the waiting game

Did you know that currently in America there are 87,000 people waiting for a kidney transplant? And of those 87,000, 12 will die each day while waiting. Absolutely staggering, especially when you think about how easy it is for people to help out and make a real dent in that ever-growing list.

While getting blood work prescriptions at my doctor’s office on Monday (for my initial tests to see if I can donate), he and I began talking about, what else, kidneys. He has several patients who have donated kidneys and said not one of them has reported any change in their lifestyle from before the surgery to now, post-op. I asked him a few more questions (even though at this point I think I know almost all there is to know on the topic!), and he told me something that I knew I had to share: In order to life healthily, with no issues or problems whatsoever, humans only need 20% kidney function – meaning either 10% from each kidney or 20% from one. Therefore, if someone has two, perfectly healthy kidneys, they have 4-5 times the amount of kidney function they need to be healthy, and even with just one healthy kidney, one would still have 2-3 times the amount they need. So basically, we’re walking around with all this extra kidney function just waiting to be used – why not share??

Something that always comes up when I tell people about what I’m doing is “What if your one kidney fails and you don’t have another?” Good question, but here’s the real deal: Almost all kidney afflictions attack BOTH kidneys, not just one. So having a second kidney doesn’t mean you have a ‘backup’ in case one conks out. And, if a kidney donor or their immediate family ever needed a kidney, they go right to the top of the list. Not a bad deal!

Anyway, after talking to my doctor on Monday, I headed right over to the lab to get all my blood work done, including an analysis of my 24-hour urine collection sample, which I did on Sunday. Once I got past the sort of gross part of actually having to collect my pee in this huge, traffic-cone orange container and store it in my fridge (ugh), it was actually kind of fun to see how much I urinated in one day. The average person pees about 1 liter a day – but, I drink a lot of water, so I was much closer to 2 liters (I always felt like I went more than the average person!). What wasn’t fun was lugging that huge jug around with me through Jersey City and Hoboken on Monday in a hail and wind storm. A small price to pay for saving lives, I guess!

Once at the lab, the technician took four vials of blood (and one, ‘just in case’) and another small urine sample. She said it would be about 3-4 business days before I got my results. Well, today was day 3 and you better believe I called my doctor first thing! Unfortunately, no results yet. Once I get them back, assuming I pass everything, I’ll send the results along with a form my doctor signed (saying I’m in good health and able, in his opinion, to proceed) to the National Kidney Registry. Once they receive it, I will be assigned a transplant coordinator who will begin the real process, and the real fun! I CANNOT WAIT!! Until then, back to work, back to real life, and back to waiting. And waiting, and waiting…

 

‘He that can have Patience, can have what he will.’  [Benjamin Franklin]

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