Big Chunk O' Me, Part I: Performance Anxiety
This is my first multi-post story. It's a story so big, you'd be really bored if I told it all at once. So I'll bore you in smaller pieces instead.
It's the incredible journey of my left kidney into my friend's lower abdomen. It's a tale fraught with thrills, chills, spills, staples, pain, um... narcotics, .... um.... and lots of other stuff.
As you all should know by now, I'm a *very* humble person. So sharing this story with you is difficult because it goes on and on about how wonderful I am, you know, and selfless, and humble, and, oh, wait, I already said that... well, you get the point. But I'll just have to carry on, tell you the dramatic story of my personal bravery, and just accept that your opinion of me will change for the better, if that's even possible.
This story won't be balanced. It's kind of like the movie version of "The Princess Bride"... it just skips over the boring stuff and cuts to the stuff I find interesting. Or amusing.
(Holy crap. The post is already to the "people starting to tune out" length, and I haven't actually started talking about, you know, actually donating my kidney.)
OK, let's cut to the chase. 2003. Our longtime friend Corinna develops kidney disease. After a few months of processing this, and realizing how serious this has become in such a short period of time, my wife and I decide that we need to help. So we agree that both of us will start the process of seeing if either of us is an acceptable donor.
I call the transplant people, and tell them how my wife and I want to start the process. The lady suggests that one of us start first, and then if that person doesn't make it through, then we will go to the other. I suggest that I go through first, since I'm not working, and my wife is a nursing mother, and... well, OK, the fact is I really wanted it to be me and not my wife. I just didn't want her to have to go through it, as admirable as it was. So anyway, with my secret master plan in place, I enter the process to see if I'm compatible.
Blah blah blah. Blood test. Blah blah blah kidney ultrasound. Blah blah blah appointment with nephrologist.... blah blah blah.... BLOOD PRESSURE CHECK.
Ah, yes, the blood pressure check. In hindsight, it's easy to say what I've learned about myself. At the time it was a shock. What I've learned is this:
IF I'M HAVING MY BLOOD PRESSURE TAKEN FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF PROVING THAT I HAVE NORMAL BLOOD PRESSURE, IT MAKES MY BLOOD PRESSURE GO UP. Which does kind of defeat the purpose of demonstrating that my blood pressure isn't high.
Oh, and a note to the nursing staff in the nephrology department: TELLING ME TO HAVE A SEAT AND JUST TRY TO RELAX DOESN'T ACTUALLY MAKE ME RELAX. It's kind of like telling a person to sit in an empty room and not to think about a white horse. Sorry, just doesn't happen.
Talk about performance anxiety. Clearly, Ron Jeremy I'm not. (Yeah, sorry, you'll have to Google him if you don't know what I mean. However, if you don't know what I mean, that probably means that you shouldn't Google him either).
Long story short, they eventually determined that my blood pressure is actually pretty much normal.
And that pretty much does it. I win. I'm going to be a kidney donor.
Stay tuned. Part two is pretty disgusting.