Did you know:
In the UK between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013 - 4212 organ transplants were carried out, thanks to the generosity of 2313 donors - http://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/statistics/index.asp
Received a call from the living donor team Friday. Nothing makes the prospect of an impending transplant a firmer reality than being asked 'do you have anyone you'd like to put under consideration?' and being informed you'll be joining the database (this happens whether you have a living donor or are put on the waiting list).
I think my first reaction was 'Holy sh*t...this is actually happening' and found myself cupping my head whilst trying to sound as normal as possible on the phone.
After talking to my contact for 20 minutes, my brain nearly cracked when it occurred to me the first difficult decision I had to make (having the transplant) was actually pretty easy.
The next one might be the hardest: I might have to make a huge decision which would not just involve me, but also the lives of the people I have as possible living candidates.
This right here is a terrifying concept....
Of course, I could just go on the waiting list and see what the system brings up, but I had it advised that if I have a living donor option, it's worth looking into.
Fortunately, I've already had a couple of people step up and offer themselves for the test. Despite fretting, both the doctor and the volunteers told me 'let's concern ourselves with whether there's a match or not before worrying about actually deciding if you'll accept it'. Which is a fair point and one I'm willing to go for: I could fret, fret, fret over a possible donor, finally decide yes, then it turns out, they're not a match.
3 tests have to be made:
1) blood test to make sure the donor and the recipient are all good and healthy
2) tissue test
3) test tube match: blood from both donor and recipient is put in a tube and they're checked for compatibility
And if a match is found? My delay on taking an offered kidney from a live donor (especially someone I know) is based on how the donor will be after the transplant. Will having donated affect them in a big way? Who'll look after them? Do they have anyone else who relays on them?
And let's not mention the guilt if they offer a kidney and it's rejected ('well, sh*t...you probably could have kept using that...um...sorry').
However, I'm informed a kidney transplant is actually the easiest transplant there is and there'a huge success rate. The doctor's tone on discussing it was almost like it was a walk in the park. Not a 'I must reassure this patient', but a genuine 'no really, it's so simple'. This was one of the key factors in pushing me towards having one.
The donor also recovers a hell of a lot quicker than the recipient and, although they undergo their own doctor visits, the recipient is the one who undergoes extra medication, tests, and doctor appointments (that's not new to me).
They're also treated by a different team than that of the recipient to ensure both receive full attention, rather than divided attention from one team looking after both.
The only difficulty kidney transplants face is...there aren't enough donors.
One thing I'm particularly grateful for is I have time. I'm not in dire need, so I can think about every action before I take it...which is great given I rarely jump into big decisions. Especially if they're something this huge!
January 2014, I'll be hitting 30, and it seems our 2014 is going to start with a bang. Therefore, I'm happy to do some tests these next few months, but I'm not going to undergo anything big until the new year.
I want to start my 30s as I mean to go on: up and about, looking the world in the eye, not lying down on a hospital bed, waiting. If I can help it. If the next few months see me in a hospital bed, then....I'll stare that
clock in the eye. Yup.
Next stage: I'm going to give it a week...have a think, consider all angles, then next Monday I'll be making the call and giving her the list.