Thursday, June 23, 2011


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.

May 15, 2011

As I end my final few weeks with Leftie,  my mind can't help but wonder about where his new home will be (I have no idea why my kidney's persona is a he but lets go with it).  Will he be helping a woman or a man? How old will that person be? Will they live in Calgary or perhaps somewhere in the country? I wonder about their family-if they have kids, grandchildren or maybe they are single with a cat. I've thought about how long they might have been waiting for this transplant-odds are its been more than a year which I am sure has felt longer.

With transplant statistics what they are, the likelihood that its been longer is that much higher. According to the Kidney Foundations numbers for northern Alberta, as of June 2009 there were 115 people with end stage kidney disease on the waiting list for a kidney from a deceased donor just in Northern Alberta. The Southern Alberta Transplant program puts the average Alberta number at any given time at 150-200. There are many others in the process of going through the medical testing to be added to the list. The average wait time is 4 years from the time a person goes onto dialysis to receiving a kidney transplant.

I've wondered a lot about what the recipient felt when they found out there is a possible match. I have to assume they were excited but it probably was a bit surreal. A friend of mine (let's call her Sally) told me of a good friend of hers who was once in need of a kidney-pancreas transplant.  Because of his pancreas need, he was 100% reliant on a cadaver donor and was kind of permanently on standby, pager and all. Sally told me she happened to be with him when his pager went off. I got the impression from her story that it was a very emotional impactful moment to be a part of-one that she is likely never to forget and can probably still feel. I wonder if  Leftie's future owner will remember when they got the call with the same clarity. I wonder if they will wonder about me.

I also wonder how this month will go for them. Of course the big crossmatch test is this Wednesday which will tell everyone that we are indeed good to go. Oddly enough I'm not really wondering if that will go okay-my instinct says it will. Assuming that comes back negative, will the remaining weeks until surgery seem really long for the recipient? I have a feeling for me its going to fly by as there is much to do to get organized and get my life ready to slow down for awhile.

I wonder if I will be scared right before they wheel me into the OR.  That happened before one of my knee surgeries (I think the second one which occurred when my mom was vacationing in England months after my dad's death and I was relying on a boyfriend, a friend and my 18 year old brother for support and care).  I remember feeling very alone, very blind (no glasses or contacts in a very bland hospital hallway with no defining features) and very small in my hospital bed. I wonder if I will feel that way this time around.

I wonder how I am going to feel after the surgery. How much will I hurt, will the drugs make me sick, will I say something silly under the influence. I wonder when I will start to feel better and how long it will take till I am back to normal. I wonder if I will recover ahead of schedule like I seem to have after every other surgery in my life. It would suck if this is the one that ruins that streak.

I don't wonder if this is/has/will be worth it. It will be. It makes sense and it feels right. I also don't wonder if Leftie will like his new home. I think he will and I have confidence he'll know just what to do when he gets there. At least I hope so but I know its out of my hands. I'm wondering how Righty feels about all this and how quickly she'll pick up the slack (yes, she is a she).

I guess we shall see about all of it-won't we?

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