Thursday, February 5, 2009

Johns Hopkins surgeons remove donated kidney through vagina; Proof that men are still in charge

This story was running on all the major news networks a few days ago. Doctors at Johns Hopkins performed a living donor nephrectomy (removal) through the donor's vagina. They hope it will encourage others to donate because it reduces scarring and recovery time. I feel especially entitled to an opinion on this story because I have donated a kidney, at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Montgomery was my mother's surgeon, and I have a vagina*.

This is a parlor trick to me. When they start exploring how to remove organs through a man's scrotum, then I'll sit up and pay attention. I have the same scars that the woman in the article has with the exception of a nicely healed six inch scar where no one would ever see, even if I had the body or complete lack of shame to wear a bikini. I only donated two years ago and it annoys me that any time has been spent perfecting this procedure when we still haven't figured out how to deal with the kind of rejection that ultimately put my mother right back on dialysis. I understand that recovery time can be an issue if you absolutely had to get back to work and you worked somewhere you needed to be able to lift 25 pounds right away but c'mon, you just donated a kidney. Even if you don't have a six inch scar, you still have everything else going on--why leap back on to the UPS truck? I know that times are hard but seriously, you just gave away an f-ing organ. They still cut you open, even if the holes were smaller.

I'm not sure what the obstacles are to donation, living or dead, but I know of all the things that kept me up at night or snuck up on me as a quick stab of panic during a mind idle, recovery time was not among them. I actually had grand plans for post-surgery and had I not caught the stomach flu right after I came home, I probably would have done them. Everyone is different but I have a hard time imaging a clamor among female would-be donors insisting that doctors find another use for their vagina as a portal. I'd love for them to use that ingenuity to figure out how to quickly dissipate the gas they use to inflate your abdomen that leaves you intensely uncomfortable for a few days after the surgery.

Not to mention the serious ick factor introduced into the entire donation process. People are naturally curious and I've found they want to know the mechanics of the surgery. They have been removing diseased kidneys and gall bladders through the vagina for some time apparently but that is stuff people are throwing away, it's not working and needs to leave the body. Perhaps it will be used for science but it will not end up in someone else. I understand we've all taken that trip, but I would not want to have 'birthed' anything headed for someone else's insides. It seems rude. It would be a horrible story and never suitable for mixed company. Had we done it that way, I would still be wondering if it contributed to the rejection and host of other problems she had in the two years after the surgery. And honestly, I don't need doctors up in my business any more than necessary. That anyone would think that the line would be queueing out the door with women wanting to donate their organs now that they can literally deliver the gift of life is evidence to me that men still run the show. Get cracking on that intra-scrotal removal and I'll be impressed.

*Sorry Brosef, I know that made you throw up in your mouth a little


Good-Grace said...

This is another post of perfection!!

And I love the little side note to your brother. (ha ha!!)

Good-Grace said...

P.S. I just noticed that cool YouTube video bar to the side... I just posted a Bill O'Reilly/Christian Bale mix video. I saw it on Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight and thought it was hilarious. (I almost think it's better with the "made for cable bleeping") And then that little video with David is on my cousin's Facebook page.

Btw, I searched for you on Facebook. Let me know if you get an account. :)

Good-Grace said...

well... now what the hell? The video's changed on that You Tube bar. You'll have to let me know how that works. I assumed you had picked the video's that were featured there... no? Or do you just have a bunch lined up... I'm lost. I'm definitely NO techie.