#46. The blood doctor - March 2012

I had my appointment with the hematologist, the last appointment on the list!  It was a pretty short appointment, around 15 minutes long.  It was mostly a list of questions asking about everyone I’m related to, and whether or not they have had problems with blood clots.

The reason I was having this appointment was because my mother died of a blood clot, a pulmonary embolism that went to her lung.  She was recovering in the hospital after having her appendix out, and then just suddenly died.  This was in 1965.

The doctor said that what they are looking for is whether there is a family pattern of blood clots, because that is the best predictor of whether or not I am at risk for getting a blood clot.  Given that I have enough relatives who have never had any of these problems, he said that he is confident I am not a high risk to have a blood clot.  “The fact that your mother had a blood clot is tragic, but frankly, it’s not unexpected.  In the 1960’s they used to keep people lying in bed after surgeries, which was the way blood clots got started.  And they didn’t have the medication we have now to help prevent them.  Dying of blood clots after surgery was a lot more common then.”

So he gave me the green light for being a kidney donor. As I was leaving, he also commented on the fact that I am an undesignated donor, “On behalf of the medical system, I just want to say thank you for what you are doing, it’s a big thing for you to do, and it’s really cool.”