Neil: Transplant talk

We have all been to the hospital to talk about transplants. As we waited in the windowless reception area with all the ill people we soon felt pretty depressed.  We met the living donor transplant co-ordinator and had lots of questions for her.

I had the initial screening tests. You have to have good blood pressure and a body mass index no greater than 30. I was fine on these, and on the urine test.

I can now go on to the transplant assessment day, which does take all day. I will get blood tests for various viruses, creatinine clearance tests, a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) test using a radioactive tracer, an electrocardiogram (ECG), chest X-ray, renal ultrasound and computed tomography (CT) scan. This will ensure that I am healthy enough to donate a kidney, check that I actually have two kidneys, and confirm how many arteries my kidneys have, to decide which kidney would be removed. A significant proportion of potential living kidney donors are rejected after these tests. If you are rejected then whatever health problem you have has to be monitored by your GP.

The good news is that Jasmine is a universal recipient, and so can accept kidneys from any blood group, and would have a reduced waiting time for a cadaver kidney. It also means that Ruth could be a potential donor in the future when Jasmine’s first graft (kidney transplant) fails. All the statistics are at uktransplant.

All kidney harvesting is done with the hand-assisted laparoscopic nephrectomy technique. This gives reduced recovery times and smaller scars, and is supposed to allow the kidney to be harvested just as well as the open technique. I would be in hospital for a week, and have to take it very easy for some time afterwards. I would be on morphine for 24 hours, then the strong paracetamol for a week, and weaker paracetamol after. I will have to keep the wound clean, and go for a check up after four weeks, to keep an eye out for hernias. I would have a check-up every year for the rest of my life.

Potentially, my kidney would then be taken across London to Jasmine in Great Ormond Street Hospital and she would be in hospital for a week or more. We would then have to take her in every day for six weeks for blood tests. We would also have to monitor her fluid balance, replacing any fluids she loses to ensure that the kidney is fully hydrated. We keep being told that this will be very stressful, and I’m sure it will be, but we already do a lot every day, and we wouldn’t have to do any dialysis, and Jasmine’s vomiting should improve straight after the transplant. We want to get Jasmine a kidney as soon as she is big enough to accept one so she can get growing and have more energy.

After many hours in the hospital we were totally stressed out. We went down to a pub on the Thames for some lunch and I had a pint to steady my nerves…

One Response to “Neil: Transplant talk”

  1. Jill Winslow says:

    scay and exciting all balled up into one! She will stop the vomiting and the no machine hook ups free you to live life beyond dialysis, it is a blessing! Look into the laprascopic for children under five, its a debatable issue…one that my surgeon and nephrologist did not see eye to eye on. Glad to hear that even though the thought of transplant is scary, you are making the leap. It is a huge change in quality of life!