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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.
Feb. 3, 2010
After my session with the nephrologist, I met with the staff social worker who was interested in my family situation, social environment and my motivation for wanting to donate. Most of what I told her has been recounted in previous blogs.
She asked about plans on where to recuperate (with my daughter) and local support systems (lots of very good friends). We again spoke of growing old with one kidney and my expectations for longevity. I'm not keen on living to any ripe old age, so even if my life is shortened for want of a kidney (or other malfunction) I hope I won't feel short-changed. (One never knows until one reaches that point.)
She seemed convinced that I was entering into this venture willingly, without pressure from anyone. Often when someone is donating to a family member or friend, there can be feelings of guilt or pressure or fear or resentment. This is not an ideal situation, for the negative feelings will probably multiply after the surgery. And since I don't plan to know or maintain any contact with my recipient, I have a mind-set that will hopefully minimize any future negative feelings.
She reminded me that I am entitled to change my mind about donating at any point along the way, right up until the end. If the testing deems that I'm able, let's hope that my resolve will not be shaken from any other quarter. The social worker noted my commitment for donating the kidney, and asked if, when the transplant is complete, I would be willing to "go public" to make more people aware of the need for more live donors and to speak out for the cause of those on waiting lists. I told her I'd certainly share my experiences if asked, and had thought of writing a blog. (Here I am!)
I'm hoping that these scribblings will provide information to others who might consider becoming an organ donor, no matter what their age or relationship with a person in need.
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.