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Author Topic: Guilt and obligation.  (Read 1413 times)

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Offline santania1147

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Guilt and obligation.
« on: March 09, 2018, 01:00:06 AM »
I am 19 years old. My parent was an avid alcoholic and after many many MANY long years their liver has finally gave out and they were added to the transplant list. The place we go to accepts live donors, and at first I never even considered it, but now it haunts me all day everyday.

I feel because they are my parent I have to. And a part of me wants to, and knows I should, but I am a hypochondriac myself and I am terrified and I know I wouldn’t handle it well mentally. We are not close with any other family and none of my parents or I have any friends to ask. I suffer pretty bad from anxiety But some days I feel like I’m just making excuses for myself to not do it... I know the guilt will burn me alive the rest of my life but I cannot bring myself to get tested. I’m not asking for sympathy but I just want to know opinions... Any advice at all would help. Thank you..

Offline Fr Pat

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Re: Guilt and obligation.
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2018, 06:42:15 AM »
     I am a kidney donor (16 years ago), but I have met, and read about, many liver donors and liver recipients. Living liver donation is a much more serious operation than kidney donation, with a much higher risk of complications and hospital re-admissions. So it is quite wise, I think, to be concerned about the dangers and one's abilities to handle such anxiety. That does NOT make you a bad person! It is admirable that you even THINK about the possibility, because many people (even family members) would not even dream about it. But living liver donation is not for everybody.
     Please keep in mind also that you are not the ONLY hope for your parent. I have met many persons who received a liver transplant from a deceased donor and are now doing fine. In some parts of the country the waiting list is long, and not all patients can survive until one becomes available. But you CAN help by encouraging as many people as possible to sign their driver's license or card giving permission for one's organs and tissues to be transplanted after death. Many people do NOT sign, and so many organs are thrown away in the grave or cremation. (Have you yourself and other family members signed your licenses?) The more organs available from deceased donors, the shorter the waiting list.
       It may also be important to see if the parent managed to stop drinking. There are people who destroyed their livers through alcohol abuse, received a transplant, and then went right back to drinking and endangering the received liver. There is not much sense (in my opinion) in risking one's life and health to donate an organ if the recipient will just go and throw it away. Honest evaluation is needed.
     I hope some of these thoughts help. It is a terrible situation to be in.
               Fr. Pat

Offline sherri

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Re: Guilt and obligation.
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2018, 07:46:02 AM »

You are in a very difficult situation and my heart goes out to you. You are in no way obligated to donate to your parent especially given their history with their addiction to alcohol which led to their liver failure. there should be a social worker at the hospital who can help you work through this dilemma. You have very good insight into your own personality. you say you don't think you could handle it mentally and you suffer from anxiety. Nothing to be ashamed of! Donors have to be physically and mentally compatible with type of surgery. Some centers won't even consider young adults even though legally you can consent. You may find it beneficial (regardless of the transplant) to seek help from a psychologist or social worker. Very often these services are covered through your own insurance. they can help you with some therapy and/or medication if needed. I find mental health therapy to be extremely helpful. Always good to have a safe place to vent.

Please reach out here or other support groups for a listening ear.

All the best,

Living Kidney Donor 11/12/07

Offline elephant

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Re: Guilt and obligation.
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2018, 02:52:02 PM »
Dear Santania,

As a kidney donor to my Dad, I understand why you feel that you *must* be tested as a donor.  This is a part of our decision to donate, and I think it's important to recognize. 

Yu may not even be considered as a donor due to your youth and your intense anxiety.  Donors need to meet with a psychologist as well as a social worker to be approved for donation, to ensure we are emotionally healthy to withstand donation, including possible negative outcomes.

I agree with Sherri's advice - please seek counseling to help you understand your reactions to this situation.  Do this before you even consider volunteering for donor testing.

Love , elephant


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