Saturday, December 4, 2010

Evaluating My Marbles

This morning was my psych evaluation at  the South Tower at Foothills Hospital (I think I have 2 more buildings left and then I have been in them all for this "Kidney Thing"). The purpose of this test was to make sure I wasn't textbook "crazy" and also to identify any psychological risks that might be increased for me if I was selected as an organ donor. In my case because I am a non directed donor, the interview was a little more simple as the doctor did not need to evaluate whether or not I was being coerced or guilted into donating by my family.

The interview itself was made up of several different type of discussion and short answer type questions.  I was asked a range of questions about my family, my relationship with my immediate family and their thoughts on my decision.  I was also asked about any previous experience I may have had with mental health which I talked candidly about (I saw a child psychologist when I was about 8 a few times, grief counsellors after my Dad's death and had a bout of depression in my late 20's that was untreated but resolved itself).  We also chatted about my propensity to worry about stuff.

We spoke about risks and regret and how I would feel if in 20 years I had issues with my one remaining kidney.  Would I feel regret?  Well yeah, a little probably but at the same time, you need to live with the decisions you make in life which is why you need to think things through before you make decisions, especially ones of this magnitude.  I feel like I am doing that by researching both the medical and personal experience stories out there.  I feel like this is an informed decision with calculated risks.
There was a brief question and answer period somewhere in the middle which was clearly a "CYA" (Cover Your Ass) for the doctor.  Do you hear the radio or TV speaking to you? Do you use IV drugs? Do you think you are being followed, think that your phones have been tapped? (I LOL'd to that one because if an imaginary person was tapping my phone, they wouldn't hear much of anything). Have you every been so happy you've scared people? Do you think you are God? Do you compulsively worry about doors being locked, things being put in their place, the stove being left on? (Another LOL there).

We wrapped things up talking about support from my family, my "people" here in Calgary as well as my work (check, check and check).  He ended with the option that he could write me a letter telling the program I was not medically fit and no one would question me wanting to opt out.  I said no and he said he wasn't surprised.
To be honest, I think I was most worried or apprehensive about this test as it is the most subjective of the lot.  A blood test is a blood test and your results either fall within normal or they don't-same thing with the x-ray and the ultrasound.  But a psychiatric evaluation is so subjective, especially in 45 minutes or less. 
The good news though is that I passed with flying colours.  He said we all would have risks in this situation from a mental health perspective but mine are on the low side and he feels like my self awareness mitigates a lot of that risk.  He said that he's be leaving a message for the transplant program that I was 100% cleared and would send the official letter once he is back from vacation in a week.

He added that in his practice he works mainly with people hospitalized for serious mental illness and also with people with serious, long term illnesses such as liver & kidney disease.  He said it's nice for him to see the other side of things from time to time and meet people like myself who are wanting to do something selfless like this. He said he thought I was an ideal candidate and it was a pleasure for him to have met me.  He thanked me for the opportunity to get to know me a little and said someone was going to be very lucky to get my kidney.

I'm still not sure I am comfortable with the "selfless" label or the feelings the doctor expressed at the end but I guess I'll need to get over that.


  1. You should feel very proud of yourself today!

  2. I still don't get why you are doing this, but I'm very proud of you!

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