Or­gan do­na­tions give lives back

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

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

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