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Archive for October, 2009

“I can’t bring about world peace, I can’t eliminate world hunger, but I can get one person off dialysis”, Dr. Susan Hou had said in 2004

I came across this article and it moved me so much I just had to share it.

What an amazing and wonderful person and her comments sum up totally the selfless person she is and her desire to help anyone she can.

Chicago based doctor Dr Susan Hou is  in India on the occasion of World Kidney Day on March 11. If you are wondering what’s special about Dr Susan Hou, it is the fact she saved her patients life in a true sense by donating her Kidney seven and a half years back . Dr Susan Hou would be speaking on renal disorders in pregnant women at an event organized by Tanker Foundation on Monday.

We have all known of family members or friends donating kidneys to one another.  But organ donations to unrelated patient was not really heard of.

Dr Susan Hou set up a noble example in this regard and proved that one need not be related to donate organs.

 “If we believe in the brotherhood of men, then there should be no second thought in donating your kidneys to anybody as no donation is unrelated,” Dr Hou explained.

Dr Susan Hou, an expert on renal disorders in pregnancy describes her transplant experience as great. Her husband Mark Moli, who is an expert doctor himself, was apprehensive about her decision but was fine post surgery. In fact every nephrologist should donate his kidney for the cause of health care, Dr Susan Hou noted.

It is not all roses with Kidney transplants. The donor’s intent and health condition is of utmost importance. The donor must not be suffering from cancer or any other infection. The donor’s kidneys should be healthy. Not many people are convinced of organ donation. “If we have the feeling a donor doesn’t really want to donate, then we tell them they cannot do it.” Dr Susan Hou said.

On Monday Dr Susan Hou was honored by Georgi Abraham, founder-trustee of Tanker Foundation. But one would be surprised to know that seven and a half years back her decision faced strong criticism. In a male dominated society that India is, there was a fear that women would be forced to donate kidneys to their husbands.

“I can’t bring about world peace, I can’t eliminate world hunger, but I can get one person off dialysis” Dr Susan Hou 2004.

What a noble and inspiring thought indeed!

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The kidney CT Scan appointment only took 30 mins and I was in and out in a jiffy. 

I had to make sure I was not wearing anything metal so necklace and bra came off. Trousers stayed on as elasticated instead of zipped.  So wearing t-shirt and trousers I lay down on the CT Scanner bed. It was explained to me that first of all they have to “plan” the scan. The scanner will take some x-rays to determine exactly where my kidneys are then the main scan will only scan that part of my abdomen instead of all of it – all clever stuff.  To do this I had my arms stretched out behind my head and about 7 times the bed passed through the scanner stopping over my abdomen. There was a little screen on the outside of it with two “pac man” type faces – quite amusing. This recorded voice would say “breathe in” and the little pac-man on the left would light up. He had his mouth partly open as though he was about to go chasing his lunch … lol … then a voice would say” hold your breath” and the little pac man on the right would light up. His mouth was closed and his cheeks puffed out! …. Holding of the breath lasted between 3 and 5 seconds, so hardly any time at all.  The bed you were on moved out of the scanner as the voice was saying “breathe” – you could see a countdown in seconds also. 

Have to admit when the bed first went under the scanner (check previous post to see image of the scanner, like a doughnut), I didn’t think it was going to stop until it had passed totally over me. Being rather claustrophobic I felt a bit of panic start, but then felt silly when it went no further than it had to so as to cover my abdomen!! It stopped with the outside, that was slightly angled, level with my chin, so that was fine.

Once they had “planned” the scanning area on my body, I then had a canular put into my arm. First salt water was injected in (felt a bit cold) to make sure the canular was inserted correctly. Then they attached the machine that was going to dispense two different amounts of radioactive mixture.  This travels through the body highlighting the kidneys etc so the scanner picks it up and can form the image.

I was told that as the fluid went through me it may feel warm also I may feel like I am doing a pee but I wont be! lol !

When the “warmth” was felt, it was hardly anything, I felt my hands feel lovely and warm, but only fleetingly then the feeling disappeared.  I now know what he means when he said I may think I am doing a pee (not sure if this applies to men also…) but I felt a sort of “warm flowing” sensation as though I was weeing, but I knew I wasn’t because no bladder feeling happened. It was just like the feeling of warmth flowing through my hands. I had a joke with him and said I thought I had actually wet the bed! He said he wasn’t bothered as it would be the student with them that would have to clean it up!! We had a laugh ….

Had to wait a few minutes for the mixture to travel round my body. Then a second dose was injected and this would show up the veins and arteries.  Again felt my hands warm up and the feeling that might be having a pee. I hasten to add this was not an embarassing or unpleasant feeling  and was only a fleeting feeling. Not sure how else to describe it except for how the nurse described it!

With my arms stretched out above my head under the scanner again.  I did twice have to hold my breath.  I was under the scanner I suppose maybe 10 minutes. Was not long at all.  There were some see-through sections in the scanner and you could see the “workings” whizzing around. It also sounded very much like my washing machine when on spin cycle, it even increased the revs just like my machine does! Then it was all over. 

So the whole thing was very quick and totally pain free. None of it was unpleasant and was back home before I knew it.

Now I believe the next stage is that my Consultant will review all the test results to make sure they are all okay. He may order other tests, that would be up to him and he may also wish to see me … or may not!  This is always the hard part – the waiting to hear something.

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CT Scan now booked – 28th October 2009

CT stands for Computerised Tomography. This will be in the Radiology Department.
The CT Scanner is a machine that takes detailed slice-type pictures of the body using x-rays and a computer. Instead of sending out a single X-ray through your body as with ordinary X-rays, several beams are sent simultaneously from different angles. In my case it will result in detailed image of the kidneys, their location, size, the arteries and veins connected to the kidneys. From this image the surgeon can decide which will be the safest kidney to remove.  Although we have two kidneys they are not necessarily identical. One can be larger (my left one is) and they can each have a different number of veins. The fewer the better as far as surgical procedures.

I will be asked to lay on a couch which then moves through the CT machine which will scan my abdomen.  The machine is an open ring-like structure – rather like a doughnut!   I will feel nothing, but will be able to see lights on the machine.  I may be given an injection of a colourless dye which will help to show up the blood vessels.

This is what a CT Scanner can look like.

CT Scanner

CT Scanner

The hospital are great, they promised they would manage to fit in this CT Scan before I went to London and they have. I did not want my time away from home to hold up procedings any more than they had to.

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Tues, 6th October

One more evaluation test to come

I thought I had finished all the physical tests but apparently there is a CT scan of the kidneys still required. The CT scan will show the veins and arteries leading to and from the kidneys. It will show everything in much greater details. It takes about an hour and a half. The result of the CT scan will then be discussed at a consultant meeting and this will determine which kidney is to be donated and whether laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery can be performed. Hopefully soon the letter will arrive with my appointment date.

Once it is determined which kidney is to be used, then the consultant nephrologist will review all my results to date. He may or may not wish to see me. If he is satisfied that I have had all the necessary tests and he is happy with the results then I will be referred for my independent assessment.

The Indepedent assessment is a legal requirement set by the HTA (human tissue authority) in order to gain approval for me to donate and for the transplant to take place.

Once approval has been given by the HTA that will be the finish of the assessment and the next stage would be for my details to be registred with UK transplant so that I can be matched with a suitable recipient. This last stage must not be rushed and I will only go onto the donor database when it is totally convenient for me i.e. no committments to get in the way etc. Once a recipient is found which will be almost straight away, then things could happen very fast, so would not want anything to hold things up. But all this will be discussed with the hospital when approval to donate has been given.

I sit back now and wait to hear when my CT scan is. I hope it is before beginning of November as I am then away for about 2.5 weeks.

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