicians who have EVER worked on any part of making kidney transplants possible.  You all have done a hell of a job!

You’re all f—king amazing!

And to everyone out there who sent their warm wishes and positive thoughts/prayers our way during this entire process…we both thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  It has meant more than you’ll ever know.

Now…my job is done, and Brian’s work is just beginning.  He has a long road ahead of him of getting back into shape while managing all of the medicines that will keep him thriving.  But ya know…I have no doubt that he’s going to do it with as much gusto as he can muster.

After all, amazing as it seems, he’s got my kidney to help him do it!

We did it.

I know that I didn’t actually have to get a kidney removed or get one put in, but I still feel like it was all of us who got through the surgery.

And let’s face it: my parents got to sleep through the whole thing.

The surgery was quicker than I thought it would be, and the waiting wasn’t too terrible.  A group of us sat in the hospital doing various art projects (because that’s apparently what we do in these situations… or when a four-year-old is waiting with you) and having fun.  We all (almost) had on our Team Carrillo shirts so we sort of looked like some sort of bowling team while walking around, but it was nice to feel (and look) like a group.

Another thing that helped was being able to share what was happening online.

Which leads me to the most important part of this post:

To all of you who followed along on Twitter and Facebook, and sent words of love and encouragement: THANK YOU.  YOU are probably the biggest reason that I didn’t spend hours throwing up in the bathroom all day.  YOU made me feel like the ground was still under my feet as we waited to hear that my parents were OK and that the kidney was good.

I had strangers reaching out to me on Twitter and telling me that they were rooting for us.  I had a girl I’ve never met outside of the computer who messaged me on Facebook and said she was following #divorcedkidneys in New Jersey.

Of course I appreciate the friends who checked in, and the family who sent kind words, but knowing that someone across the country who you’ve never met is thinking about you, and thinking about your parents, is a pretty crazy feeling.

It was amazing.

Since my dad doesn’t have a blog (loser), I figure I’ll tell you all how he’s doing.

In a word: incredible.

It’s amazing what a new organ will do for someone.  Like I said in my last post, I’ve never thought of my dad as a “sick person”, so it’s kind of shocking to see the difference that a working kidney has already made.  I don’t think any of us expected it would be such a drastic change, let alone so quickly.

Of course he needs to rest and recover from the surgery, but overall he’s doing extremely well.

My mom is in more pain because I think her body kind of misses her kidney.  I feel bad for her so I’ve been trying to make her feel better by making her laugh because LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE…

(In fact, I think this is the reason my dad is doing so well.)

But I guess laughter isn’t the best medicine when you’ve just had your stomach cut open to remove a vital organ.

So Mom didn’t really appreciate it when I told her that she should stop being lazy and help me off of the couch when I need to go to the bathroom.  Or when she was painfully trying to sit up on some pillows and I yelled “PILLOW FIGHT” and then went to hit her with one.

(Don’t worry: I wasn’t actually going to throw it at her.)

It’s like she totally doesn’t realize that I’m trying to help.

(PS: A few days following his surgery I asked my dad if he had named his new kidney (because I have this thing about naming inanimate objects).  Without missing a beat he said, “Rebecca the Little Pisser”, because he’s awesome.  So three cheers for Rebecca, yes?)

(PPS: I called my dad and asked if he’d like to say anything to the people reading our blog.  He said, “Thank you to everyone who called or sent messages or supported us,” which is really sappy for my dad.  I think my mom’s girl kidney is totally having an effect.  I’m just hoping he wants to take me shoe shopping soon.)

(PPPS: Next week we’re going to write about something that has nothing to do with vital organs.  Promise.)

Topic: Imagine life without your cell phone, computer, iPod…

Cindy Thinks

Ally Thinks

OK.  You could take my cell phone and I’d probably live…if I had a land line…which I don’t anymore because I live like a young person.

I could give up the instant gratification of being able to call someone the minute the thought of calling them entered my mind.

I could do without driving in my car and trying to find my ringing cell phone in my purse while making a turn in a busy intersection…because I WANT to know who’s calling me at that very moment.

I could live without not having to remember to turn down the volume on my phone while at the movies, concerts or the theater…and then forgetting to turn it back up later (and think I’m getting no calls).

I could give up the joy I get from picking the perfect “ring tune” for each important person in my life – which accurately “personifies” who they are to anyone within a 20 foot radius (since I always have to keep my volume on super high in order to hear it in my purse).

And, I could live without those short coded text messages that take me about 20 minutes to decipher.  Seriously, what the hell does LOL-LMFAO mean?

You could also take my Ipod and I wouldn’t die.  I like it.  But it’s not a big part of my life. I use it when I take long walks with the dog(s) or when I’m on the treadmill at the gym (which has happened maybe 2 times in the last year).  And, I do like to use it in my handy dandy portable speaker thing in my RV so I can listen to my “tunes” as I’m whipping up a four course meal on the road.

