Adventures of a Kidney Donor

April 9, 2011

Great Advice

Earlier I wrote about Tom Walter and Kevin Jordan. Tom is the Wake Forest University baseball coach who gave a kidney to one of his players, Kevin Jordan.  Tom gives five great tips for kidney donors.

Tom is doing great post surgery! He was back to work after ONE week. He must be in great shape. Kevin has already returned with his teammates to the field and threw out the first pitch in a game. He should be playing baseball this summer.

Here are Tom’s tips:

1 Educate yourself about the process.
The surgery is much less invasive than it used to be, since kidneys are removed laparoscopically in most transplant centers today. As a result, the recovery time is generally much quicker.

2. You can opt out, if necessary.
Understand that at any time during the process if you decide that you cannot go ahead with the donation, it is possible to opt out. Your recipient will be told by the medical professionals that you are not a match. This way, you don’t have to worry about letting the potential recipient down. Some people are scared to volunteer but knowing that it’s possible to opt out at any time if necessary may make them more willing to begin the process.

3. Know that the doctors look out for the donor’s health.
They absolutely will not let you donate unless they are confident that it won’t affect your life or health adversely. Kidney donors are very healthy people. You won’t get to the end of the donation process if there are any concerns about your health. Your team of doctors is dedicated to you and to ensuring that you’re going to live a perfectly normal life post-donation. They are completely separate from the recipient’s doctors.

4. Make sure to take care of yourself.
If you’re thinking about donating, proper diet and exercise are essential. I was in great shape and I watched what I ate beforehand. I think that’s one of the reasons I feel so good post-surgery.

5. Remember that this can be the most rewarding experience of your life.
The simple fact of restoring someone’s health through your donation is an incredible opportunity. I am so glad I did it and know that this act will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation

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