On February 11, 2016 I will be having surgery in order to donate a Kidney. This is something that I have thought about doing in some way over the past few years. It didn’t matter if it was a Kidney, bone marrow, or any other body part that I could give while alive. I am listed as a donor upon my death as well.
When I started this process, I was not expecting to go through as much as I have. In some ways I am disappointed in the process as they claim to want to make it convent for the donor, I find it not to be 100% accurate.
I knew that there would be down time due to the surgery but the additional time and energy involved was much more then I was lead to believe or expected. I do not have insurance, or vacation time, so every hour I spend on this adventure, I have lost income. When there are delays made by the hospital team, it cost me money. It is this aspect that I am not thrilled with, and to be clear I am not asking for money from the hospital or any organization to help offset my losses. I do however, expect for the system to be more respectful of the donor and their time.
Here is a perfect example of why I am frustrated. When I began the process I was clear that the surgery had to be done by a certain time frame, the first week of February, which would allow me ample time to heal and be ready for events and programs that I had scheduled starting in March. Yet, the hospital team failed to share one piece of information within their group that resulted in a one-week delay. This delay then offset every person involved with supporting me through my recovery. This delay put the surgery right on top of a holiday weekend, where many of my supporters had already had plans made, thus they were no longer available to assist me.
On the outset, that would appear to be a non-issue, simply delay the surgery, but the next two weeks where already booked and that delay would further cost me to lose money. The next available time frame I could do the surgery and allow for healing was not until the end of June or early July. That’s a five-month delay which could result in the death of the recipient. That’s not acceptable!
The hospital staff should have followed protocol, or at least go the extra mile to make sure that everything was done on time and they worked with me, the donor to make sure that time schedules were done and simply not dis-respect my effort and do as they choose and schedule things on their time frame. If this was a business I was dealing with, I would have fired them. Their actions were, as I feel completely disrespectful to me. The example I gave was just one of a couple of items that they did which added to loss of income and delays. I wonder at times if they have become immune to the lifesaving surgeries they are doing and treat this more as a business then a lifesaving procedure.
Regardless of the delays and me having to hire help to offset my inability to work properly, I would not stop this procedure, or delay it. We are dealing with people’s lives, and too many people die because there is no donor to help them. I do not want to be one of those people who could help, but chose not to because a corporation failed at its job.
My reasons for giving are simple; I have been blessed on many occasions over the years in many ways. It is because of being blessed is why I want to give back when I could. I am healthy at 55 years of age, and my time on earth continues to count down, so now is the perfect time to give back and help someone else in need. It is a small thing to do, and even more why I feel respect should be given through the process.
Now with that said, I want to share with you that not even knowing who the recipient is, I know this is a valid and right thing to do. But, I will share with you some information so that you can be prepared for what to expect if and when you choose to donate a body part.
Blood Testing: There was times I felt like I lost weight due to the amount of blood they took for testing. Before the pre-op, I have given over 40 vials of blood over a six-week period. The most at one time was 14 vials. This is critical for many reasons. Of course the most important is to make sure you are healthy enough to donate. The second is to make sure that your blood works well with the recipient’s. The rest of the blood is just follow up as needed.
Time: In my case the surgery team is located in San Antonio and I am in Austin, TX. Roughly a two-hour drive which does not lend well to recovery, pre-op time and any additional testing as needed. The blood tests were mostly done in Austin at a lab, so that was convent overall. The down time to go to San Antonio for the final round of approval before getting cleared for surgery was an all-day event. The pre-op procedure so far appears to be an all-day event.
Surgery: More to come on the blog for this item.