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I have two kidneys

I was born in a hospital, but since then I've spent almost no time in one. Until Wednesday this week, when I achieved lots of exciting medical firsts. Don't worry, I'm healthy! Which is exactly why I'm finding out if I'm eligible as a kidney donor. I had blood taken for the very first time.. and then the second, third, fourth and fifth times. In between I was injected with something radioactive (GFR tests, to measure kidney function). I had a chest x-ray, an ultrasound (confirmed: I have two kidneys! Good to get that one checked before they bother with the rest), an ECG (when they stick little pads with wires attached all over you, and the output is a printed chart with squiggles on), gave them a urine sample, and tons of blood work. Besides finding out immediately that I had the right amount of kidneys, I'll get the results in a couple of weeks. In between blood tests I read a book in the sun in the hospital garden, which was very pleasant.

For the first blood test, I was helpfully distracted after they found out it was my first ever time having blood taken. Later on I found it more helpful to look at the needle than look away, so when it stung or ached I could see why (in one case, because she was wiggling it around a lot). It was also interesting to see the different ways different people took the blood. I have no idea why this is. One time, the person wiggled the needle a lot and pumped the uh.. the thing where the blood goes, and it took quite a while. The next time, a different person stuck the needle in a slightly different place and it spurted out really fast and was done in a couple of seconds.

Two days later, my right arm which had two needles in is bruised around the vein and a bit tender, and my left arm which had 4 needles is much less bruised. Not sure what variable causes that.

The sort of scariest part of this is that I might find out I have some condition or internal fault that I had no idea about til now.

The process is coordinated by someone with the job title 'Live Donor Coordinator', who is in charge of making sure the donors are well and of sound mind and that donating is the right thing for them to do. My one is very friendly and reassuring. They're very picky about taking healthy kidneys out of healthy people and won't do it if there's even the slightest chance of something going wrong.

I thought I'll post about this process, which lasts months, since it's a pretty novel experience for most people.

🏷 kidney donation life medical

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