The day my kidney failed the head doctor at the hospital ER, who I know because our daughters played on the same soccer team, was the one that told me my kidneys had failed. When he had finished with all the medical rational and possible treatments he stood back looked me in the eye and said, “I don’t want anyone to try to fool you but from this moment on your life will never be exactly what it was. You have an organ that is no longer working to keep you alive and you will need to go on dialysis and hopefully have a transplant. These are both treatments and not fixes; we can not fix this.” That truth and a little black humor really have helped me maintain perspective. I had cards printed that on one side introduced me as ‘Dead Man Walking’ on the reverse it gave information on how to register for organ donation. It only took 2,500 days to get a transplant (that’s 82 months) and with it I had hoped for renewed energy. The treatment is good; it just hasn’t given me back the energy I had.
Waiting so long for a donated kidney I had time to think about the whole process, at least here in Canada.
In practice, next of kin have final say in deciding whether an individual’s organs will be donated, allowing physicians to maintain a high level service with grieving families.
In contrast to this approach, many European countries follow a policy of presumed consent: people are presumed to have given consent to donate organs unless they actively decide to “opt-out” of an organ donation plan. The family veto option is informally applied in many cases.
Whether the default consent is presumed or informed has a significant impact on organ donations. On average, presumed consent results in donation rates roughly 20 to 30 per cent higher than informed consent.
The trouble with presumed consent is that the state appears to be coercing individuals, so it may not receive much public support. Better options to increase donation rates would be called “embedded request” or “mandated choice.”
So now we work on the heart with stints and possibly a TAVI (transcatheter aortic valve implantation), at least this way they don't have to open my chest. All we really want to do is get the blood flowing, in the right direction, to get back some energy.
Sure glad I retired at 42 so I had a little over ten years before all this started. Oh one other thing. Toadskuc means: Toads kiss until they croak.