Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Decline of the UCSF Transplant Clinic

Let's take a little trip down the Transplant Memory Lane shall we?

In May of 1983, while everyone was thrilling to Reaganomics and standing in line for the fifteenth time to watch "Return of the Jedi" I was preparing to receive a kidney from my amazing Mom, heretofore known as Amazing Mom. The staff always spoke calmly and clearly but never down to me. Everything was explained in hopes of delineating my impending fear.

Once the transplant was concluded and I was fortunate not to have any complications, I remained under the staff's care for three more uneventful weeks.

My memories from that time at UCSF were pleasant and one day I will compose my experiences so future generations of End Stage Renal Disease patients may learn how to deal with a child undergoing such an ordeal.

Flash forward to January of 1996. Bill Clinton is about to begin his eight year rein of booming economic expansion and closing of important and strategic military bases. The internet was about to explode with unbrideled information and sticky porn. My sister, who will heretofore be referred to as Amazing Amos (her given name is Amy, big brother's are allowed to give nicknames) volunteered to donate to her brother this time.

The frightening difference over those twelve and a half years is startling.

The nurses were rude and short. Any request was answered with a sigh and a huff. The doctors only referred to me as "The Patient."

All the care and kindness had evaporated, replaced by a level of unprofessionalism unseen in my medical travels since.

We travel once again through the boundaries of time and space to nearly four years ago. May 16, 2004 to be exact. My first day of Dialysis along with my first day on the vaulted Transplant List.

Once in 2005 and again in 2006 I attempted to contact the UCSF Transplant Clinic in an effort to make sure my information was updated and that I could be contacted. I had moved again and possessed a shiny new cell phone.

"Why are you calling?"

"Well, um, I wanted to make sure you had my updated contact information."

"But WHY are you calling??"

"I just told you."

"Please hold."

You've got to be kidding me. Then the line hung up on me. This didn't just happen once, but twice as I called again a year later.

Today I received a letter from the heralded UCSF Transplant Clinic asking for a number of tests to be conducted.

Do you mean the SAME TESTS I DID FOUR YEARS AGO??

Why yes, those would be the ones.

I'm so dismayed and indifferent to these people now. My enthusiasm for ending my Dialysis tether is nearly muted.

I would really like to learn when UCSF turned from a wonderfully compassionate leader in transplant surgery to the lifeless behemoth it has become.

Much like in 1996, I'm once again a number to be shuffled through the system, tossed aside once my transplant fails.

The worst part is, I have no recourse. This is my only option.

Fortunately, the next kidney transplant will be from someone outside my family so they don't have to endure the humiliation that comes with giving your life to this once proud hospital.

You're right. Maybe I'm wrong.

Losing Faith in that which you once held in such high esteem is unbearably painful.

And so will enduring another kidney transplant at the UCSF Transplant Clinic.

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