Tuesday, August 31, 2010

happy, healthy blood

Let's review, shall we? So, as I mentioned in my last post, they have found a match for me. Yeah!  The match they located is from the UCLA Medical Center, in sunny California. Their transplant coordinator mailed me a blood kit and instructed me to get one more blood test that would then be shipped to CA for the final test to complete the match process.

My primary physician's office suggested I go to a blood draw facility, where they would be more familiar with this type of unique situation for a blood test. So, I did. Last Friday I promptly made the appointment for 7am Monday morning at the local LabCorp here in Schenectady, thinking it would be so convenient to pop in on my way to work and still not be tardy. Nope. Mr. Blood-draw Man suggested I take it to Ellis Hospital's Blood Draw facility for testing, where they would be better equipped and familiar to do this type of test. Do I sound like a broken record yet? 

I drive over to Ellis Blood Lab and Ms. Blood-draw Lady says, "60 cc's of blood? We can't do that here, it's too much."  Ok, so where do I go then, Ms. You're-Letting-Me-Down-and-My-Patience-is-Wearing-Thin Lady? She tells me to go to the main entrance of the hospital and they can do it there. I get in my car and drive to the hospital, park, and am now arriving to have this test 40 minutes AFTER I was supposed to have had my original appointment at 7am. I sign the sheet at the desk. Can I just say that I'm always hesitant to sign one of these when I'm still not sure I'm in the right place to get the service I'm there for. It's like standing in a customer service line for 20 minutes to have them finally call your name only to inform you that you're in the wrong line. Who doesn't love that?!

The administrative assistant at this lab was so nice, but she too suggested they might not be able to do this test here either. Really? Ok, I have an idea - give me the needle, I'll fill the vials, box them up, slap a FedEx label on it and drop it in the orange and purple box. I mean, how difficult could this be? You throw the phlebotomist a curveball by actually being prepared with a ready-made kit for this procedure and they look at you like you are asking them to fill the test tubes with chianti instead of blood. She eventually fills 7 vials with my happy and healthy blood and sends it off FedEx.

Now what? As always, I'm not sure. I think it gets mixed with the recipient's blood and then the smarty-pants technicians come out in their white lab coats and run some crazy mathematical formulas on it and bamm! - it's a go! At least I hope so. I should be hearing from my coordinator from Weill-Cornell within a week, which at that time she will inform me of the final results and if it's positive, a surgery date will be scheduled. This is an exciting time for me right now. Not excited as in... I just stumbled across a shoe sale at Macy's kind of excitement. It's more like the type of anticipation an expecting mom might be experiencing, or the butterflies that flutter in your tummy when you're waiting to hear about a job offer.

This journey is now becoming all the more real for me. It's really happening, and it's sneaking up on me quicker than I had imagined it would. I'm loving every minute of it, and I'm so anxious for that phone call to come to inform me that my kidney is going to be transplanted into another human's body. It's absolutely amazing to me to think that we have this ability to help someone by passing off an organ to them that was once our very own. I'm fascinated that something that is coming from my body will be able to provide a better quality of life for someone.

You can do this too, ya know! Just think about it, please? It's such a small sacrifice. The urine collections, the multiple blood tests, the x-rays and body exams, the phone calls and research are nothing. Nothing. If anything, I have found that during this time, I have gained so much information and knowledge about something that quite honestly, I never knew was possible. It's been so interesting to me, and I'm intrigued by the science behind it all. I am looking forward to the next step!

Until next time... summer is coming to a close very soon, enjoy these final days outside in the sun!