Monday, January 24, 2011

a day in the donating life

My day started at 2:30am, when I had to remember to pee in a cup for my 24 hour urine study. I had to remember again at 4am and then again at 6:40 - my official first pee of the day and the last of the study. I was then on the road uptown with my very heavy bottle, without having eaten as a glucose tolerance test was next on my agenda. I made it to the lab at 8:20, peed in yet another cup, and then was handed a bottle of an orange soda-esque drink to chug before giving blood. At 9:15 Mohammed drew the first vial and then again 3 more times on the quarter hour.

I crocheted a scarf. I read one of Jack's books. I talked to the revolving people who happened to sit next to me. I met a woman who'd had a transplant 6 years before and told me to not worry, be strong and all would be fine. Another shared the frustration of looking for sugar free food in Harlem. I heard about business calls and missed meetings and how much more efficiently the old lab worked.

At some point during the morning the social worker I'd met during my previous visit stopped by, asking if I had time to come up later and meet with their psychiatrist. I was sure the anxiety attack I'd had in her office was the red flag. That, anorexia, my family dramas . . . I'm thinking there were a variety of red flags to choose from.

I braved the 6 degree weather to find some post testing lunch, my hands shaking from hunger, not the cold as I waited for tea and a salad.

And then, I wait until 2 to be questioned. Turns out it was a team of 3 people waiting to speak to me although 2 didn't actually say anything. They nodded occasionally or shook their heads.

In the next 45 minutes we touched on much of my emotional and family history and I realized, as I answered queries and shared my past, that it often sounded insane. Truly insane. Even the head guy at one point pointed out the extreme drama and pain I've lived through.

Yes. I have.

Cancer. Divorce. Stroke. Anorexia. Emergency rooms and seizures. Psychiatric wards. Strained to the point of broken relationships. Anxiety. Kidney donations. Note: all of the above didn't happen to me but I lived through them in close circumstances.

I also overcame an eating disorder. Had 2 amazing children. Have been married for 22 years to an amazing person. I graduated from art school with honors after doing so miserably at ciollege the first time around.

I survived. I've gotten stronger.

And wiser.

And healthier.

I cried in the cab on the way home, hot tears slipping down my face thinking that a team of people would be judging me on the snippets they'd heard instead of me, the whole picture.

But then I realized that this is who I am. A sum of my parts. My emotional life is as much a part of me as my physical being. Could be my blood sugar is too high. Could be they deem me too neurotic to proceed.

It is what it is.

But I still know it will all work out in the end.


  1. i too am donating my kindey to a stranger please follow my blog
    i will be looking forward to reading how you get on too x

  2. Thank you for finding me - I think what you're doing is remarkable! I can't to read more about your journey too!