David’s Donation to a Friend from Church
In early 2008 one of the guys I attend a church small group with was diagnosed with kidney failure. I casually, but sincerely offered him one of mine, if necessary. Late in 2008 I was contacted by the transplant facility where my friend had been undergoing preliminary screening for transplant. Testing immediately ruled me out as a match for him, but since I had expressed a willingness to do a non directed donation, I was again asked if I was still willing to do that. I didn’t know much about organ donation at the time, but knew enough to make the decision to continue the process.
Over the next six months I went through the screening process which included numerous blood draws (any where from 2-11 vials), a psychological evaluation, colonoscopy, chest x-rays, etc. None of which were painful, but did require some time commitments, which I was able to accomplish around my work schedule, so missed very little work.
At one of my first blood draws, the phlebotomist told me she thought I was ‘crazy’ to donate, and that I should look into it more, including hearing others’ experiences. That’s when I found this website and began reading other peoples’ experiences. There was nothing that scared me off, and in fact, one story, Chad’s, expressed almost entirely what my feelings were about the whole thing. In many ways Chad seemed to have the same lifestyle and outlook as me. (Read his experience.) Also, because of reading his account, I also found out my employer provided extended paid time off for organ donation. At this point I was 100% committed, my kids were in agreement, and with enough prayer and reflection my wife was on board as well.
Throughout the entire screening process I was often reminded I was under no obligation and could change my mind at any time. I was also afforded the opportunity to choose the recipient. With thousands on the waiting list, each I’m sure with ‘a story’, there was no way I felt qualified to make that decision. The transplant was scheduled for a Monday in July 2009, and on the Friday prior, the recipient and I were scheduled for a final blood draw at the same time and place. With our mutual consent we met one another, but if either had said no, the facility would have accommodated us and made sure to keep us apart.
The surgery and recovery for me were mostly uneventful. Nine days post op I set out on the first of two long road trips feeling fine, but with normal lifting restrictions and directions to stop and move around frequently to prevent blood clots. By the time I returned to work and ever since, I have felt great. There was some concern over my remaining kidney function, but by the grace of God that is resolved. (An account reserved for another format) My only regret: having only one kidney to give.