Another day in the life of a living donor:
08:30 logged on to work laptop to check through some emails. Luckily my employer has been very understanding about the tests that both I and C are having done and has allowed me to be very flexible in my work patterns.
09:15 Drop the cat at the vets for a tooth extraction – we all have appointments today. See you later Murphy!
11:00 Arrive at Epsom hospital for C’s appointment with his renal specialist who is pleased that his latest blood results show his kidney function is holding at an eGFR of 15 for now. He also confirms that C will be referred to the surgeons for assessment too as part of the transplant process. Back home for a bit more work
13:00 Lunch at a lovely little pub half way between where we live and St Heliers. It’s become a tradition that we stop by for some food on our way too or from the hospital. I often imagine the celebratory lunch we will have here one day when we get good news.
14:00 On our way to the hospital. I get a call to say they need to move my CT Scan appointment for tomorrow to this evening – great news, we can get it all done in one day.
14:40 I arrive at the renal clinic and check in. I go to have my blood pressure checked and mange to introduce myself to the nurse as “Doctor Sadie”…. She looks confused and I don’t really blame her. I manage to clear things up and take a seat. The waiting room is full and it’s clear that kidney disease in all its forms does not discriminate. There is diversity here in so many ways but I know I’m probably the only donor here. The rest are people that at some point will need dialysis and/or transplant. So many lives could benefit if more people were on the NHS donor register and took the time to discuss it with their families.
15:20 In with the doctor who takes the time to go over my results so far; explain once again the donation process; its risks, benefits and considerations. He takes a medical history and completes a quick physical examination which picks up a soft heart murmur. It’s something he thinks is not going to be an issue, but worth checking out so I’m booked in for a echo-cardiogram to make sure. This will be the final test before my referral.
16:00 Over to the CT unit for my scan. They are having problems with one of the scanners so its a bit hectic. I gown up and one of the radiographers puts the biggest cannual I have ever seen into my arm. We know it’s gone in OK as it happily sprays blood out whilst she tries to get the cap on. The cannual will be used for the contrast die that is injected as part of the CT scan to show up my kidney structure in glorious detail.
16:30 I initially wait a while for the scan as they are busy and then suddenly I’m in, on the scanner bed and being briefed about the procedure. I’m told I will feel warm when the die goes in; that I will get a metallic taste in my mouth and “It will feel like I’ve wet myself” Excuse me? Yes, it will feel like you are having a wee, but you’re not. Don’t Panic. Right….
The scan starts and whilst not scary, it is a little unsettling in its unusualness. The scanner bed moves back and forth inside a spinning ring; a laser guide is used to line it up on the right part of your body and a robotic voice instructions you to “breath normally/breath in deep/hold your breath” in succession. Then the die goes in via the cannula and yes you feel warm, yes there is a metallic taste in your mouth and YES – it does feel like you have had a wee. All this happens at once so you just need to lie there, breath as instructed and keep still – its all normal and all over very quickly.
17:00 Back to the vets to pick up a sleepy cat who is minus two teeth but otherwise intact.
C and I both log back on to our laptops and finish up some work before logging off and gathering on the sofa to relax and reflex. So much happened in just one day to move us forward but for now we are back to the waiting game. With a holiday looming along with the July matching run deadline there is much for us to think about whilst we wait.