Monday, December 12, 2011

Paying It Forward

A few months ago I had a young man (wow that makes me sound old and grandmotherly) email me about this blog. He was very to the point and asked me to keep writing it. He was in the process of being testing to become a non directed donor in the US (the middle part-we'll keep his location myseterious) and he was finding the blog amusing/helpful. We emailed back and forth several times over the last few months as he went through more testing, and dealt with all the big milestones donors face like telling our families, dealing with the uncertainty of testing and the nerve leading up to the surgery date.

In his case he went through a couple of steps I didn't-he met with a bioethicist. We both has to guess at what that was as it seemed to differ from the psychiatrist and social worker. By definition it is someone who deals with bioethics which is the "study of the ethical and moral implications of new biological discoveries and biomedical advances, as in the fields of genetic engineering and drug research". In the end though the bioethicist just asked a lot of the same questions as a social worker would and didn't bring up ethics at all really.

The donor friend also had one of his cross matches fail...he got "the call" that said that the person they thought he matched was not a good match. Outside of the "you aren't allowed to donate" this is the next worst call I think. I am very glad I never had such a call...I am sure it would be more than a bit frustrating and I know for me last spring it would have seemed devastating. Luckily for him though another match was found quickly and that cross-match passed with flying colours. And as of this morning, there is someone in the mid-US who has a kidney. My kidney friend is doing well. What an awesome Christmas gift he's given some one! I am sure he knows this but he did a really great thing today. I feel really proud of him which seems so odd given that he is otherwise a stranger to me. He was so calm and collected throughout the process it was unbelievable.

I feel so lucky to have been able to keep in touch with this donor along the way. Much like my friendship with Erin, it has been really rewarding for me to be able to help someone else through the ups and downs of the process. I really feel like I am paying it forward. In no way am I responsible for either of them choosing to donate but hopefully I made some part of the journey easier for them just as others made the journey easier for me.