Nobody said it would be easy
I admit it. The thought of having a body part removed was a little scary. But I have a wonderful guide.
From the start, Maureen Bell, a kidney transplant coordinator at VCU Health Hume-Lee Transplant Center, has been my navigator. She is a delight — warm, kind, and like many nurses, no-nonsense. I like all those things about her—but most of all, I trust her.
The approval process seems to be designed to ferret out any reason why I should not donate an organ, including physical, social and emotional factors. In case you’re curious, here are just some of the tests and screenings that I had over the past three months:
- Many, many blood tests
- All the typical cancer screenings
- Several physical exams
- Interviews with two social workers
- Psychological evaluation
- CT scan
- Chest x-ray
- Stress test
- ECHO cardiogram
The culminating event was a nuclear imaging study to evaluate my kidney function. It’s official. I now glow in the dark.
Every time felt annoyed or frustrated by the delays and all the poking and prodding, I reminded myself of this simple fact: No matter how I am feeling, the people who need an organ and their loved ones are feeling one hundred times worse. So, no whining permitted. I am the lucky one.
I suspect that my age and status as an altruistic donor made the transplant team even more cautious and conservative. Now that I have jumped over all the hurdles and passed all the tests, I feel absolutely confident that I am fit and physically prepared to handle the surgery. I not only trust Maureen, I trust the process.
I continue to feel one other thing—incredibly grateful. Good health is a gift. And I am very fortunate to be ABLE to donate.
If you are feeling blessed with good health and you have a big, fat, pink kidney to spare, let me know. I would welcome the opportunity to introduce you to Maureen and see if you too can be among the lucky ones who can give someone else a second chance at life. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.