*this post is a continuation of a story. It will stand alone in many ways but for missing context please go back a few…*
I spent the remainder of September and the better part of October focusing on my recovery. I was under a regimen of twice-weekly appointments with my transplant team, which was a 2-hour drive each way. It was exhausting because sitting up for that long was excruciating. The pain this time around was so much worse than my first transplant. You may or may not know this, but new kidneys are implanted in the abdomen. The human body is such an intricate, well let’s call it what it is, a miraculous design. Therefore, the abdomen contains everything it is supposed to with no room to spare. I now had not one but two foreign organs stuffed in there. They had to make room, for lack of a better way to put it. It’s quite an image to think of opening up an abdomen and shoving this and that aside to make room. And the kidneys aren’t small. I saw mine before they put me under. It was the size of a large boneless chicken breast. And now I had two in there. It pushed on the incision terribly and the pain was constant. Standing was difficult for the first week. Lifting was out of the question, regardless of the weight. And God forbid I should get constipated, which is common post-surgery, then the pressure on my abdomen (which was held together by 27 staples) was intense.
In addition to my visits, I was on a strict diet and fluid intake program. I was required to monitor everything that went in and out, log it and relay it to the team, when they called every damn morning at 10 AM. And they were not playing around. If I were to slack off in any way my coordinator would give me hell. I liked that, to be honest. It kept me focused. After all, they wanted the same thing I did, for the kidney to take and last as long as possible. So at the time, it seemed like an eternal pain in the ass, but I’m grateful for it in hindsight. This went on for six weeks, by the end of which I was well on my way to my own self. I was doing light weight conditioning and walking between 1 and 2 miles per day. They were thrilled with the walking, not so much about the weights. A typical patient rarely did either with any regularity. But as I was always quick to point out, and they had to reluctantly agree, I was not a typical patient.
The last week of October I drove by, on the way to the Hospital, the store where Vinny had asked me to come work for him. He had told me that when I felt better that we should talk. His truck was out front and the door was open. Work had already begun and he was wasting no time. So I went in and said hello. We discussed my health for a bit and then he showed me his progress on the store and told me his plans. They were impressive. He had some great ideas and I was convinced that he was going to do really well with this venture. As I went to leave he asked if I wanted to make a deal.
Here we go, I thought to myself, decision time.
“Talk to me”, I said. He made me a salary offer and gave a job description. It was a good one. I thought for a few minutes, and based on how I was feeling at the time I said yes. I was feeling strong, hopeful for my future, and ambitious. At the time it felt good. It felt right. On paper, it all looked good. And for a while it would be.