Tomorrow I’ll have lots of updates about my pre-op appointment, but I met the recipient’s family today and I wanted to update you all about that.
I mentioned I reached out to the recipient’s mom, and a couple of weeks ago we set a date to meet today. When we set up that time, the recipient’s mom told me that before she knew who the donor was, she asked her daughter if she would like to know who her donor was. She said that she wanted it to be a surprise for after surgery, so it would be like a present. So my wife and I met just the recipient’s parents today at a diner for brunch.
I, for one, had a really nice time. We had our brunch and continued talking for a few hours. Of course we talked about the upcoming surgeries, and about my experience in the donor process, and about the recipient. What I didn’t know was that she was born with stage 5 kidney failure, after a little while it improved to stage 4, where she stayed until fairly recently when she regressed to stage 5 again. It turns out the timing of the surgery and my approval as a donor is perfect, because before I was approved, the family was talking to the doctors about starting dialysis. Now, the recipient won’t need dialysis, because in less than a week she’ll have a new, functioning kidney!
We also talked about other things as well ranging from sports, to where we grew up, to our jobs. It was really nice to meet them, and I had a great time talking to them. But meeting them also made everything feel more real. For me at least, it usually doesn’t really hit me that big events are happening until they’re happening, like a big trip, moving, or like when I went away to college. Meeting the recipient’s parents made everything a lot more real for me. But learning more about them and what the recipient has gone through for her entire life only solidified my decision to donate that much more. At one point during the conversation, they mentioned the recipient has to be on a very strict diet, which I didn’t know (but makes sense). Her parents told me she has a long list of foods she wants to eat after surgery that she has never or hasn’t been able to eat in a long time, including chocolate. At that moment I thought, wow, I am giving an 11 year old girl the ability to eat things like chocolate, and the ability to make it easier to enjoy life. Like I said, it only made me more resolute in my decision to donate. It also made me incredibly thankful that I am able to do this in the first place.