My stepdad and I spoke yesterday, and the excitement was palpable: only seven days to the kidney donation! I have a lot to do this weekend to get ready and start packing for the trip down to Atlanta.
My husband, Craig, and I will drive down with our two small dogs and stay at my mom’s house. The day we arrive, we’ll just go to the grocery store and get some things we can’t live without and then settle in with my mom and stepdad to bond, contemplate, and come up with a collective plan for the next few days. The following day (Thursday), my stepdad will get admitted to the hospital, and I will go in for my pre-op. I am excited for Craig to meet my coordinator, Barbara, my surgeon, Dr. Pollinger, and the nephrologist – Dr. Zayas, who immediately became one of my heroes when I met him. He is extremely warm and is also battling lymphoma. So, I pray for him as much as I do for anyone else…
I don’t have to get admitted until the following morning for the surgery. So, since it is rare for me to be in town to see my nephew perform in the many plays and musicals he does, Craig and I are going to see him in a production of White Christmas the night before the surgery. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be distracted the night before, but my coordinator convinced me to go & enjoy it. So I am!
I already have a stash of things to pack that other donors suggested: a light bath robe (for when I’m walking in the hospital afterward — to cover up that gown!); a couple of pillows for holding against my abdomen in the car afterward; a heating pad; warm socks; comfy PJs and other loose-fitting clothes.
I’m sure I will have a range of emotions over the next few days. I’ll try to convey what my experience is like. For anyone considering kidney donation, I think it’s important for me to tell you that it starts out sounding like this wonderful idea of something you’d like to do … and then it becomes a reality … and although you probably will still want to do it, there is a part of you that will be asking, “What in the heck am I thinking – giving up an organ?!” … But that is normal and don’t feel bad about it. Only you can decide in the end if you can go through with it. And there is no shame in backing out. Dozens of people will tell you that. You have to focus on why you decided to do it and decide if that reason still holds true. Be honest with yourself. I can’t lie and say that I haven’t struggled with the idea a little. But, I just think back to what made me offer to do it in the first place, and it brings me home.
Best wishes. Please send prayers!