OK, I'm officially on the transplant list. But if you think being on the list means it's time to relax, think again. Stuff needs to be done in the meantime.
UPMC's Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute has sent me a big packet of information of necessary tests I must receive to remain active on the transplant list. Already, as I've noted numerous times before, I've already undergone 18 medical tests including a prostate biopsy (ouch) to qualify to have my name placed on the list.
But being on the list is no right. It is something one earn with reasonably good health and due dilligence. Slackers need not apply.
That's to say, I have follow-up chores I must complete to remain qualified for kidney-pancreas transplant should they become immediately available, with my name written on them. But this is nothing that can be scheduled. You must be on call at all times because, as the letter states, "waiting time can vary from a period of days to years.".
With doctors' appointment schedules being what they are, I must schedule appointments now for April, then remember to be timely in scheduling appointments to be completed by next October. I must have follow-up prostate exams, including digital rectal exam, every six months along with a prostate-specific antigen or PSA tests every six months..
By next October, I must have completed another Adenosine Thallium stress test, an echocardiogram, Hepatisis B and C screenings, and HIV anitibody tests.
And if I go on dialysis, I will be required to have a cardiac catheterization, due to my having had diabetes for 43 years. That will test my heart and assure it's strong enough to withstand the rigors of organ transplantation. I'm not required to get such a test now because the contrasts they use would kill off what little kidney function I currently have.
More to the moment, each month I must also have blood drawn and have it sent to the institute to make sure my bloodwork is up to date. That bloodwork, including blood antigens and other details, is needed to properly match me with a kidney and/or pancreas. it will save time if the bloodwork is done in advance each month. In fact, if the bloodwork is not current when an organ match occurs, I could be ineligible because of the lack of current bloodwork.
I feel windsept.
"We are all very understanding of the stress that accompanies the waiting period," the institute states. "The uncertainty of when the transplant will occur, coupled with not feeling well may magnify life's everyday stresses and strains. We assure you that this is a normal response and would like to hear from you if you are having problems coping."
That means I must be abnormal. Albeit windswept, I have had no problems coping after having been on the transplant lists precisely two weeks.
But give me time.