That Time I (Hopefully) Gave Away A Kidney – Part 9 (Why I’d Much Rather Give To A Stranger)

July 6, 2014

Aurora swabbing her cheek
Swabbing my cheek for one of my pre-tests before I moved on to lab tests.

Time for another installment of this Wednesday/Sunday night series!

Picking up from last time

While the tests were being done, I found out I was not a match for the amazing guy for whom I was being tested. Yes, it was sad. But, I’m very happy to give to a stranger.

One of my many blood tests was part of a crossmatch. My understanding is that two people’s blood samples (a recipient’s and potential donor’s) are mixed together. If the donor has antibodies that attack his antigens, cells die. If the cells die, it’s a positive crossmatch.

You need a negative crossmatch to be a successful donor.

It takes two weeks to do a crossmatch test. And the results were positive (which in this case means bad).

So it was time to give to a stranger. While I would’ve loved for this wonderful man to get his kidney, let’s talk about why I’m so happy to be giving to a stranger.

For one thing, which has been mentioned (sorry to retread ground here), I do not want to be judge and jury! I don’t want to decide based on a profile and a photo who deserves to get her life back and who doesn’t. That is too much pressure. Plus too much bias can seep in.

Also, I don’t want this person to feel beholden to me for the rest of her life. I don’t want her to feel pressured to send me holiday cards or to show me she’s using her kidney in crazy adventures. If she is, great. But I don’t want her to feel nervous that I’m watching her.

Also, let’s get real. I might watch her a little! If I see that that person’s being really irresponsible and not taking care of her kidney, I’m probably not going to be the most pleased person in the world. (I get that we’re all human. But do I want to see that?)

Not to mention, what if the person does every single thing she’s supposed to – she takes all her medicines, eats great, exercises – but her body rejects my kidney? The chances of that happening are small. But it is possible. I do NOT want to see that.

I feel a million times better never having any idea who got my kidney.

Some people have been playing devil’s advocate with me. “If you never know, then how do you know you didn’t save a serial killer or someone else who does horrific things?”

I won’t know. But I just have to hope that that didn’t happen. And even if my kidney saved a serial killer (although really, let’s not think like this), it got a non-serial killer closer to the top of the list. Tiniest silver lining ever, perhaps?

Let’s seriously just not think about that. What are the actual chances it would go to a serial killer? Come on, now!

I believe in humans. It’s hard because I live in Los Angeles… But generally, I do. And I believe there are no “good” or “bad” people, but that we all do some good and some bad things.

Most of us strive to do more good than bad. I believe my kidney will help the world more than it will hinder it. And I choose to believe that the person who gets it is one of the people trying to do more good than bad in her life.

More kidney story coming at you next time!

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?