Yesterday was a long and tiring day at the Foothills hospital in Calgary for me as I started the Kidney transplant donor testing in earnest
The journey for Michelle and I to become transplant donors started a few months back as we know that our daughter will need a new kidney sometime in the new year. A few weeks ago the kidney transplant staff here in Calgary sent us each a health questionnaire and had us take a blood test. The questionnaire was just about 15 minutes to fill out and the blood test was just testing our blood type to see if it was a match for Taylor’s blood type.
After checking through everything the transplant crew decided that they would start with me as the donor and if I fail at any point then my wife would do the same testing.
Once the decision was made I met with our transplant doctor (actually one of three for kidney transplants) and he asked me a couple of questions about my health and was available to answer some questions for me. The only real questions that I had were wondering what the chance of being selected were (good but based on health and tissue typing), and what the recovery will be like for me (fast if laproscopic and longer if open surgery is needed). And after meeting with the doctor the adult transplant department got me a date for testing
Health Testing for Kidney Donor
Yesterday was a long day getting lots of tests. At this point we know that I am a blood type match and that I am willing to donate a kidney to my daughter but yesterday they started assessing my health and the viability of both of my kidneys so that I could have a strong kidney and also be able to give a strong kidney to my daughter.
I started by having eight vials of blood taken so that I could be tested for many diseases, if I was a carrier for any diseases this would make it difficult for my daughter to fight anything since she will be on antirejection drugs after transplant.
Next I had an ECG. An electrocardiogram takes just a minute to do but is critical. It shows the medical staff how good my circulation is as well as testing heart function.
After this quick test I had a diagnostic imaging test. This was actually the longest test that I had and involved a dye being injected into me and at the same time there were pictures taken of it running through my kidneys. This test took about 30 minutes and after that I had to come after two, three, and four hours to have blood taken to see how quickly the dye was being pushed out through my kidneys. This will help the doctors find out the clearing rate of my kidneys.
Finally after this was all done I had a CT scan to see the blood vessels and tissues of my kidneys to see how tough it would be to extract and how healthy they are as well. And quickly after that I had a couple chest X-Rays and I was let go to come home.
Long day to say the least but the staff at Foothills hospital were all fantastic, helpful, and really confident in what they were doing shuttling me through the different parts of the hospital and making sure that I knew what each test was for and what to expect.
Last night I have to admit I was feeling a little beat up. Mostly I think that all of the poking and prodding was bothering me but mostly all the chemicals that were put into me were just working their way through my system. Feeling great today though.
What’s Next for Kidney Transplant Testing?
So now that I had this massive day of testing I am not done yet. I still have to get a Tuberculosis test. I need to do a 24 hour urine collection to see how well my kidneys are clearing over a whole day. I also need to get another blood test done 2 hours after eating breakfast one day as well.
After this is all done, maybe before though Taylor and I will need to do a tissue typing test. This seemed complicated to me but in fact it is pretty easy. I give some blood and Taylor gives some blood and then they mix it all together and see if there are any antibodies from either of us fighting the others blood. I was explained that this mainly happens in people that have had a transplant or blood transfusion before but it is of course important to do anyway.
This whole process for us seems to be long and drawn out but it is important. The last thing we would want to do is a transplant that is not going to have the best chance of success. Actually we should have the results for all tests down withing the next 4 to 6 weeks so not to much longer to wait to find out what our next step will be.