Time for another installment of this Wednesday/Sunday night series!
Picking up from last time –
When I decided to give a kidney, I was sure about it.
And it’s a good thing I am!
I was shocked – honestly shocked by the reactions of my close friends and family.
They certainly are allowed to react however they want and have feelings and everything. I just wasn’t expecting what I got.
I was expecting, “Good for you! How exciting!” and all that jazz. But no. I got a lot of “What?! That’s an awful idea! Major surgery for a stranger? I could maybe understand for a family member, but come on!”
Okay, well, this stranger is someone’s family member. (And, as has been taught to us by many, many sitcoms – our real family is the one we choose, not the one we’re related to by blood.)
Granted, this stranger isn’t one of those super close friends in the family that we choose. He or she is just some person. But while she may not be my person, she is someone’s.
Most importantly, she is the world’s person. I don’t know anything about her. (I don’t even know that she is a her. I just try to use female pronouns when the gender is up in the air…) I don’t know if she has a family or close friends. I don’t know what her job is, or what her dreams are. Quite frankly, I don’t really care.
I care in the sense that she’s a human being, so I’d care to know that stuff if I met her. But I don’t care in the sense of judging whether I should give her my kidney.
The point is, she’s a human. She has a life left to live and things she wants to accomplish. And as much as I truly, head-over-heels adore some of the people in my life, their lives are no more inherently special than someone else’s.
In answer to the always-coming-up question of, “What if someone you love ends up needing a kidney?” – Why hold onto my kidney on the super far off chance that someone I know might, maybe, someday in the distant future need one; when I can fill a need right now? Hopefully someone else could step up to the plate, in the future, if need be.
Plus, it’s not even like I’m just helping a stranger. When you help one person, that usually translates into helping others.
For instance, in this situation – getting one person off the list of people who need a kidney will move other people one spot closer to getting theirs. (And often times non-directed donors can be a missing link in a chain for a multi-paired exchange, making it so multiple people get kidneys on the same day.)
The risk of dying or getting into a life-threatening situation in the donor surgery is very, very low. And multiple studies state that living with one kidney has not been shown affect your life in an adverse way.
Risk = very small. Reward for someone else = extremely large. Seems like a simple equation to me.
I understand that most of the people who reacted with worry did it because they care about me. People close to you generally don’t want to see you even possibly putting yourself in harm’s way (even though technically, we’re almost always in harm’s way by at least some percentage). But I certainly didn’t expect as much blowback as I got.
People will get on board eventually, after their initial shock. But my advice to anyone thinking about giving a kidney – really make up your mind first before you consult those close to you. Then you can strongly defend your position.
Whatever you decide, it’s a position you have to take and a decision you need to make without others kind of talking in your ear (unless of course you’re very close with nephrologists and the like, at which point, they will probably talk facts with you and not fear)…
More kidney talk coming at you next time!