That Time I (Hopefully) Gave Away A Kidney – Part 19 (Social Workers Are Serious Business Too)

Sunday, August 10th, 2014
huge chair at OSU medical center

Another huge chair in this hospital for giants 🙂 This is one where I got to have my EKG taken

Picking up from last time

So, the social worker had made such a huge stink about statistics, stating that all patients do better with tons of support and people basically crowding them after surgery.

I went online to try to find what she must be talking about. I’ll admit, I didn’t go research paper level on this or anything, but I looked. There were plenty of studies about risks of kidney donation and other related things such as hernias, death rates, all that jazz. But there wasn’t really anything sticking out about having someone stay with you versus not having someone stay with you.

One thing that is so hilarious about this is that I would be staying with someone! Whether it’s my great friend Emily for the first few days, or my parents, or my mentor/best friend who’d always open her home to me – whomever it is, my home is in California! So, I’d automatically be staying with someone if I were in Ohio.

That’s why I don’t even understand why this became an issue! If this woman weren’t so aggressive and in my face, it never would’ve been. I don’t know why she had to treat me that way. You’d think a social worker would be good at dealing with people. But you’d be wrong.

I had to go back to the transplant center in the next day or two to return a blood pressure monitor. (Sorry to fast forward a bit in the story. We’ll go back to Big Kidney Day.) While I was there, I saw my donor coordinator and asked if it was possible to ask if I could just see the studies the social worker had told me about (and by told me about, I meant shoved in my face, but I’m nice… (usually, although I’m coming across pretty hostile in this story…)).

She goes and gets the social worker for me. I have a page in my kidney notebook about this conversation that I wrote the moment I got in the car so I wouldn’t forget everything she said.

I try to explain that something just still didn’t click with me from our conversation and I’m just wondering if I could take a look at the studies.

This is where the conversation picks up in my notebook:

“I just figured you might have the statistics.”
“On hand?!”
“Maybe, because you seemed so sure.”
“I AM really sure. But I’m not gonna give them to you. I’m not giving you studies. I’m not gonna look it up. I have other patients.”

Then she goes on this whole thing of “If I were a medical doctor would you believe it more?!”

Ah. That’s something I never once brought up or implied. So, I think we see where some deep-seeded stuff is probably going on… Not that I’m a medical doctor who can really say, but I’m just saying…

I answer that no, it wouldn’t matter. I’m only trying to educate myself.

She says that it’s good for patients to educate themselves, but it will never change protocol.

I say I’m not trying to change protocol. I just want to understand what’s so important about having people in the waiting room during a surgery from which you spend the night (and why it’s possibly necessary for multiple weeks to have someone there literally 24/7).

I don’t know if it’s UNOS mandated or hospital or what. And I’m just curious about the process and the world around me.

Then she’s all, “But the answers don’t matter. Because protocol is protocol.”
“But I’m not trying to change protocol. I’m trying to understand it.” That goes on and on in circles.

I’ll pick up here next time.

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