The importance of making sure you have identification as a living donor.
I really let time get away from me the last several months. I just celebrated my 6 year anniversary of donating a kidney and I am happy to report that I feel great and my creatine level is normal.
I wanted this blog to be dedicated to the importance of safety that you should take being a living kidney donor, especially when traveling alone. I have mentored many people through the living donation process and the thing that was never covered after my donation is how important it is to let people know that you have donated and even more so, to always have some sort of identification on you saying that you are a living donor. I myself have two pieces of jewelry that I wear anytime that I am alone. One is a ring that says; Living Donor 2010 one kidney and the other is a slim leather band bracelet that says; Living kidney donor, 2010, one right kidney. Here is an example of mine:
There are so many great sites on the web to find just the right thing for you...so do your research.
If wearing jewelry or an ID bracelet is not your "thing" no problem. But, make sure you either keep an emergency contact card in your wallet (I taped mine on the back of my drivers license). Perhaps to some this may sound paranoid but it's up to you to protect your one remaining kidney. The following are a few suggestions that I live by:
- Tell your co-workers and HR department that you only have one kidney.
- Make sure your friends and family are all aware.
- Over the counter medicines can contain things that are not good for the kidneys so make sure to make best friends with your pharmacy and always ask their opinion.
- Avoid taking ibuprofen as this is particularly difficult on the kidneys, also commonly known as Advil, Motrin and Nurofen.
- Advise all of your physicians that you donated, as it makes a difference in what kind of medications they prescribe for you, including antibiotics.
Why are things important? You have ONE kidney. Should you have an accident or take a blow to your good kidney it is imperative that the medical staff is aware that you only have one. It influences medications and how treatments are determined to be the safest. It also alerts them make sure that nothing has happened to the remaining kidney.
After giving the gift of life...you want to continue to take care of yours.