Once my application was accepted, I had to fill out an extensive questionnaire so that my pre-surgery preparation could be put together. For the two weeks before the surgery, my diet was very strict, but I didn't find it hard to follow until the last couple of days. In the last few days they want your stomach pretty empty, so it's broth and things like popsicles and protein shakes. So that was a bit hard while still at home when you are cooking for everyone else. But I wanted to follow the doctor's orders to the finest detail so that nothing would go wrong, so that stayed in the back of my mind.
On they day I was leaving home to travel to Mexico I was extremely nervous. As my family was giving me hugs and wishing me luck, my ever present comedian son, Nathanial hugged me and said, "Good luck mom. Don't wake up in a tub of ice with your kidney gone." And even though he joked, many had expressed the same sentiments to me. "Why Mexico? You are going to end up dead and alone down there," and "Aren't you terrified that something will go wrong?" Well...yes, and I don't need you fuelling the fire, just support me and my decision. Just a few days before leaving a gentleman from town reached out to me when he heard I was going. He had gone a few years before me, and encouraged me to ask him whatever questions I wanted of him. I had several friends who had gone, but this man was a tremendous support for me while I was down there, and when I returned home. Just before I went into surgery he was one of the people who texted me and said that he knew I would do great. His texts always seem to come at exact moments I could use some encouragement.
On the Lighter Me facebook page, I had "met" a few others who were going down at the same time as me. I really connected with one woman from Arkansas, and when we arrived in San Diego staff from A Lighter Me picked us all up and took us to the clinic for some blood work and an ECG. Before we got to the clinic I knew that the woman from Arkansas, and her friend were going to be my best buddies on the trip. We had so much in common, and they pledged right away that since I was alone that they would check in on me and we would keep each other company.
Once we finished the basic tests and were given a quick tour of the small hospital we were taken to the hotel to check in and do some paper work. The hotel had "hospital" floors, where the front desk was much like a nurses station on the floor, and after the surgery they were there to check in on us and help us change our bandages. I was the lucky one and would be the first one into surgery the next morning. I hated the thought of waiting any longer than necessary. I can't really remember that first evening, except that I fell asleep fairly early and then woke up at midnight and drove myself crazy with my racing thoughts for the rest of the night. Staff were downstairs waiting for all the morning patients at 5a.m. We were all nervous in the van, but also excited about the positive changes that we hoped were in our future.