Organ donations give lives back
When you make the decision to have children, what is it that you want for them? Good health, happiness, success?
For the most part, my children had all three of my wishes for them. That was until the summer of 2012 when I felt my world come crashing down. My 19-year-old daughter was being sent to Georgetown Hospital with congestive heart and kidney failure. Hadn’t she just had a minor cough the week before?
Apparently, her kidneys were so tiny doctors couldn’t even locate them at first. These tiny kidneys did their best to keep her active for 19 years. In fact, they did more than just help her exist; she was quite the athlete. Lauren liked to refer to her kidneys as her “Little Keebler Elves” that worked so hard until they just couldn’t anymore.
Georgetown Hospital saved her life, but not without some mishaps at first. They immediately had to put a catheter in her leg to begin dialysis. However, this catheter hit an artery which caused a pseu-do-aneurysm and enormous pain for Lauren. So not only did they have to remove this port and place it in her chest instead, but she also had to now have surgery to repair the artery in her leg.
Lauren was at Georgetown Hospital for almost a month that summer. Even so, she went right back to Towson University in the fall while going to dialysis three days a week, four hours a day. Can you imagine living this kind of life as a college student? Fortunately for Lauren, her dad was a kidney match and was able to donate a kidney to her on April 30, 2013.
Ever y year her kidney thrived was celebrated. We even named her new kidney “Big Papa” because it was so huge in her tiny body. However, in 2015, Lauren’s kidney started to decline. She required more and more hospital visits. In September 2016, Lauren was hospitalized again with kidney failure. “Big Papa” couldn’t function anymore due to too many infections. At this point, we were working with a team of doctors at Hopkins. All we could think was, here we go again.
Here we are seven months later in search of a new kidney for Lauren. She is currently doing nocturnal dialysis so she can live a more normal, meaningful life during the day. If that’s what you want to call it. She has many limitations in terms of how and when she travels, the clothing she wears due to tubes and fluid in her stomach, and of course her diet.
Lauren’s story is just one story of a person in need of an organ transplant. There are thousands and thousands more just like her out there. My goal was to shed some light on what her life has been like. Organ donors are in demand. Such a small commitment on your part would give someone else back their life.
Kathy Bartley, Lusby