Friday, July 17, 2009

Random Thoughts

I'm not very good at blogging. Any tree-dwelling chimp can post pictures, videos and songs to a web page and call it a blog, (see my other blog for evidence of that!) so I really envy those people who create organized, well written blogs with structure! My written thoughts are sporadic, lack substance and are not very well organized.

In any case, there are 2 reasons for this blogs existence. My original purpose for this blog was to keep track of the entire donation process, a place where I could document, (in as much detail as possible,) all the procedures, appointments and interviews I encounter during this journey. That way, when all is said and done, my experience might help some other potential donor navigate the donation process with a different perspective on what's involved.

The second reason is so that family and friends can follow my progress at their leisure. That being said, it should be noted that apart from my immediate family, only a very few of my friends know of my intentions as I don't want to be the center of attention in social gatherings. This may change once I get closer to a surgery date, but for now, this is how I am handling it.

Donating an organ is major surgery and I'm not walking into this blind. When I first started this process, I researched everything I could about living donation, from donor requirements to the hospitals that perform the operations. (I choose Toronto General Hospital because I believe they are the best in this country.)
During the testing, the most common statement I've heard from every doctor so far is related to pain...expect pain. Does this scare me? Not really, but I do have some concerns and fears.

The operation itself doesn't spook me, the transplant team is looking out for me, if they find a problem that makes me ineligible to donate, or if the risks to my health are too great, the testing stops. Besides, if something really bad happened to me on the operating table, it could shut down transplant program, and no one wants that. So I have complete faith in the TGH staff! As far as pain management goes, they have that covered with medications. I fully expect there will be discomfort as well, but that too will pass. The only real fear I have is the catheter! I just can't get past the idea of anyone jamming a plastic tube up my cock to handle my peeing function! Ahhh, the indignities of being a patient. Thankfully, they do it while you're out! Mind you, when they pull it out, you're awake! My only saving grace is I'm hung like a deer tick, so they don't have far to go...but still, ouch!

My only real concern involves possible future events based solely on a dream. My brother Rick and his wife Lisa have three boys. Ben, age 6, Josh, age 3 and Kevin, age 3 months. I love these kids and it would kill me if one of them ever needed a liver transplant and I was unable to donate due to the fact I already donated. I had a dream me and Rick were frantically searching through boxes looking for my liver because one of his boys needed it before he could go down a slide. Very weird dream.

So, why am I doing this? It seems we all take certain things in our life for granted. I for one go to bed at night knowing that when the sun rises, so will I. The vast majority of us go about our daily lives knowing we have a place to call home, we have people in our lives that love and care for us, and that bad things don't happen to us...bad things happen to other people.

Oh sure, we all get shit on from time to are lost, relations fail, colds and flu's set us back,...but for the most part, life is wonderful and worth living. Everyone should have that chance. At this point in my life, if I can help someone live a normal life, why shouldn't I?

This doesn't make me a hero, nor am I really saving a life here. Highly skilled doctors, surgeons and nurses however are. My role is merely providing the needed "part". So ends this edition of my random thoughts.

Consults x 3

Sorry for the lack of new posts here, I just didn't have any new news! On July 15th however, I headed off to Toronto General Hospital for my next three appointments.

9:30am This was my medical consultation with a doctor not affiliated with the transplant program. I was really expecting a gruelling head to toe physical , which was not the case! The doctor was great, he went over a bunch of my paper work and asked me lots of questions. He checked my blood pressure, asked about the medications I was on and just generally poked around. Turns out everything was good and he didn't see any problems. Now, I should mention there was a problem with my blood pressure reading, he checked it a few times but the reading was still off. I think there was a problem with the machine itself but I promised him I would get it checked. He wished me well and sent me on my way. Total time about an hour and a half.

12:00pm Up to the 8th floor for a psychiatric consult! Now, all along I really had no idea what to expect at this meeting, so to be honest, I was kind of nervous before I went in. Turns out this doctor quickly put me at ease and we had a great little chat! She asked lots of questions, mostly about my decision to donate. Everything she asked me had no right or wrong answers, it's kind of weird and hard to explain......I left her office feeling pretty good!

1:30pm My last appointment on this day was with one of the transplant doctors. To my surprise, she was waiting for me at the reception counter. Super nice doctor too! She went over my previous tests with me, checked out my abdomen and explained once again, in too much detail, what the procedure involved and what I could expect in the days leading up to, and after the donation. At one point in the meeting, this doctor was called away for a few minutes by my transplant coordinator to check on another patient, so she stayed with me and we chatted for a bit. I voiced my concern again about the 'fatty deposits' that turned up on my abdominal ultrasound. Surprisingly, she didn't seem all that concerned and convinced me not to worry. End result is they will do a liver biopsy to find out for sure. Also, they have added my MRI to be reviewed again on Tuesday to assess right vs left lobe donation. When the doctor came back in, she talked a bit about my medical history and noticed that I was never vaccinated for Hepatitis 'B'. Wow! She also gave me a prescription for something to help me with a sinus infection that I was having trouble with. She made some notes and I was assured more tests would be booked and that so far, everything is good and I'm still very much a candidate. As I left the office, I let out a huge sigh of relief, there is light at the end of this tunnel!