MedicalMy name is Travis. I am a Paramedic in Pennsylvania and 9 years ago today I donated my left kidney. In order to spread awareness and help reduce some fears of organ donation, AMA!
Jul 29th 2017 by KidneyMedic • 17 Questions • 165 Points
9 years ago today, when I was a college student, I donated my left kidney to my oldest sister. I am also currently a Paramedic. Feel free to ask me anything! I will be checking in and out all day, answering questions until midnight tonight. I'll try to answer all of them or as many as I can.
If the mods want proof of my kidney donation, I can send them a link to a story my college paper did about it. I don't want to post it here since it mentions my sister' s name and I didnt ask if she wants to have her name out there.
Proof of being a paramedic: https://ibb.co/g1Aws5
Just a note, I created this account just for this AMA. I like having privacy online for various reasons.
Edit: Thanks to everyone who asked questions or dropped by. I apologize for any short answers, but I did 99% of this in an ambulance either while responding to a call (my partner was driving) or while walking out of the hospital after transferring care. I've had a busy day, so I'm going to go sleep. However, I hope I at least answered some questions and even if you don't want to be a living donor, at least consider being a deceased organ donor. For some fun statistics you can go here: https://www.donatelife.net/statistics/ There is a shortage of organ donors and this problem is a growing problem as more people suffer organ failure. Even as a paramedic, I see a lot of people with organ failure from sickness, disease, or trauma.
I hope everyone has a great night and God bless!
How is your life different now, compared to when you still have both kidneys? Any noticeable health problems?
No differences at all except there are some medications I can't take because they're hard on kidneys. I'm also more mindful of that and don't use anti-persperant.
lol I took that from the movie "The Replacements" "chicks dig scars". Anywho, Just outside of Allentown:) And congrats on your donation! Truly awesome! A co-worker gave a Kidney to his brother, a very brave thing to do!
Thanks! And I've never been to Allentown, but always wanted to. A lot of famous people seem to be from there, haha.
Back up my certs? Like recertify?
I can understand donating to save a close relative or friend... but does this not significantly reduce your own lifespan and have a large number of potential complications?
Lifespan wise, I'll live as long as I would with two kidneys. Some people only have one and never know until later in life or even death during a deceased donation. Complications are the same as any surgery, which have passed me by now. I'll live a healthy normal life and I'm not at risk for anything else really.
Thanks again for doing this as you're the first person I've spoken to that's donated. How long did you spend in the hospital after surgery? How long after that before you were able to get back to work? Any insight/advice for the post surgery period is appreciated.
I spent a week inside the hospital. Usually, it's only about 3 days, but being from another city I didn't have anyone to get me until Saturday so I was able to stay a little longer.
I was a college student at the time and I had left my previous job before the surgery. I started working in October as a stock clerk for a grocery store. It was about 8 weeks until I could lift over 5 lbs to avoid herniating.
My first bit of advice is to have a good support group. Walk as soon as the doctor says you can. It helps your body begin to realign your organs inside and get things moving again. Do your breathing exercises, as that will help you regain some strength and help prevent pneumonia.
And remember that you're doing a great thing. Despite some misinformed naysayers, the pros outweigh the cons. There are some risks, but they're rare. Listen to your doctor and there is a whole group out there of living donors and recipients that are great support.