This week has already almost come and gone...
On Monday I had an appointment with a Independent Donor Advocate, Social Worker, and Transplant Hepatologist. The day went pretty much as expected (which I wasn't expecting too much).
The Donor Advocate was very nice, although I'm not quite sure her role, needless to say she was nice to chat with for a little bit. She also tossed on me some pictures of "Living Donor's" surgery incisions and drains...nothing too gruesome but I guess to put a face to my potential reality here in the future. I wasn't all that concerned to be honest, it is what it is.
The Social Worker was also very nice, soft spoken lady, whom I guess is there to help me through pretty much whatever. Yet again, not to sure of her role either as I don't have any insurance so I don't foresee any battles she will need to fight. She did inform me that while I'm in hospital I should be able to collect disability (why not, I've paid into it...might as well use it in a time of need). She also had a slew of questions for me, basically going over all my whole history. From how my childhood was to what drugs I've done and everything in between. I myself have filled out this similar questionnaire a few times now. Just another item on the list they need to check off I suppose.
I moved onto my Hepatology appointment, this appointment I was extremely nervous for, as I assumed he was going to tell me if anything was wrong with my anatomy and/or if I was approved to donate. Needless to say, I got no such answers from this appointment. The Dr. was really nice, very personable to be honest...I believe he sensed my disappointment when he told me he had none of my test results in "his" computer system, but this was only after he was asking when I was due to do my testing from which I already had done weeks ago...long and short the left hand was not seeing eye-to-eye with the right hand. It was bound to happen again, as disappointed I am/was that day, its to be expected as I have yet to see any hospital let alone a center the masses of Stanford not have issues with everyone being on the same page. The Dr. was encouraging and said he could see that I was not interested in hearing the "bad" things that could come of me going into this operation, as he realized its for my son and I would do anything to make him better. Was really a breath of fresh air, just him being personal with me and ultimately understanding where I was coming from really excused the other stuff and I left somewhat disappointed but not entirely, I really appreciated his candor.
Today was my Psychiatry appointment, yet another item on the list of things that make living donation proper? This is the one that probably irks me the most. I really don't see how/why this is necessary...the bottom line is this is about science, I have willinglyvolunteered my organ for my son. As long as the chemistry checks out, labs are good, and it will work properly there is really no need to determine my mental state. The truth of the matter is, this is stressful and anyone who states otherwise is well probably the one in need of the psychiatry appointment. The mental state of anyone like me in my shoes is not 100% sensible at the moment but does this make us a mental liability? I'm sure plenty of folks go to these people and blow all sorts of smoke up the Dr.'s you know what and to be real about it I thought about it and realized there is no reason for it, I just need to be who I am...after all, there is no reason to be otherwise.
I was asked a whole slew of more questions and even more about my personal life, my behaviors in the past, if I had used drugs, If I had ever been depressed, and if I'm mentally ready/prepared for whats to come. Sticking to what I know I explained in detail about every question that was asked...I have nothing to hide and I actually find this amusing b/c it really has no bearing on anything to do with knowing that I'm a suitable donor for my son. Isn't this about saving my son's life? Why do I need to talk about why I was depressed when I was 18 over a girlfriend whom broke my heart? Is this really an ideal way of spending ones time and insurances money? I just don't get it, why do I have to pass some sort of personality test in order to be fit to have surgery? I explained myself and my actions as a kid, young adult, and reiterated that nothing anyone can say or do would make me feel otherwise about this OPPORTUNITY to help save my son's life right now.
I can't help but feel emotionally drained by the process. Thus far I have gone to 3 appointments on 3 different days, totaling 18+ hrs of time, 600+ miles of driving, and I still have no answers on "IF" I'm suitable to be a donor. This is the most frustrating part about all this. The shear amount of different folks involved I'm sure makes for a nightmare of getting everyone on the same page but I just don't think anyone on the other side thinks about what I go through, how hard it is for someone like me to be holding onto this "HOPE" and I just wish they would realize that its all we have and if they could be more organized, more communicative, we the "potential donors" would be a lot better off and could finally relax a bit and somewhat be at peace with what is next to come.
I'm ready for this phase to be over, I will drive as many hours as needed, travel as many miles are necessary, and will jump through whatever hurdles they put in front of me...I just want to know that I get the privilege to attempt to save my son's life. Time is running out and patience is running thin, they don't owe me anything but they owe my son a better life and I'm right here waiting/willing to give mine for him.
But instead we sit here and wait...