That Time I (Maybe?) Gave Away A Kidney – Part 12 (The Psychiatrist Lays Out Interview Plans)

February 11, 2015

Aurora De Lucia in a hosptial gown with a huge smile on her face (in black and white)
I’m not sure why I filtered this in black and white for social media (since I don’t often like to do that). But I can’t find the original photo! So, um, here’s the black and white filtered one…

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

Picking up from last time

My last appointment of the day was with the psychiatrist.

The appointments were listed on the schedule as consults, but I’ve mainly been calling them interviews here (as the social worker and psychiatrist aren’t just there to consult – they’re there to evaluate me). Of course, I was expecting interrogations. So, interviews are a pleasant surprise.

The first thing the psychiatrist said (other than introductions) was “this is gonna be the easy part.”

“Why do I have a very hard time believing that?” I sarcastically wondered in my head… But do you know what? He was telling the truth! We had the best time. We laughed together (multiple times!). He was absolutely wonderful to me.

This didn’t seem like an interview at all. Maybe this really was a consult. Heck maybe this was just a fun chat with my total new best friend.

At the beginning of our meeting, he laid it out oh so simply.

“We’re only gonna talk about three things,” he said.

1) Informed consent (Do you know what you’re doing?)

2) Good outcomes (He said sometimes patients have temporary emotional or psychological problems after donation, and he doesn’t want that for me (or anyone if it can be avoided). So, we’ll address any issues that might put me at risk for not the best outcome.)

Aurora in her old living room laughing happily
Just a random old shot (from years ago) of me laughing, since there was oh so much laughter during this interview (and since this picture still exists on my computer)

3) Temporary problems with memory, attention, and concentration.
(He said that’s very rare, but it is possible. And if something like that were to happen, the surgeons would send me his way. And when they would, he’d want to know from where I’m starting – so he knows to where I need to get back.)

And then [*drumroll*] – he asked me questions relating to those three things, in that order.

He did not stray from what he said we’d talk about. He did not make judgements about my personality (or if he did, he kept them to himself and didn’t let them affect my ability to give).

This is exactly what I envisioned this meeting should be like!

Thank you, UCLA (and this incredible psychiatrist) for making me feel like I’m… well, I don’t want to say normal. ‘Cause who’s “normal”? But you know, competent, I guess. And I felt like my desire for an interview along the lines of this one was not out of line, since look! I was given this one here! Boom.

As we moved through the questions, he was so patient.

When I’d give an answer, he’d reflect back. “So, if I hear you, it sounds like you’re saying [insert whatever answer I just gave phrased differently, so I know he’s hearing me and that I’m getting across the answers I want to get across].”

He’s the best ever. I bet his patients (and families and strangers) love him.

And this is where I’ll pick up next time.

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