Adventures of a Kidney Donor

July 23, 2011

Yep, I’m Scared

If I sound fearless in these posts I can assure you I am not!  As kidney time gets closer I am starting to feel some anxiety. It hits me at night (Oh my God, they are taking out one of my internal organs!) The other time it hits me is when I get blood drawn. I can’t look when they insert the needle and I think: “How am I going to have surgery when I can’t even look when they take a blood sample???” I have never been in the hospital, never had an IV (until I had kidney tests last year), never had stitches (except for a mole removal)…

I think I will have a few moments of terror as they wheel me down the hallway to the Operating Room. Jackie says you are knocked out before you go into the actual OR so that is good. They also give you a relaxing drug before you are anesthetized. I know there will be pain when I wake up. Several people have told me that they don’t know how much pain medication to give you until you wake up after surgery.  You get a button to press to give yourself pain medication through a pump–but there is a short interval between waking up and getting that going–YOUCH.

Major complications don’t usually happen but they include pneumonia, infection, hernia, bleeding, bowel obstruction, and bowel injury. Adrenal gland problems are rare but sometimes occur.  Some of the adrenal vasculature is altered during a nephrectomy. Usually the other adrenal vessels take over but there have been some documented instances of adrenal problems.

The biggest fear that I have isn’t so much about my pain etc. but thinking that my kidney may be rejected by the recipient. Rejection is less frequent now with the new medications but of course it is still a possibility. What a BUMMER that would be for the recipient and me. Since this is an anonymous donation, if the kidney is rejected right away I won’t know.  I won’t have to recover knowing that it failed.

Having said all of that, I still have no doubts about donating.  It is normal to have some fears before surgery. Dinner with Jackie the other night made me feel even more strongly that this is the right thing for me. She was talking about how her life is so much more free now without dialysis and how wonderful it will be that someone will be free like this after I donate.

My sister has a friend who donated a kidney years ago (via the open method not the laparoscopic method) and she has done very well. She told my sister to tell me her rules of three:  the first three days are rough, the first three weeks you recover, after three months it is like nothing has happened. So in spite of my fears, I know it will all be OK.

 Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation

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7 Comments »

  1. You are a superhero, Anne! I’m sure your kidneys are amazing, too–who could reject that? 🙂

    Comment by Carol — July 25, 2011 @ 8:33 am |Reply

  2. Thanks Carol!

    Comment by anne315 — July 25, 2011 @ 10:07 am |Reply

  3. Anne,
    Just donated to my dad 6 weeks ago and it went great!! i’m still getting there with my energy levels etc but the operation is absolutely fine with nothing to worry about- 1 min you’re being wheeled to surgery, the next…its all over- amazing!! Good luck

    🙂 Penny

    Comment by blondiepen — July 30, 2011 @ 10:35 am |Reply

    • Thanks Penny, what a great thing to do for your dad! Most of the experiences I read about are just like you said.

      Comment by anne315 — July 30, 2011 @ 11:22 pm |Reply

  4. Thanks Carol! This really helped me! 🙂

    Comment by Kris — October 23, 2012 @ 8:50 am |Reply

  5. Yep – I am scheduled to donate in 11 days, and I made that face while lying in bed on day 13! I cracked up when I realized the timeframe of this post to your surgery and when I had an “Oh mu gosh!” moment. Thanks for making me feel normal.

    Comment by Christie — August 18, 2013 @ 8:48 pm |Reply


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