That Time I (Hopefully) Gave Away A Kidney – Part 11 (Big Kidney Day! – The Beginning)

July 13, 2014

feet dancing on the Billie-Jean-like light up squares outside the Met Lofts
When I was first getting tests done in California, I passed these awesome squares on the way to the lab! I obviously had to do a little dance break, pretending I was in the Billy Jean video

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

Picking up from last time

So, I get to Big Kidney Day at a time of morning I don’t like to see unless it means I’m still up (or running a marathon). But, I was happy (ish) to do it if it meant giving a kidney.

Considering I’d already had to pee for these people 40 billion times, I did not use the bathroom before I got there – fully prepared for them to say, “Pee for us!” right when I got in. And wouldn’t you know it? I did in fact need to pee for them.

(I almost forgot until later, they’d warned us in the confirmation letter that we’d need to give a urine sample when we got there. So, I wasn’t all that cool for not peeing that morning – as that was more just paying attention and apparently semi-remembering, not thinking ahead in a cool knowing way. Wah wah. Moving on…)

I met some of the other potential kidney donors as we were waiting for the day to start. Everyone seemed quite nice.

We were taken back into the office one by one, and weighed on this humongous scale. Also, we got what I like to refer to as our mugshots

We had to hold up a sign in front of us with our name and maybe even our patient number. (Plus it was 7:30 in the morning. So, I probably looked a little like a mess (just as I’d kinda think many people do in their mugshots – from whatever situation landed them in jail).)

Before you knew it, Big Kidney Day began. We got yet another packet of paperwork. (Some papers we needed to fill out. Some were more to read.)

The nurses and doctors talked to us. In case we hadn’t learned enough from the reading packet and the DVD, the doctors were extremely thorough in explaining everything.

If there’s reason to believe one of your kidneys functions better than the other one, that one stays with you. If there’s no reason to believe that, you’re more likely to have your left kidney taken because the vein is almost always thicker and longer on that side.

They told us about the 4 days in the hospital and what to expect on each one.

They also shared that there’s a federal mandate that they monitor you a 1 month, 6 months, 12 months, and 24 months post-surgery.

They tell you about the small scars you’ll have (since they do it laparoscopically).

You’ll be on a lifetime ban from NSAIDs (Motrin, Advil, Aleve, etc.) Of course, sign me up for this because I hate pills!

For 6 months after your surgery, your remaining kidney will grow a bit. You’ll never be at 100% of the kidney function you once had – but we have extra that we don’t need. You’ll perform at about 2/3 what you usually did, and for most adults that’s still plenty enough to live a normal life.

In Ohio, you can write off any expenses incurred due to being a living donor on your state taxes. That doesn’t affect me, but just thought I’d bring it up if any of you are curious.

Someone asked if alcohol would be an issue. I don’t really drink, but if I decide I want to, I’m free to get crunk! The surgeons said having one kidney shouldn’t affect alcohol consumption since that’s more about your liver.

This is where we’ll pick up with more of the talk next time.

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