Friday, June 24, 2011

The Final Countdown

This blog will be posted some time after it was written due to an outside directive to not talk about my living donor experience until after I have donated.  If you are reading this, it is because I have completed the donation process.
Late May, 2011

So go figure-I'm not done with tests.  In the defense of the Living Donor program at Foothills, they thought a crossmatch two weeks and a bit out would be close enough (they themselves needed to do it at that point to ensure they weren't  booking OR time etc unnecessarily).  But apparently some kind of national transplant board (or something like that) mandates that one be done within a week (ish) of the proposed surgery date. Off I go again! I should note that each time I go for these types of tests, they look at a bunch of things so it results in about 14 vials of blood being drawn. Awesome.  Good thing I'm good with needles. And at least I'm close.

I handed in my form and went to the "room" I've talked about before where one goes to wait for the blood to be drawn. I didn't have to wait long before the technician came in. As soon as I saw her I realized she was the very same technician I had on Test Day #1, way back in November. I kind of felt like I had come full circle. She carefully counted out the many vials in front of her on the tray. As she got started I commented on the number of vials and she smiled and agreed it was a lot. She then quietly asked "are you going to be a donor?". I said yes.  She asked if I knew when yet and I said "actually next week". She smiled again. When she was done taking the blood she must have counted the samples about 7 times. After awhile I glanced at her (I was curious if I could leave) and she said "I just want to make sure I'm not missing anything.  I don't want to be the one to make a mistake and cause problems for the surgery". Once she was sure she had what she needed she taped the cotton ball to my arm and said "Good luck. You re doing a wonderful thing".

I then headed off to see the living donor program coordinator for my pre-op stuff.  I had received a package the week before in the mail that was an assortment of photocopied booklets ranging from pain management to what to bring to the hospital. This appointment was to see if I had any questions about the package or the procedure. I didn't really (other than "where can I get a Walkman?" as the outdated materials had suggested I bring one for "downtime while in the hospital"). I confirmed that cell phones are okay (the manual said not to bring a cellular mobile device)  as long as they are used appropriately and quietly. Laptops are also okay but the hospital wont take responsibility for them.

I confirmed surgery timing (down to the OR around 7:30, back in my room between 1-3pm). Because I didn't get a chance to know these details sooner, I realized Charlie probably hadn't taken the best choice of days off for the week of the surgery. He was going to be off the two days after the surgery but not the surgery day itself and it was too late to change that without upsetting his employer.  Charlie is also a subcontractor so if he doesn't work, he doesn't get vacation pay or anything like that so we do have to be mindful of the lost income. I asked the coordinator if someone would be able to call him when the surgery was done so he'd be able to wrap up his day and get to me, if he couldn't get there sooner.  She said that would not be a problem at all-Foothills could call when I was in recovery then he could get to me for around when I'd be back in my room. Not ideal but who knows whether or not that will make a difference to me on surgery day.  I don know I really need him there for the 2 days after when they want me up and walking around.

Getting closer! Now if I could just find my Walkman and 'Amazing 80's' cassette, I'd be all set.

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