Monday, February 04, 2008

Four Painful Years and Counting

If you checked out my blog a little while ago you may remember that I railed against the UCSF Transplant Program due to their lack of enthusiasm for my presence on the Mysterious Transplant Waiting List.

It has been nearly two years since I've heard from their department. They had my address from three moves ago. Their response to my calling to update my files was, "Why are you calling?"

That's the kind of attitude you get from a know-it-all high school student whose Mommy and Daddy won't hand over the trust fund until they suffer in the private sector.

From what I understand in talking to numerous individuals is that the turnover rate in departments such as this is quite high due to burnout.

I guess I can understand that dilemma. Having to acquire the same information from people who don't always understand the process of gaining a kidney can be frustrating.

But finally, success!

I received a letter...actually two copies of the same letter, requesting three rather annoying tests.

1. TB Test

I haven't left the country, much less my neighborhood in the last six months. The chance of me possessing TB is quite minimal. They inject a little slice of God knows what under your skin and two days later see if it swells.

2. Blood in Feces Test

I remember vividly before my second transplant I became really sick due to an infection. The doctor had to check my rectum to check for blood. She asked me once, twice and then again asking what type of drugs I'm using.

Except for a little Vicodin love, I've never abused drugs. Never. Not even pot. I'm an old school nerd who grew up with too many health problems to even consider drug abuse.

After the third time I told her if she asked me again there would be trouble. She never said another word.

Getting a sample of my own feces is not something I do on a regular basis. I've actually developed quite a phobia to performing Number 2. So gaining a sample is no easy task.

I'd detail what this entails but the entire tale is quite taling.

Results are still pending, but I'm pretty sure this will come out okay.

So to speak.

3. Echocardiogram

Except for three different women in the last three weeks who had no desire to bask in the presence of your truly, my heart should be fine.

My workouts have been going smashingly (to quote a Dialysis friend of mine). Fifteen minutes on the Cross Trainer. Ten minutes on the Stair Master. Fifteen minutes on the Stationary Bike. Another twenty minutes on my best friend Mr. Treadmill. Some light weight training of every muscle group in the body.

Two years ago I had an Echo and surprised the entire staff. Since I'm on Dialysis I'm assumed to be sickly and weak. They hooked up all the necessary equipment and the started the treadmill. Faster and faster with a higher incline. I was sweating, but I wasn't breathing heavy.

I appreciated their shock. It proves that some days I'm kicking Dialysis square in the nether regions.

My only question for the Transplant Staff Member is concerning insurance. I have Medicare and insurance through my health care provider, so I'm wondering how much I'll have to endure financially to pay for the transplant.

To be perfectly honest, I had pretty much given up hope of every receiving a kidney. I figured I was doomed to life at Dialysis for the remainder of my days.

Given the chance to allow my thoughts to wander into the neighborhood of Kidney Transplant: the 2nd Sequel, I have a difficult time wondering what life was before I was tied to the Evil Machine.

I wouldn't mind finding out again.


  1. I went through all those tests, and more. I was then told that I probably wouldn't survive the operation and to resign myself to life on dialysis. I was also told that since I am over 50, diabetic and legally blind, even If I qualified for a transplant at all, I would be at the bottom of the list. I would get depressed except that I have spent time in hospitals and know just how much worse it could be. Keep smiling Stacy without an E.xixmt

  2. Thanks for writing John.

    You bring up something that my Dad said once that has always stuck with me.

    "No matter how bad you think you have it, somebody has it worse."

    Here's to the best for you John.