Saturday, April 26, 2008

Organ Donation Chronicle - D Minus 18

Most of the people close to me are aware that in 18 days I should be in the operating room of the Hartford Hospital in Hartford, CT, where I will be donating one of my kidneys to my sister. But since one needs to write about something in one’s blog and 1) this isn’t exactly a common everyday event, 2) it will give me material for at least a month and maybe more to write about, and 3) being open about this has over the last two months has opened a wellspring of uplifting events; it really seems like the right thing to do.

The Journey Begins

It has been almost two years since this odyssey began. During the winter of 2006 I got news that my sister’s kidneys were failing. I would say that my family (siblings and remaining parent) is not exactly close. And while if I were a good brother, I would have known this much sooner than I did about, it came to me as shock. My sister lives back in Connecticut and I would not characterize her as the most self-reliant person in the world.

So getting this information, what was I going to do. There was a initial passing thought about donating but with conversation with my father, I was counseled to be very careful about what commitments I made and to really think about the consequences of my actions. That led to a hiatus in activity. But it became apparent very quickly that there were very few people who had expressed any interest in donating and those that did were either not compatible blood types and/or my children. I really didn’t like the idea of my children with so much of their life in front of them to take this risk. And I knew that I was compatible. A nagging feeling began to arise. I was being put into a situation where for once in my life I had to make choice that could affect if someone was going to live or die.

So I began to start reading about live donation and getting an idea of the risks that were involved and what type of commitment would have to be made. I learned that this is considered a very, very safe procedure – but that it was major surgery – and you could die. I also found that I could be out of commission for up to 3 months – Yikes! What was going to happen with my income? I am self-employed. Most of my income is what I generate. Because out legal system wants to discourage any trafficking of organs, it is very, very difficult to get any financial aid to assist a donor. Our financial situation was going to be doubly taxed because of having to go to Connecticut and all the associated costs of funding the travel and staying their. What would be the consequences to my wife if I died? What would happen if I didn’t die but became disabled – financially a much worse scenario? There was a lot to consider.

(To be continued)


Bernice said...

Thanks for talking about this. I feel I can learn life lessons for myself from the experiences of others, so I appreciate it.

Lakeview Coffee Joe said...

Wow, only 18 days away. Where has this year gone? We'll give your liver a workout while you're in Chi-town next week.

stef said...

Oh Dad. I'm so glad you're sharing this on this forum. It really gives a different view of what you've gone through to make this decision- even more than talking to you about it. :)

alexis said...

I know all the reasons, I am proud you are my father, and I hope I can make the right decision if I ever am put in the situation.

Weaselmomma said...

I look forward to reading the rest. What a great thing for you to do for someone else.