I'm giving someone a kidney.
It's not for my best friend, it's not for a relative. It's for a woman I greatly admire, a woman who reminds me of me, someone whose family has made my family possible.
It has never occurred to me to not give her my kidney. People find that strange. I think even she might.
Surgery is scheduled for November 12th, and so far, my biggest concern is booking flights for my husband, son, and myself to Charleston, SC where the transplant will occur.
My OTHER big concern (OK, there are a few) is how our two families are going to pay for all the aftercare. She will have much different needs than I will, but the list of potential problems- the list of needs and can'ts- gets longer every time I start it. I'm sure it is the same- and lengthier- for her.
I was disappointed to learn that a donor (that's me) is barred from lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk for 4-6 weeks after surgery. It seems like my toddler drinks a gallon of milk a day. That means not picking up my son for 4-6 weeks. That's a tough one.
For her, there are endless doctor visits and medications- some to suppress her immune system to keep her body from rejecting the kidney. There are needs not yet realized. There are special meetings to find out just what those will be. Phone calls to insurance companies to hear what isn't covered. Another long list.
Both of us will need extra care at home, extra help with things we probably will hate admitting we need help with. I felt that way after my C-Section. Helpless, a burden.
I'm not sure why I'm writing this, except to say we will need some good juju directed our way. We may ask for help in various forms. Maybe you can bring one of us dinner (She's in SC, I'm in NYC.) Maybe you can watch our pets/child. Maybe you can make us mix tapes. Maybe you can spread the word about living kidney donation. We will be asking. We hope you will be open and willing to listen.
When it comes down to it, it's just a kidney. Most of us have one to spare. We just need a little help after we let it go.