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Friday, May 20, 2011

Alphabet Soup

It’s May 20, the day before some religious nutjobs are saying that the world is going to end. I can't say that I'm worried (Matthew 24:36).

Frank Zappa said that it isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia. Religious prophets notwithstanding I bring you paperwork.

The first thing I needed to get together was an authorization for release of medical records. These are the things that the hospital are interested in. Physical results, colonoscopy results, exercise stress tests, and if you’re a woman, mammogram and pap smear results.

Next is the kidney donor questionnaire. The usual suspects are there such as height and weight. There’s also, not surprisingly, a short section about your kidneys. Have you had any kidney problems? Ever had blood in your urine? Any history of heart disease?

Recipient info? Well this is the part I couldn’t fill out so instead I just wrote “Surprise me!”.
Another question was "nationality". This part surprised me a little. When researching donation resources I stumbled across a website that matched donors. I was very surprised to see that some recipients preferred other Americans or specific nationalities. Really? Your life is being saved and you want to know if someone is the same nationality as you?

Other questions I had to give some thought to.
“Have you discussed kidney donation with your family?”
Answer: Yes (Reality: No)

“If yes, are they supportive of your decision to donate?”
Answer: Yes (Reality: I don’t care)

I only say this because, while I am from a large family, I left home at an early age. I don’t have children and my love life has always been an absolute flaming pile of wreckage, so really it’s just me in this world. Being apart from my family and that environment for almost 30 years, I have almost nothing in common with them anymore.  I would never let them sway my decision about this or even decide my burial for that matter. (“Cremation” is the answer to your question).

Then there’s the tough question: “Why do you wish to donate a kidney?”. I was given 4 lines, which is nowhere near enough,  to answer it. The reasons are numerous, but the biggest is the simplest and most glaringly obvious. I have two of something and I can live perfectly fine with one. If the other could save someone’s life then why wouldn’t I donate it? It isn’t as if the science behind transplants is suspect or experimental anymore.

Amazingly if you sign up for the military and agree to go off to foreign lands to kill people, everyone wants to commend you while offering to give up a piece of yourself to save someone’s life is looked upon as being ridiculous.

Ever think that maybe our priorities are a little screwed up?

Lastly, the hospital needed a clinical documentation of my blood type which I duly requisitioned. In my case it’s A positive. “BAG”, “HGB”, “HCT”, “MCV”, “WBC” and a whole cornucopia of other indecipherable acronyms were on the form indicating various measurements of things in my blood, presumably all of which were ok. Not being a doctor nor staying in a Holiday Inn Express last night means I'm just in the dark about some things.

Staring at the list of acronyms, I never would’ve guessed that in my veins was not blood, but alphabet soup.

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