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Deweyneversaysdie t1_j4ta2ln wrote

My SO was nervous. They are more squeamish about medical stuff overall, though. They had a friend that was previously on the waitlist for a kidney for long time, so that gave them some perspective.

I did it after learning about how many people wait for years to receive something life-saving that other people have and don’t really even ever think about in their daily life. I was a blood donor and on the Be the Match registry, so I was already comfortable with the general idea of “giving up” part of me (I don’t feel this way, but that’s how many people talk about it.) When I researched paired donation and found out the potential impacts of the chain reaction, I was even more convinced it was the right thing to do.

I underwent extensive psychological screening and counseling as part of the process, but it seemed like donors that know the recipient undergo other/ possibly more to ensure they’re not feeling pressured, explicitly or implicitly, to do it.

It’s not something I bring up in conversation because I really didn’t do it for attention and I get pretty awkward with some of the extreme praise (“you’re someone’s angel”). I also don’t want to seem like I’m on a soap box or trying to guilt people by something I say. I’m more comfortable talking about it here because you’re all strangers and maybe even jerks, haha.

Here’s what I want to say when people bring it up:

I wish more people would consider it because it was pretty easy in the grand scheme of things and didn’t change my life much at all. I didn’t suffer or sacrifice much, but hopefully the recipient benefited greatly. It didn’t make me a better person. It just had the potential to make a stranger better (physically), and that’s what matters.

I appreciate that much of this thread has been about the process, not one person’s “gift.” It took me a few tries to convince myself to post, but I hoped others would be interested in reading more about organizations that handle paired donation, including the group I went through.

I think I saw that AMA but didn’t participate. I think a better AMA would be with one of the coordinators or surgeons that is involved in the process. They all meet so many people for a short period of time but treat everyone so great. (Like most others in the U.S., I’ve been conditioned to expect frustrating, impersonal healthcare).

Here are 2 quick examples:

I was in awe of how my donation coordinator handled so many different people and tasks, all with genuine care. At one point, I was a potential match for someone and had to travel to the center for advanced testing. It was winter and my connecting flight got cancelled. It was only a few hours away, so after I told her repeatedly I was okay with it, she booked me a rental car. She checked in with me throughout the drive, offered to make sure the hotel had a meal ready for me upon arrival, etc.

I travelled from out of state to donate and when one of the surgeons found out, they invited me to their house for dinner during the week I was recovering locally. It was a low-key family dinner and we didn’t talk about the surgery. I appreciated it greatly.

I’m sorry for such a lengthy response. Like I said, I rarely ever talk about it and I think this was a bit of a healthy release of thoughts I keep to myself. Thank you!