[Making the choice|Testing to be a match|Surgery|Recovery]
Making the choice to donate
So your thinkging of donating? or maybe not? or maybe sometime in the future? Well, there will probably be, or is many thoughts runing through your head. However if you know of anyone who is dying from kidney failure, then one thought will definately be there. That is the thought of loosing someone you love, knowing you can do something to save that individual. This person may be a freind, a family member like in my case, or a total stranger (it has happened). In either case, the decision is not only a personal one but a family one as well. I strongly suggest discussing the options with family and freinds. As well do your own research via doctor, transplant coordinators like mine Julie Trolinger!!! or people who actually donated like me. Also look at internet sites (Check out my links page). There are hundreds of soureces on the net for getting this info. Before going into deep thought about the situation, te first thing you should do is get your blood tested. Because no matter how much you may want to donate, unless you are the right blood type you cant. If you are the right blood type, and or have a blood type compatible to the donor, then start to think and think hard. Now, in my case my father never demanded or even asked for me to do this, as is in most cases. For the record, Kidney Donation is something done out of love for someone and the only gift you should expect in return is the gift of giving life. Do not expect to get money or gifts or anything material of nature for donating a kidney or any other organ. If that is what you are doing it for, then do yourself and the recipient a favor and please choose not too. The USA and most other civilized countries have a law stating there is no selling of kidney(s) for several reasons. trade?? laws. etc. Ok lets assume that you want to go ahead and donate your kidney. Before you make the decision to let someone know you want to save their life please be sure and also remember, medicine is not 100% accurate. There could be complications with surgery and you could get injured or and there is always a chance your kidney could fail or something could go wrong and you could loose a kidney and your freind would still be sick. Chances are you will be fine, and in most cases of living donation the results are great. That is why I say this is a decision made out of love and pride not out of want or greed. So you want to be a living angel hey, well lets get to the next step. Tell the donor you want to proceed, it is important that you let him or her know this. Now is the testing stage. Not only do you need to be the right blood type, but lets be honest, they are going to make sure you are healthy enough to donate. the last thing the docs want is the donor dying on the table...
Ok you got your blood checked once. Well, i hope you are not afraid of needles, because you are about to get your blood checked again and again for your blood type, blood sugar and any thing else you can prob think of. But first, you will be introdced to your Transplant Co-ordinator. A transplant coordinator is like a your mentor through the whole donation process. My tranplant co-ordinator, Julie, was absolutely terrific. Your transplant co-ordinator will be there during before and after surgery. she will walk you through the whole process. Talk with you about the proces to make sure you have the mindset to donate and set a surery date for you. After they double check your blood compatiblity they will want to make sure you are not prone to diabetes. They will probably do a glucose analysis. Basically make you dinrk a sweet syrupy drink and check you blood (take) every half hour for like 5 hours. Congrats!!! you got through it.. by now you have no fear whatsoever with needles. Next beleive it or not the docs need tomake sure that you actually have 2 kindeys. Sometime people actualy are born with one, sometimes even 3 (wow!!!) and they didnt even know it, DO YOU?. In order to do this they will give you a cat scan, MRi. or soemthin like that. aCtually its kinda cool!!! Tehy inject this substance into you as they run the x ray machine up and down your body.. this actually takes a picture of your whole insides. This is also important becasue depending on you insides you may be able to do a laparoscopic donation rather than the traditional donation. Tradition is a larger cut, more time for recovery.. Lapaascopoic surgery entails smaller incisions andless ricovery time. The wheo testing prcoess usualy takes anywhere form 3 weeks to 3 monts depending on the urgency of the donation. OK enough about the pre-surgery stuff, lets get to the surgery itself.
Ok the day is here. Well the day before surgery remember not too eat too much and oh yeah dont forege to give yourself a fleet enema :) that is reall fun, not!!! But hey its worth it beleive me. You wil most likely have the suregery early in the morning. Getting prepped is actually about 2 hours. You and the recipient will be in the same room. The donor typically goes in about 2 1/2 hours prior to the recipient. The two are in adjacent operating rooms. When i went in i met the docs and the surgical staff, then they told me they were going to give me a light sedative.. you got it, I was out afer that. In the meanime whiele i was in dreamtime. my dad was prepped for surgery and met his staff and doctors. As a side note, let me say that I really did not ask too many questions as to what would happen to me during my surgery. To be honest I did not want to know. And in a sense that is what happened. Six hours after being given my sedative, I awoke. I remember the doctors telling me it was over. I acutally said that was nothing "lets do it again." Obviously i was drugged up. The next thing I remember i awoke in my hospital room with my mom standing above me. She told me i looked like an angel and called me her little angel.
The pictures you see are actually from the surgery itself. (news channel 8 was there doing a special on advances in surgery and for some reason they chose us.)
Ok the easy part is over :), i say easy becasue lets be honest when your out, you are out and you dont have a clue what the acutaly surgery wwas like but te next day you do. I woke up the next day and could distinclty remember feeling like someone had put a fishhook in my stomach.. (I will be honest the first 48 hours after surgry hurt. They doctors actually make you get up out of bed the day after surgery. I guess they want the donor to get up and walk around and get on the road to recovery. When I stood up it felt like I was being punched by Mike Tyson, I mean i honestly could not muster up the energy to walk to the door. So i sat up in my bed for a while, In the meantime my dad was doing great. He was up walking around and recovering great. (The recipients surgery actually involves alot less cutting)Ok back to me. So there I was lying in bed with about 4 incisions on my belly and side. Oh yeah I didnt tell you, they have to fill your belly up with gas during surgery (For real) so for the next week or so, you look about 10 pounds overweight. So ther i am laying in bed with a big belly and alot of cuts and ohh my gosh what is this think coming out of my "you know what." They never told bme I would have a cathedar. Then again I never asked. That was by far the worst part of the whole experience. About 24 hours later I got up agaion, and this time it went much better. During that day I actually was up walking the halls and they took the catheder out of me (Whahooooo) i could pee like a normal man again. All in all, the avg. stay in the hopsital is 2-5 days for laparascopic and 5-9 days for traditioanal surgery. In the hospital freinds and faily are always welcome. My Gma helped me aout alaot. After about 3 days ther I went home, and the rest is history. I started lifting weights and exercising again after six weeks of recover. Today I am doing great, I can still go out with freinds, party, drink, lift weights (play rugby) and do all the fun stuff I could do before. In all honest donating a kidney does not hold you back from doing anything. The only thing is that If you are going to play physical sports, you need to be conciencous of the fact that you only have one kidney and dont let anyone hit you hard there, stuff like that. ( I am still working on this web page and will be adding more to it soon!!!)
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