Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kidney Donation Procedure

Here is more information on how my kidney donation procedure went at St. Paul's Hospital.  Hopefully this will encourage others who wish to donate to be prepared for what's to come.  

1.     Paper work: The process began November 2013.  There I started with a stack of paper work filled with questionnaires about my health and family health history.  I sent that in, and within a few weeks I received a phone call to answer any other questions.
2.     Blood work*: They asked me to go in for a bunch of blood works to ensure that I didn't have anything that they couldn't detect with the questionnaire.
3.     Physical Examination: Within a few weeks of that, I went in for X-rays, ultrasounds, ECG, urine sample, and CT Scans.
4.     Results/Meet the Team: Once everything looks good, I went to meet the team, (Surgeon, Nephrologist, Anesthesiologist, Social Worker, Psychiatrist) to talk about the results along with any concerns and questions.
5.     Genetics Test (for young donors/other): When everything has passed, they asked to do a genetics blood work test, as they wanted to be certain that I won't have the same disease when I am older. 
6.     Confirmation: A few weeks before the surgery, they do one last big set of blood work and urine sample to ensure that nothing has changed since.
7.     Surgery Day: No food for about 24 hours.  The nurse will do one last small set of blood work.  They bring you into the surgery room where you meet the surgery team and the IV is put in.  You're then out cold dreaming about talking to Bryan Cranston while they do the laparoscopic surgery.
8.     Waking Up: You are in the recovery room when you wake.  They will teach you to use the "pain killer" button that will go through the IV.  This stuff is wonderful!  Once stable, you are brought into your room
9.     Recovery: It takes about 4-8 weeks to recover.  6 months to recover fully.  Do not pick up anything more than 10 pounds in case of hernia or injury.  You're abdomen will be extremely weak.  (It's been 6 weeks, and I can only do pelvic tilts).
10. Reimbursements (LODERP for Canadians only): Some can try to apply for reimbursements if you miss work, as well as for travel, living, and parking costs up to a certain amount.  Unfortunately I was not able to apply for this because I wasn't working at the time, neither was I travelling or living outside this city, but they still covered some of my parking tickets.

*I had several extra blood works and meeting with the counselor and psychiatrist due to my health at the time, this may vary from person to person.
**This is all from personal experience and may vary depending on the location you are doing this at.