Emotional wreckage, that’s how I felt yesterday evening, today I’m less of a wreck more of a desolate empty vessel devoid of all aim, direction or purpose. Yesterday I had another medical test and meeting at the local hospital, both of which I was rather looking forward to, another step down the road and all that. Firstly the medical test was an ultrasound scan of the urinary tract, bladder and kidneys, with special emphasis on the kidneys. Arriving early in the x-ray and scanning department paid dividends for me as was shown into the rather pleasant scanning suit almost a full half hour ahead of schedule, no time for snacking or dawdling for me! Ultrasounds are rather odd in that apart from the cool gel stuff they place on your body and a little pressure from the wand there isn’t much to them, at least from a patient point of view. There on the screen in grey and dark blobs were, I was informed my plump lovely kidneys, all perfectly normal in size, shape and location with perfect blood flow, demonstrated by flashes of red and blue on the monitor. My bladder was rather full and looked like a good mass, again all rather normal and as expected according the lovely lady looking at my insides. It did feel a little strange seeing my kidney on the screen all err rather kidney shaped, much clearer than on the screen during the renogram I had a fortnight ago. Did I tell you about that? No, well back on the 7th I had a renogram which is where they inject you with radioactive stuff and then slam you in a nuclear medicine scanner to watch how it effects your kidneys. I also had a GFR test after that, which was a four hour long blood test fest where you get injected with more radioactive stuff and they keep on testing the blood at regular intervals in order to see how much of the radioactive stuff the kidneys have kicked out, or filtered out of the old red stuff. Anyway, it’s been a long haul of tests, thinking, consideration and soul searching, at least four or five months worth and it all came crashing down yesterday.
After my ultrasound I popped round to the coordinating sister and she reviewed all the medical results, firstly my ultrasound report was already with her showing that my kidneys are of normal size, normal shape, me back clear from things they should be clear of. My chest x-rays have been viewed, reviewed and show my lungs are clean and clear and my old ticker is in the normal place and of normal size and according to EKG working perfectly well. My blood work showed clear of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, human Tcell lymphotropic virus, whilst both CMV and Epstein-Barr virus were detected, although their presence was no preclusion to process I was undertaking. On to the nuclear medicine tests now, the renography was normal with a differential of left kidney 51% and right kidney 49%, so working very evenly, however my world came crashing to a devastating halt when the sister proffered my glomerular filtration rate Cr51 EDTA results, it was measured as 71ml/min which was scaled down to my body area to read 64ml/min/1.73 m2. Half time is 159 minutes which corresponds to a GFR per unit extra cellular fluid volume of 61 ml/min/13litres - in short the conclusion of which is I have moderately impaired filtration function of the kidneys, stage II. But why is this so important and why had I been going along this five month journey of soul searching and medical examinations? Well, five months ago I volunteered to become a living organ donor, I wanted to give away one of my kidneys and all the medical procedures I’ve endured have been to make sure my kidneys are good enough to give to someone else and I’m well enough to live on one kidney in the future. Kidney function sometimes deteriorates with age and my low GFR indicates that I might, an emphasis on the word might, need both of them to function when I’m in my seventies!
If you want to know why I wanted to become a living kidney donor, please read this post, and why altruistic donation to a stranger read this post, but in short there are around 10,000 people in the UK that could do with a new organ and over 7500 of those people are actually on the organ donor waiting list. Over 1000 people die whilst waiting, that’s three people every single day who die because there simply isn’t enough organs to go around. According to recent research, approximately 96% of us would take an organ if we needed one, yet only a third of us have signed the organ donor register. Not signing the organ donor register is only goes part way to explain the lack of organs, other reasons include people not telling their loved ones or next of kin of their desire to be an organ donor in the event of their death, which is a major issue, plus of course there are the incredible advances in emergency trauma medicine in recent years saving so many more lives.
I wanted to make a difference, most people can live a perfectly healthy and normal life with just one kidney and research shows that kidneys from living donors work better and for much much longer than organs from non-living donors. To me, for me, it made perfect sense to be a living donor, I’d given it serious amounts of thought, bucket loads of soul-searching and hours and hours worth of research. The journey had been long, I was almost at the end of it, just a few more steps to take before the harvest and transplant operation in February. However, all that planning, research and soul-searching has come to an excruciatingly painful and depressingly premature end. Some unknown, unmentioned, unnamed and unmet doctor has decided that I’m not going to be able to be a living kidney donor, that my organ isn’t going to save someone’s life, at least not while I’m alive anyway, all based on the low results of just one test, a test that they have already refused to run again.
Yesterday even I felt like an emotional wreck, my feelings were all over the place, although I had to hide them away when I got home and paint on a painted smile for a while as my mother, adoptive sister and husband and niece and great niece and nephew arrived. It sometimes surprises me how I can cover my feelings after such an emotionally exhaustive day, but I guess I’ve had plenty of practice at that stuff. Today though, I’m not an emotional train crash, I’m just empty, completely desolate on the emotion front and devoid of all purpose and worth. I’ll be taking some time away from the blogging world for now, until I can find some worth and purpose.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a merry Christmas, may your festive holiday be filled with love, joy and happiness.
© 2012 Copyright to Jason Shaw
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