But the truth be told, I don’t upload new songs, so I listen to the same music over and over again which now makes me a typical old woman who only listens to music I know the words to.  (Proof…I had Ally load my iPod with songs she thought I’d like listening to…about 2 years ago, and I’m still perfectly satisfied listening to the hours of Carole King, Barbra Streisand and James Taylor songs she knew I’d know.)

But the computer…that’s a tough one.  I use it a lot.

I like email.  I like the convenience of keeping in touch with people from all aspects of my life without having to make a full blown commitment to keeping in touch.

I LIKE TYPING and I LOVE being able to type and edit by pushing a “delete” button to completely obliterate anything I don’t like (beats the old days of having to use “white out” while using my huge IBM Selectric typewriter!).

I love Excel spreadsheets (not for anything in particular…just because I can organize stuff easily).   And I love that it does math for me.

But mostly…I LOVE GOOGLE!

I use it to find out everything about anything.   It’s like my own personal information warehouse.  I ask it for information on everything from travel to recipes.  How to find the @#$@ batteries in my RV?  Where is my favorite Salsa Band playing?  How do I find the latest deals on cookware?  How do I start to knit?


So without my computer… I’d have to relearn how to use a public library.  And get a really big Encyclopedia and Dictionary.  And the latest version of the book “How Things Work.”

I’d have to find another way to have my morning coffee since I now turn on the computer, make my coffee, and then sit in front of the screen checking emails with a steaming cup of java warming my hands.

I’d have to learn how to write in cursive all over again, and I sucked at it the first time.

I’d have to learn new ways to keep in touch with all of the people in my life that doesn’t comprise of pushing the “forward” key to share a funny joke or story.

I’d have to learn how to do math again.

And, I’d be bored, and less creative, and messier.

But I guess I could do it.

I’m part of a generation of people who are completely addicted to instant notification and immediate gratification.  I entered high school right when technology was becoming popular with the masses.  Pagers were still in, but cell phones were making a break for it.

Being able to call your friends anytime of the day is a good thing.  Being able to be found anywhere is a good thing.  Being able to find an answer to any question at the click of a button is a GREAT thing.

And I’m no different than my peers: I’m totally addicted to that feeling.

I need to get a hold of people NOW, and if I can’t, I worry.

I spend a lot of time on my phone and my computer.  I check my email several times a day (though nobody really emails me).  I text my boyfriend and family, and I check Twitter (compulsively).  I have an iPhone, so all of this can be done anywhere, at anytime.

If I’m sitting somewhere (a doctor’s office, the bank, a restaurant) and there’s nothing going on, I’m on my phone.  I check the weather, talk to my mom (the woman loves to talk), play scrabble with my dad, and Facebook stalk my ex.

(You know you do it, too.)

All of my news comes from apps on my phone (USA Today, NY Times and, most often, Twitter), and since I’ve gotten my phone I have a far better grasp on current events around the world.

I have people all over the country who I consider my friends, even if most of our words have been exchanged in 140 characters or less.

I’ve got to be honest: thinking about NOT having my phone makes me uneasy.  And admitting that makes me even more uneasy.  Sure, I could “survive”, and maybe getting rid of it all would make me a better person or something, but I’ve been living with it all for so long that it’s hard to imagine.

Some days, I want to shut all of it down.  I want to hide my computer and trade in my precious phone.

I want to unplug.

But then (and this is how technology gets you) I think, well, it is nice having a phone that has my music on it… and a camera is nice… and if I’m taking these cool pictures it’s silly not to share them with friends and family on Facebook… and if I’m sharing it on there I should share it with 600-plus strangers on Twitter… and since I’m on Twitter I’ll just see what’s going on around town… AND SO ON.

It’s a vicious, vicious cycle.

But like I said… it’s addicting.

So I try to keep my compulsion to be connected in check.  I try to put the damn phone down and pick up a book (which, interestingly, is often on a Kindle…), go outside, interact with people outside of my computer.

I try to stop my compulsion to tell anybody and everybody anything and everything that happens to me or pops into my head.  My friends on Twitter and Facebook don’t need to know what I had for breakfast.  They don’t need to know that it’s a nice day out, or who I’m having tea with.  They don’t need to know how adorable my dogs are.

(LIE.  Everybody needs to know that:)


To say that I could give it all up means saying that I could give up a huge part of my identity.  My blog.  My friends on Twitter.  My incredible need to judge people on Facebook.

Could I live without all of these things (I am aware that these are all just things)?  Sure.

But would I want to?  Not so much.

(UPDATE: It’s 12:25 AM Monday morning and my phone and computer decided to become enemies and throw some sort of tantrum so I have spent the past hour screaming and crying and OHMYGOD I’m going to kill someone.  So it’s a little easier to imagine my life without it all now.  Maybe imagine isn’t the right word…  Fantasize?)