Gluten Free in the Hospital


I love living in Barcelona because it is such a beautiful place both visually and climatically. It is also one of the most humanistic cities I have ever been to. I have suffered my whole life with a kidney disease, and have always known that a transplant might be my potential future. Last summer, my kidneys stopped working, and boy was I lucky to be in Spain with a job. The healthcare system here is thorough and has some of the best trained ( and according to my mom, the most handsome) doctors in the world.  If I had been in the U.S. I wouldn’t have had the same opportunities that I have here. With my job, I am entitled to full medical care. I was on dialysis for nearly a year, and last Tuesday, I received a kidney transplant, from the loving donation of my wonderful husband. To my surprise, when this whole process started, I learned that Spain is #2 in the world for successful transplants, and the cost of these services to me we’re absolutely nothing. I only have to pay maybe 2-5% of the cost of my meds! which can be up to $2500 a month! Truly blessed and lucky I feel right now. This amazing place treats it’s people like people not potential profit.

So far, everything has been working perfectly. The transplanted kidney started working right away, and within a day I had completely normal levels of creatinine and urine output. The doctors are impressed with how quickly I am recovering, and I feel that I will be able to go home in the next few days.  It’s incredible here though, they will keep you in the hospital until they feel comfortable letting you go, unlike in the states where discharging is prompt. I would rather stay a few more days to make sure all is progressing as it should! Even more impressive are the statistics of the success rates of this particular hospital. One year after transplanting, 96% of the live donor kidney are still functioning perfectly, and the stats continue to remain high even to the 10 year mark and beyond. The doctors here are front runners in their field and you can definitely tell.


The hospital where I am is located in the center of the E’Xiample neighborhood, and is called Hospital Clinic. They have been so wonderful in providing gluten free meals for me. The plates they serve may not be that exciting, but they are well balanced …. And food! It is such an amazing feeling to eat after 3 days of fasting. I’ve dined on such things as Swedish meatballs, pork tenderloin (although my husband thought it was really tough, flattened chicken), paella, and roast chicken. Each main dish is served with some sides like wilted spinach with toasted pine nuts, green salad, mixed vegetables, and fruit as well. Gluten free bread is also provided. Don’t get me wrong, this food is a far stretch from a Michelin star gourmet fare, but at least they try to provide variety and local flavors for their patients.

paella de mariscos
I usually like mine with more spices, but this will have to do!

One month Update!!  July 9, 2014

It has been one whole month, and my new kidney is working like a champ!  I am so thankful for the wonderful follow-up treatment that I am getting from the doctors at Hospital Clinic.  They truly have earned their title as #2 in the world for successful transplants!  As for the immunosuppressive medications that I am taking, they are not as bad as I thought they would be.  I think I was reading the internet too much before my transplant, and scared myself half to death!  There was talk about severe hand tremors, insomnia, horrible stomach problems.  Basically, if it sounds bad, it was on that list.  Thankfully, I am not experiencing any of those symptoms.  If I can offer any advice to anyone facing a transplant, it is to NOT read the internet excessively, as the people who usually post on there seem to have had a bad experience.  If you trust your doctors and the hospital you are attending and think positively, things should as planned.

This scar is going to make one heck of a conversation starter!

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