After passing the "first round" of tests I was ready to move on to the next set. The next test is a scan of my anatomy to be sure everything is normal, it would be easy to remove, size and the blood vessels origin, etc etc. This is where most people end their journey of trying to be a donor. I scheduled my CT scan and truly couldn't wait. This of course was nerve racking because if I wasn't aligned right, I wasn't going to be donating.
I went in and was escorted to a huge white room with a huge machine. I had the greatest nurse, and I wish I would have caught her name to give her credit. She was a sweet mother of three boys and had a little guy close to my daughters age. Anyway, she had me change into one of those AWESOME hospital gowns that are soo flattering on everyone. I was laid down on a metal table situated into a specific placement then she gave me an injection of dye in one of my veins. This dye runs through all the vessels, veins, arteries, anywhere where blood goes. It makes you feel warm all over and it makes you feel like you pee yourself. Weirdest feeling ever! (And I was worried I peed myself haha)
My wonderful nurse assured me that it was just how the dye makes you feel and that it makes everyone think that they peed on the table. As I laid on the table a giant doughnut shaped machine was circling around me and the table was moving. This machine creates a three dimensional image on my anatomy and my blood vessels. The dye creates a contrast in blood vessels so they become more visible than without it. The information from the anatomical evaluation is critical to the surgeon for determining which, if any, of your kidneys is best for donation. Generally, the left is preferred because of its longer renal artery but if there were structural complications for the left they would look at the anatomy of the right kidney.
After my CT scan and changing into my clothes I headed over to receive an X-ray. I believe the X-Ray was just to follow up with the CT scan in verifying anatomy. Once I finished with my round two of tests all I could do is wait. Wait for them to call me and tell me if all was a go or not.
Fortunately, within a few days, I was called to say I passed round two. I couldn't even tell you how ecstatic I was. I scheduled my visit with Dr. Burrows and more blood labs. Not too long after scheduling I was heading back down to Hoxworth Blood Center, right by Children's, to let them draw more blood. Along with being there to have a blood draw they also had me see their physician whom is set up for potential donors, Dr. Burrows.
When I went in that morning they performed a physical exam including blood testing (cholesterol, blood count, creatinine, urea, etc.), blood pressure, height, weight, BMI calculation, personal medical history, family medical history, prescription drug use, substance abuse, smoking history, alcohol intake, history of mental illness and treatment, kidney history (stones, injury, etc.), chest x-ray, electrocardiogram, and testing for viral and bacterial infection (HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, herpes, tuberculosis, etc.) Yes, it was a long, fun day. I think the test for TB stuck out the most. I went in on a Tuesday and they stuck me with what they use for the TB testing, it creates a little bubble under the skin and stays like that. I went in two days later and they checked if there was any sign of a reaction. Mine was negative so Vincent doesn't have to be given medication to prevent him from exposure but that little bubble under the skin was so strange!
On top of all my physical tests, they do a psychoanalysis. They want to be sure you're aware of what happens in this kind of procedure and of course, that I'm doing it for the right reason. Now, I do understand that most 20 almost 21 year old young adults don't consider doing anything like this, USUALLY. But I do believe that they should give me the benefit of the doubt that I do want to do this from the kindness of my heart. I'm sure I heard "are you sure you're not doing this for money" more than an adult donor because I am so young and this is life changing and I'm sure they had their doubts. But finally after repeating myself time and time again, "I'm doing this because I want to do this. I'm not doing it for money or for any other reason but to give him a chance at life that he hasn't had yet. Everyone deserves a chance at living life to the fullest and I have what he needs."
**Happy Mother's Day to All the Mommy's out there!**