#10. An uncommon act - October 2011

One of the things I notice in all the websites from hospitals, and in all the hospital literature I’ve been given, is that everyone assumes that you are related or are friends with the person you are donating to. There is nothing written from the perspective of someone like me, who just wants to donate. I asked  the transplant co-ordinator about this. She said, “It’s just not very common for people to be an undesignated donor. You are our…” and she stopped for a moment to think, “…our third undesignated donor.”  I wondered if she meant I was the third this year, but she said as far she could remember I was their third undesignated donor ever.

I was pretty surprised by that. I would have thought more people would do this. But then it’s not like anyone advertises that this is needed, or that there are people going around making presentations asking people to be undesignated donors.

What I have seen is advertisements about signing your donor card. That’s a good thing, and more people should do it, because it can save lives. But really, to me, it doesn’t seem like a really risky thing, considering that when you are dead you no longer need your kidneys! And there is a slim chance that you will die in a way that your organs can be used. Although I have heard that some people are squeamish about this, and don’t feel comfortable signing that card.

So being an undesignated donor is not yet a common thing. That’s why I decided to start writing this blog, so people can hear about the experience of being an undesignated donor.  I hope it will encourage others to think about this as an option. So many people are waiting for a kidney; they die on the waiting list, because there is no kidney for them.