Today is World Kidney Day.
Now, of course, the focus of World Kidney Day is to draw attention to the irresponsible living that leads to a large percentage of kidney disease. Eat your vegetables. Lose weight. Stay healthy. Get a physical. The earlier you catch kidney trouble, the better.
Also? Sign up to be an organ donor. When you die, you will NOT need your kidneys any more. But your two kidneys can go to give a second chance at life to two different people. Maybe babies or toddlers. Maybe Nathan Saavedra or any of the hundreds of other kids waiting for a kidney. Tell your family that you wish to be an organ donor. If someone you love is nearing the end of their life, ask them if they’re an organ donor and, if they are, make sure you let their care providers know. That sounds a little harsh, maybe, but wouldn’t you like to think of your loved one’s death making it possible for others to continue living? That there could be joy in the midst of sorrow? I have to tell you, knowing we could donate my mom’s corneas brought us great joy on the same day we were mourning her death. My mom had reached the end of her journey, but someone else would be given the gift of sight to continue on theirs. wow.
Last, consider becoming a living donor. The sad, sobering reality of dialysis is that it’s not a super great long-term plan. One of our nephrologists said that he would never consider putting someone on dialysis if transplant was not the goal, because the quality of life is so diminished on dialysis. From this article: “Only half of dialysis patients survive more than three years…While about 90,000 people are lined up for kidneys, fewer than 17,000 receive one each year, and about 4,500 die waiting…”
Consider becoming a living donor. It’s not easy, but it’s not the hardest thing you’ll ever do, I’d bet. And as a reward, you get to save someone’s life.