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In January 2010, Kay decided to donate a kidney and began a life-changing journey. She chronicled her experience in detailed journals, which she is now sharing here.
Jan. 27, 2010
Since my friend’s son “William” is too young to receive my kidney, I decided to throw my kidney on the table for anyone who needed it. So now it’s time to find an appropriate hospital transplant center. I referred to the website of the National Kidney Registry that lists transplant centers by geographic area. One near me seemed to be Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego. Later I learned that Loma Linda also does transplants.
I started by calling the donor coordinator, let's call her "Toni." I offered to send her Dr. Gibbs' letter of support, blood/urine test results, and the downloaded and signed Medical Certification Form. Of course, I also emailed my "Eight Reasons Why I’d Like to Donate " list for her consideration. Toni agreed to plead my case before the Sharp committee, and soon notified me that indeed, they would let my kidney speak for itself.
I was sent a list of medical lab tests as a starting point, and asked to record my blood pressure six to seven times over a two-week period. The lab tests were pretty straightforward — more blood and urine, including learning my blood type.
But where to go for official blood pressure measurement? I hated to use my doctor's office since they are plenty busy. Toni mentioned that local fire departments will do this for free. I phoned our local fire station and sure enough, they would be happy to do this. They assumed that I was an at-risk patient who needed constant monitoring, so were pretty surprised to learn that I was healthy. I didn't tell them the purpose of the many visits, to avoid embarrassment should I not be able to donate. Up to this point, only my daughter, "William's" parents, and Dr. Gibbs were aware of my quest.
I made up a little chart with date, time of day, blood pressure measurement, and initials of the fire person. Luckily, my blood pressure runs pretty low, in the low 100s, so I was pretty sure the report would look good. Then another period of waiting while the committee gets together to review these preliminary tests. Can you stand the suspense?
For More Information
To learn more about Sharp's transplant services or to find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about transplant, visit Transplantation in Adult Health or read the Transplant News archive.