I donated my kidney to my father on June 29, 2017.
My father was 60 years old when he was diagnosed with kidney failure; and told that he was going to be placed on the transplant list and it would only be a matter of time before he would need dialysis. I'm a heart failure/heart transplant RN. Part of my patient population are on dialysis. I did not want that for my father and knew immediately that I wanted to donate. Not only was I saving one life, but by taking my father's name off the list, it would move someone else closer to their transplant. I would do it again in a heartbeat!
I work with the heart transplant team at one of the best hospitals in the city of Philadelphia. They were rated 16th in the nation. I have much pride, trust and admiration for the physicians, surgeons and nurses. I was also familiar with my surgeon, as a fellow RN was transplanted by him. The transplant team at my hospital were phenomenal at teaching, communicating and guiding me during the process. This all made it so easy and comfortable.
My father's insurance covered everything. My surgeon wrote me off from work for 2 months. Working at the hospital where the transplant was going to be done, gave me some great benefits. The fact that I was donating a kidney, the hospital paid a month of my salary, without having to take any of my sick or vacation. For the following month of FMLA, I used my sick time and 2 weeks vacation.
First week out of the hospital, I stayed with my parents at their home. My mom took care of both of us. But we were soon on our feet. The second week my 12 year old daughter and I went home. I have been feeling like myself ever since, just can't lift more than 10 pounds for 3 months due to risk of hernia.
As far as the process of becoming a living kidney donor, my work up was done over 10 months or so. First time, I had blood drawn, they took about 20 tubes. My tests were performed at my place of work, so it could not be anymore convenient. We were able to plan our surgery date, so being close to June and knowing I had 2 months to recover, I decided to make it for after school let out. Therefore I would be off all summer!
I had a great support system. Daughter, Mom, Dad, 2 Sisters, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Friends, Neighbors, and Coworkers.
My Mom and my Dad, both had a very hard time accepting this. Over and over again, I reassured them that it was going to be okay and that it was a great thing. I feel that by my positivity, my faith and having no doubts, helped them to get through this. My mom could have definitely had a nervous breakdown.
It is one of the single most honorable things you can do in this selfish world. One gift that can never be repaid, nor should it. The result of you're selfless act is life. A second chance at life, which you gave. Something forever to be proud of. You only need one kidney to live a full and prosperous life.
Being a living kidney donor hasn't changed my life. If anything, it has made me extremely happy that my father will have a better quality of life and a longer life. It will make me more health conscious. I don't drink enough water. But I am learning. I know I am using the bathroom many many times a day. I had to ask if that was a normal amount of times. Lol. Turns out that it is.
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania