A Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) measures how well kidneys filter your blood. A lovely radiologist called Sarah greeted me. My weight and height were taken. Sarah put a canular into my left arm. It is from this that the blood samples will be taken. A small amount of Heparin was used to stop any blood clotting in the canular which would interfere with the drawing of the samples.
In my right arm she put a “butterfly IV canular” into which she injected a very small amount of special radioactive tracer (probably less radioactive amount than having a normal x-ray). The canular in my right arm was then removed.
Sarah explained that I had to come back in an hour when a blood sample will be drawn. I also had to come back each hour after that – four times in total. I had to be as near to the hour as possible – give or take 5/10 minutes. She will know what time to expect me so to sit outside and she will come for me. When the last blood sample is taken I will have another small amount of tracer inserted in left arm and wait a further hour then the scan can take place. The type of canular used in the arm means I don’t have to have a needle go into my arm each time. Just the once to put in the canular. When the blood is drawn or tracer inserted – the needle enters the end of the canular only. I didn’t feel a thing.
Between samples I was allowed to leave the department, go to the canteen or even pop into the village to a delightful coffee house there! As long as I was back at the appointed time .. that was important …. I could leave the department.
I thought the day would be really boring especially as I was there from around 9:30am until about 4:00pm, but it was not too bad. An hour goes quite quickly if you have a good book to read. Also there were a few canteens to visit including a Starbucks. I chose the Reception area as my “home base” where there were very comforatable chairs. I found it quite fascinating to just watch the people – it was almost like a “day in the life of a hospital reception area”.
When I returned each hour for the blood sample to be taken, it took no time at all. Had a quick chat and laugh with Sarah who, as the day progressed, looked noticebly more tired! It made you appreciate just how hard the medical profession works. On the go the whole time, I don’t think she had time for lunch even.
When the last blood sample was taken she gave me the injection (via the canular) for the kidney scan (NM Renal DMSA). So one more hour to wait ….. I rang to arrange for my lift to come and pick me up as it would be about an hour for them to get to me.
The scan was quick and very fascinating. You lay on your back on this “trolley” which is then wheeled under the scanner which is squarish and when lowered is just above the abdomen. I had to lay still while the scan took place. No noise from the machine so you were unaware it was even working … except that on the monitor you saw two pictures of your kidneys taking shape. One picture was from the top and one from the back of you. Wow … it was amazing. All these white dots building up a picture. My left kidney was noticebly larger than my right, which was slightly lower than the left. Both these are quite normal, one kidney is often larger and one kidney a bit lower.
Tests now complete I could go home. Overnight the blood samples are prepared and my consultant will sent results of those and the scan asap.
The small amount of radioactive material injected into me will have no affect on me and will be flushed out my body within 24 hours.
As far as I am aware I have now had all the physical evaluation tests. The psychiatrist evaluation should be next followed by an overall assessment by an independant person who then puts the report in to the Human Tissue Board and asks for permission for me to be a donor (assuming of course I pass his assessment).
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