After my visit with the doctor, I saw the registered nurse who is the transplant co-ordinator. I was able to ask a bunch of questions about this process. My first question was how they were going to get my kidney from point A to point B, namely, from Hamilton to Toronto.
I was surprised to find that the Ontario Provincial Police provide this service. He said local police officers might take the kidney to the highway, or pick it up from the highway and take it into the city, as the OPP don’t have jurisdiction in the cities. He said that if the traffic is particularly heavy, or there are big accidents on the highway, they might even take it via police boat to Toronto, and avoid the traffic entirely.
Well I’ve never ridden in a police car before so this will be a first. At least part of me gets to ride in a police car! I will have to tell my husband to look out the window towards the end of my surgery and see if he can see an OPP car having a box loaded into it!
This Paired Donor Exchange program is a national program, run by Canadian Blood Services. I asked whether all the rest of the people in the chain are at the Toronto General. The co-ordinator didn’t give me much information, but he did say that they are not all happening in Toronto. They could be happening anywhere across the country. He said that they like to have the donor and the recipient in the same hospital, and the same doctor moves from one patient to the other, first taking the kidney out and then putting it in. The recipient usually has priority, and the donation is done at their local location, so donors travel. (Except in my case where my kidney is being transported to the recipient.)
He also told me that the person who receives my kidney will not know that it is from an undesignated donor, although all the people in this chain know that it is being made possible by an undesignated donor. They call it a domino donation, started by the undesignated donor.
Oh, and did I mention that I had to fill out another nine page questionnaire about my health! I definitely could recite this in my sleep!