Many people facing Renal Failure have two choices, dialysis or transplant. Unfortunately, some will go on dialysis prior to a transplant and some will be able to avoid dialysis and receive a transplant. Finding a donor isn’t easy as one might think. Navigating all of the donor programs can be overwhelming not to mention thinking about the fact that you need an organ transplant. This can take an emotional toll since it is never easy to come to terms with renal failure.
We can find ourselves in a battle field like state where we are just trying to find a donor fast and get the surgery done as soon as possible. We are in survival mode and that can bring a lot of unwanted stress with it. However, if we educate ourselves, ask the right questions and be proactive in finding a donor we will be better equipped to handle that emotional roller coaster.
Find a person willing to donate a kidney has its challenges, the myth that the donor can’t change their mind is one reason why people are afraid to donate. The fact that the donor has the right to change their mind doesn’t sound to the recipient very promising either. However, we have to remind ourselves that the donor is doing this out of the kindness of their heart and that it is rare to have a donor change their mind at the very last minute.
Now let’s look at when a donor changes their mind weeks or months in advance of surgery. Of course, feelings of anger, disappointment, frustration and devastation will arise and that is only natural. I remember having friends volunteer to donate only to turn around and change their minds. Yes, I was devastated and disappointed, riding this emotional rollercoaster where you feel so happy and thankful that someone comes forward and wants to donate only to have them change their mind and feel completely hopeless. I didn’t stop being friends with these people, I understood that organ donation is a major life decision. I learned that not everyone I know will jump up and donate. I also learned what to expect when asking, I didn’t get my hopes up simply because the person would consider it. I understood that this was decision that can’t just be made in haste. I was grateful when someone considered it and understanding when they declined. I was grateful when I did receive a living donor kidney and am grateful each and everyday.
When asking a person to become a donor simply state your situation and give the person information on how organ donation works. The more information the potential donor has the more informed decision they can make for themselves. It’s also helpful if they talk to their family about it first as this is a major decision that involves not only the potential donor but their loved ones as well. The best way to do this is by having a family meeting where the donor shares with their family the decision they have made or what they are considering to do. Each family member should be allowed to express their thoughts on the decision and plan accordingly if the donor does indeed go through with the organ donation.
As for the Recipient, knowing that not everyone can or will donate a kidney is important. If we assume the person, we asked will for sure donate without conformation from that person first, we set ourselves up for an emotional roller-coaster ride we don’t want to be on. Not to say that no one will donate, some people will consider and agree and some will consider and decline. We shouldn’t be judgmental as to why someone might decline as that can cause conflict in the relationship we have with that person.
The Takeaway here is;
1. Give the potential donor information on organ donating so they can make a well-informed decision.
2. Have understanding that not everyone you ask who considers it will donate.
3. When asking explain your situation and if that person can’t donate then have them ask someone they might know.
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