Careful, it's a tad bit lengthy.
Many people have made aware that they've wanted to know and understand the process of donating one of their kidneys. Now, I thought that you just sign up, they call you, test you and boom, take the kidney and hold it in some type of freezer until it was time for me to get it but um, that is definitely far from the truth. I found out that the kidney donor process is just as long and strenuous as the recipient. So first, you have to know if I am listed on a kidney transplant list and the answer is, No, I'm not. I am not on the list yet because I am still going through the evaluation process. Once the process is completed and taken before a board of qualified doctors, nurses and other team members, it is then determined if I am listed or not.
If you would like to give to a "non-directed living donor", you can contact any transplant center of your choice and speak with their transplant program.
When you talk to the transplant staff, you will be asked for consent (on your own will) to begin the screening process to check your "healthiness". You will then have a blood test conducted to see if your blood type matches mine. For the record, in case you're wondering (just in case), I am O-POSITIVE; which means, I can only receive O-POSITIVE blood. Wait... now, before you decide that you might not be a match, that’s okay. Even with you NOT being a blood match, there is still a method to donate but I will talk about that later so, keep reading.
So once the screening is done, you will have a full medical and psychological evaluation process which serves to "protect you and help ensure the success of the transplant". That came straight from Cleveland Clinic's mouth; well, whoever wrote that handbook. You will have to answer questions about family history. You will be asked about your financial situation (you don't pay for giving a kidney, my insurance covers that) and who can be your support while you go through this; I mean, you are trying to give an entire kidney. You will be asked why you are donating a kidney and how it might affect your lifestyle. This is something that you really want to do and if you change your mind, it OKAY. It is OKAY to say no. I can wait! My dialysis machine has been doing me fine.
The type of tests that will be conducted is
1. Psychological and/ or psychosocial evaluation: we need you stable mentally.
2. Tissue typing : to check and see if my tissue between 6 codes on me match your white blood cells. If so, there is a greater chance for a long term success.
3. Blood test screen: sorry, but I don't need anyone with ANYTHING, not even a cold. They need to know if you have anything so um, yeah, we need blood.
4. Urine testing : to check your kidney function. Do you know you can have only 20% kidney function and STILL feel normal?! Crazy!
5. Chest X-ray: checking the heart and lungs.
6. Radiologic testing: So the doctors can take a look at your organs and make sure they are healthy enough. I only have about 4% kidney function. It would be useless to take my kidney out just to give me your 30% functioning kidney. Me and you are going to be back in there.
6. PAP Smear : Ladies, you get them every year, do I still need to explain?
7. Cancer screening: just to ensure that there are no cancerous cells and I end up getting the kidney and end up with cancer. Then you and I are in deep waters.
Sigh... I'm doing this same stuff too.
After that, you will then make the decision again, if this is something you want to do.
AGAIN, please do this on your own will. You can stop the process at anytime, except on the surgery table.
I can NOT stress that enough. Are you still there? If so, good. Keep reading.
You will be provided with either an ID (independent donor advocate) or a IDA team. They will help you through the donation process. They assist through helping you understand the consent, evaluation, surgical, medical and post-donation process. It's others, but, it's lengthy. Any questions that you may have, that team is who helps you.
Currently, I have a team. My team consist of a financial counselor, a social worker, a pharmacist, doctors and nurses. My team will be different from yours. A lot of information right?
It's even more and I generalized it for you. But now do you understand the process? Once I am listed, I will inform you all and you can then call (954) 659-5133 (Cleveland Clinic Living Donor line) and begin or if you would like to begin going through the process now, then, GO FOR IT!!!
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