How to prepare for a kidney transplant? - Kidney Transplant

Kidney Transplant

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How to prepare for a kidney transplant?


Hello, I am new to this website and have a few questions about getting a kidney transplant. I have been on dialysis 4 years and am on two transplant lists. I received my first “call” last week but it was a high risk kidney so I turned it down. Anyway, it appears that I am getting closer to the top of the list. So now I am freaking out!! Excited but scared!! Anyway, I need to know what to pack in my bag to take to the hospital and what to expect when I get to the hospital. Thanx!!

17 Replies
marcycNKF Peer Mentor

Congratulations! Hope your call comes soon. Just take some sweats or loose fitting clothes. They give you lots of fluid so your skinny jeans will not fit. They will have you up walking right away so some good slippers or tennis shoes. They provide most everything for hygiene. Leave all valuables at home, I forgot and left earrings in and then had to think about what to do with them. Nice to have a notebook to write questions, notes, names of your doc and nurses. Best of luck.

Hidden in reply to marcyc

Thanx so much for the info!! That’s a good idea about the notebook. I have started filling up a bag, probably packing too much lol I like to be prepared lol Hoping they call soon!! Thanx again 😃

Hey, congratulations!! It’s an exciting time! I, too, hope your call comes soon. Marcyc gave great advice. I actually brought several baggy flannel pajama pants and big t’s. I was so glad I did! After the first day, I changed into my loose fitting pajamas and it made me feel so much more comfortable. Underwear is good too for when your catheter comes out. For me, personally, I loved having baby powder bc it helped me feel as clean and fresh as possible (I found it too difficult to do any type of full wash up). And definitely good slippers... just make sure they’re easy to slip on and off because you won’t want to be bending too much. And all of your basic toiletries will be more than likely provided for you.

As for what to expect when you arrive, they will have you change into a gown and you’ll be starting your journey! The first day will be a bit of a blur from all of the surgery meds, but you will hopefully be feeling great! The rest of the stay you will be monitored very closely. And Marcyc gave great advice... have you or someone you know take notes. They will be explaining everything you need to know about how to care for your new kidney: meds, pharmacy, diet, and dos and donts. All very important info, but can be overwhelming and hard to focus with all the pain meds you’ll be on! Haha! So a note taker would be helpful.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask! I’m very excited for you and I pray that your perfect call comes soon. In the meantime, stay well.


Hidden in reply to kinzBravo10

Thank you, thank you for all the wonderful info, I really do appreciate you and everyone else taking their time to answer my question. Happy New Year!!

Walk every day - now - as “much as humanly possible” and eat very healthily.

I wore the hospital gowns, so my bag of clothing didn’t come into hospital - ever. My husband just brought a set of clothes in just before discharge. I used my toothbrush, , toothpaste, etc! Phone charger & phone were awesome!! I took notes on them, recorded questions as they arose, didpuzzlesand coloring apps, researched info on medications & other kidney-related items, took photos, listened to relaxation meditations on YouTube when the medicines kept me awake, and kept in touch with family’s &friends. I brought a very funny book, which I read. I also brought an adult coloring book & markerswhich I used the last day.

The medicines and the healing throw your body into a “catabolic??” State so you run very warm & burn 400-500 (in my case) more calories than usual. I never needed a robe. I didn’t know to eat more calories because no one told me, so be sure to do that to assist your healing.

My husband captured the details of all the info you are given in a notebook, and I was really glad to have a second pair of ears as the medicines are quite heavy doses in those few days!

I wish I had worn my running shoes when I walked as the IV stand would swivel & I hit the metal base 3 times - which was quite painful for over 4 weeks post-transplant.

Consider bringing thank you cards to give to nurses and other caregivers during your stay. They were so great!!!

Good luck to you!! 💕

Hidden in reply to Maddisson

Thank you so very much for your long post and all the useful info!! I really do appreciate it. Happy New Year!!

Congratulations that you time is drawing near. Bring loose fitting clothes and good slippers or socks that have the grip underneath them. Ask any and all clothes that you can think of. You’ll starting walking immediately after returning from the recovery. I know that your scared and I can’t tell you not to be. Just follow all the directions that they give while in the hospital and after you return home. I wish all the best. I’m looking forward to your future post saying that your time is here. Happy New Year to you and your family!

Hidden in reply to pgjohnson2012

Thank you so much for the suggestions and the encouragement. Happy New Year to you and your family also!!

Patient-EmpowermentNKF Ambassador

We'll be cheering you on!

I agree, take warm loose fitting clothes that can be layered. Also agree with tennis shoes for walking exercises. Don't need any jewelry, just your cell phone that a family member can keep for you until you're beyond initial recovery. Keep us posted on your progress and if you think you'd like to find a living kidney donor so you can end your wait, visit:

Hidden in reply to Patient-Empowerment

Thanx so much for your reply. I am definitely going to take a pair of tennis shoes since it sounds like I will be doing a lot of walking!! Happy New Year!!

I have had mine for 2 years now.The transplant for me was not bad at all so don't be to nervous.I was only in the hospital 3 days so no need to pack alot.You will have a lot of follow up Dr visits to make sure your meds are correct.Ill say a prayer for u!

Hidden in reply to Kensl

Congrats on getting your kidney, I cant wait til I dont have to go to dialysis anymore, its rough during the winter lol And thanx for the prayer!!

I took comfortable stretchy clothes, socks slippers, underwear, house coat my own pillow extra blanket, bottled water if u don’t like tapwater from hospital, lots of puzzles, words games, colouring, books... when I arrived I was assessed by my doctor to make sure I was healthy enough then 14 vials of blood work taken, then I had one last dialysis treatment and after I was admitted to a room and told not to eat or drink anything after midnight. About an hour before surgery the will start predizone through IV. Then they wheel u down to Operating room and I see the person who puts u to sleep and they ask u a lot of questions and feel your pulse in wrist to know which arm to insert the radial catheter in and give I a freezing needle which is the worst part. Then in the OR room they make u dopey while they insert the thug in your wrist. Next time I would ask to be asleep for that. Then u go to sleep and they insert other tubes, IV’s ...

Hidden in reply to KathyBest

Thanx for all the info, taking my own pillow is a good idea, I hate those pillows in the hospital lol I keep thinking of things and throwing them in my bag.

Hello, adding to everyone's great suggestions on clothing and toiletry suggestions, I would say make a list of people you need to call when it's time to go to the hospital. Your call can come at any time. Who is going to take you? You may need someone to check on your home or pet, and you should also call dialysis and tell them you are heading to the hospital. Be ready for that call by being very careful with your fluid intake, following your dialysis diet carefully and keeping yourself strong. You don't want to get there and have your numbers be out of whack because you cheated a little and ate something with high potassium! I hope your call comes soon. Good luck!

Hidden in reply to JoEllenLentz

Thanx for all the great info. I am on two transplant lists, one at rhe hospital in the town I live in and one out of town about 1 1/2 hrs away so I have two different plans for each one. If I have to go out of town, it gets a little more complicated so still trying to work everything out lol

How do you know you are closer to the top of the list? Each time I ask where my hubby is on the list they claim they don't know

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