Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Three Month Tests

One thing that has really impressed me about most Living Donor programs out there is that they now seem to recognize the need to continue to monitor the health of donors to a) make sure we are okay as individuals and b) track as many donors' health overtime so that they can better evaluate the risks of living organ donation. Each program has range of tests that they order with varying frequency and most are voluntary (although here in Canada especially, where all of our healthcare costs are free, why wouldn't you??!). In my case they do the tests at 3 months then every year there after. The results are shared both with my family doctor AND a nephrologist with the program. While I am sure my family doctor is more than competent at reviewing the results, the second set of eyes looking through "kidney" glasses is comforting-they'll spot even the slightest reading that is off.

Today (and half of tomorrow) I am doing the 24 hour blood pressure monitoring. Unlike the last time where I picked up the machine first thing in the morning, my appointment this time around was mid day meaning I'll have two half days at work of beeping and buzzing through meetings. At least this time around most people (if not everyone) knows what I did so I wont have to explain things as much or try to hide it. Which is good because I swear this machine beeps louder than the last one. It is smaller but mightier maybe?

The nurse at the clinic was great. Unlike the last one, she said showering is approved! I told her I wasn't supposed to shower last time and she rolled her eyes a bit and said "I like clean people. If people seem scared to take it off to shower then fine but something tells me you can handle getting it back on your arm. It's only velcro". Ha! As she was making sure the machine worked properly (the first one didn't) she took my BP manually. I asked her what it was and it was 112/79. Woot! For those of you not sure about what that means, it is low normal, which for me always was the normal (when I am not stressed). That is a great indicator that Righty is doing her thing and doing it well!

I have a lab form as well for blood and urine tests that will look at:

Serum Urate: measuring uric acid levels-specifically if it is high as that can cause a type of kidney stone
C-Reactive protein: I did a whole blog post on this one
Serum Homocystine: high levels of this can lead to heart attack, stroke and /or bone weakness
Micro albumin/creatinine: determines if there is presence of the albumin in urine. If there is, something is up with Righty and can be an indication of cardiovascular disease or kidney disease
Urine C&S (eGFR) serum: looks for bacteria in the urine (in case of a urinary tract infection) and also looks at overall kidney function. Your eGFR score is out of 100. A regular, healthy person has 90+. Under 60 you should be taking steps to protect your kidney(s) from more damage. Under 15 and you are on dialysis (likely) and in need of a transplant (if that is an option).
Hempglobin A1C: checks blood sugar control in people who might be pre-diabetic and also monitoring blood sugar control in patients with more elevated levels who are diabetic
Glucose Fasting: measures the amount of glucose in the blood right at the time of sample collection. It is used to detect both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, to help diagnose diabetes, and to monitor glucose levels in persons with diabetes.
Triglycerides/LDL/total cholesterol: screens for the risk of developing heart disease
CBC:  This is like a buffet of tests that actually test for a range of things (and one you hear them call for a lot on medical dramas, usually coupled with "chem" if they don't know what is wrong with a patient). The complete blood count or CBC test is used as a broad screening test to check for such disorders as anemia, infection, and many other diseases. It is actually a panel of tests that examines different parts of the blood.

Phew. Thankfully I just provide the blood and other outputs for the tests in one quick visit. The lab techs have their hands full. I have to say there is FAR less pressure from these tests than the first time around-even though I guess there should be more. Had I "failed" them before they just wouldn't have let me donate. If I fail them now, I'm more at risk because it could mean Righty is struggling (although she does have till 6 months or so to "normalize". Funny how that works though. I put more pressure on myself to pass to donate than I am to pass and be healthy. Maybe I am just more confident in my health now...something to think about.


  1. You must have run into a good LKD program out there....either that,or you don't have complications.Nobody wants to hear from you here if you have complications.In fact,hearing from other donors here in Ontario,we have really lousy donor follow-up overall.Nobody calls,nobody keeps track & nobody cares...

    1. Sorry to hear that. I do know they are working towards creating more of a national support system for donors. Hopefully that makes improvements

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