Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Donation Day (part deux)

What a day! When we last left off Danny had just begun the actual donation process. It took 6 hours and 28 minutes, but he finished! (In nearly record time, I might add!) I think the thought about donating is much more intimidating/scary than what actually happens. With the exception of the length of time and the immobility of both arms, this procedure actually is a lot like donating plasma or platelets.

There were a few minor things that you wouldn't think of when dealing with lack of "arms" -- feeding yourself, going to the bathroom, using a computer (the essentials, am I right?!?) are difficult, which is why I'm guessing they ask you to bring someone with you.

Just another day at the... office?

Danny finally got to meet his case worker Barb from the Be The Match organization. She was sooooo friendly! She took time out of her day to make the trip over to meet us and even drove me to Cupcake, a restaurant/bakery famous for its - you guessed it - cupcakes. She was just as friendly as Danny guessed she would be and it was great to put a face to a name. She was the key piece to making this whole process top notch and deserves mucho credit for what she does. (The one picture I forgot to take. Argh!)

We never did have much of a conversation with Dave -- our neighbor/roommate that was in the "joint" donating his cells for his own treatment, as his curtain remained closed for the duration of his appointment. He was actually scheduled to end ahead of Danny, but due to timing they actually finished their extractions at the exact same time. The doctor that was on duty came into the room shortly after Dave left and said that he thought what Danny was doing was nothing short of remarkable. Dave's fate could very well end up in the same place as Danny's recipient, so to know that he appreciated what Danny was doing meant a lot to both of us. (Yet another example of why donating is humbling and rewarding. Have we sold you on this process yet?)

After the hard work was over, they un-hooked Danny from the machines. His main complaint (and let me tell you, there weren't many!) was that his right arm (aka the needle/out arm) was starting to get sore. We asked them more questions like:

D&K :How many times did all of the blood in his body run through the machine?
Staff: Five.

D&K: What is the expiration date on the bag of goods?
Staff: They want to get it into the recipient within 24 hours (48 is still in the "good" window), but if the unforeseeable happened the cells could last up to five days.

D&K: How long will the recipient have to be in the hospital?
Staff: Approximately 30 days.

They also noted that (short of a miracle) this was basically the recipient's last chance at a shot at life. To know that we (and by "we", I mean Danny) did everything possible to save someone's life will have to be what we deal with for the next 6 months to 2 years. International countries have different rules than the U.S. and we may or may not ever hear from this guy or his family.

Tomorrow is his day "zero" -- meaning it is the first day at his second chance at life. We're wishing him the best of luck and hope that the courier's flight didn't get delayed.  (I kid, I kid...)  :)

Bonjour bag-o-stem cells!
Now if y'all don't mind, we're off to enjoy a drink and to pick up a lottery ticket... Cheers to this awesome experience!

To say he earned this beer would be an understatement :P
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