I can’t think of many things in my life that have brought me as much satisfaction as this journey to be a kidney donor.
I remember when I was pregnant, I would sit and put my hand on my belly and just feel the new life inside in me. I could sit that way for ages, just feeling the baby.
I kind of feel that way now, as I think about donating my kidney. I know that I am giving health to someone, or at least a good chance at health. I am going to change their life in a major way, improve their quality of life. My mind wanders to it during the day and I pause and think about it, and it is a joyful feeling, that I can help someone.
And in the meantime, as I start to tell people this, they keep talking to me about what a good thing this is, and what a sacrifice it is, and what a nice person I am. On the whole, I am getting so much positive feedback it is frankly a bit embarrassing.
The sacrifice part is coming yet; I haven’t had the operation, or lived with the risk, or started living with one kidney. It’s sort of like being pregnant…I loved feeling the baby inside me, but the baby did have to come out at some point, and that was painful. I haven’t faced the labour part of the kidney donation.
But then the comparison between giving birth and kidney donation breaks down because labour was such an unknown thing, and I was worried as to whether I would do a good job. Giving birth is very much of an effort, a time of concentrated hard and painful work. Kidney donation is so much more passive; I just lay there and they wheel me in, put me to sleep, and they do all the work. The labour comes in having to deal with the pain and the scars and the healing time.
But then the analogy works again. Having a beautiful baby in the world makes the bleeding and the pain bearable, it’s all worthwhile. In the same way, knowing that somewhere in the hospital somebody’s body is starting to be healthy again, someone is starting to be able to pee again probably after years of not peeing, and they are starting to be able to feel better and have freedom…what is a few days of pain in comparison to that?