The process of preparing for a kidney transplant is fairly substantial. To be placed on a transplant list you need to have a series of evaluations ….even if you have a donor who has volunteered.
The first phase took a couple of weeks. We filled out a lengthy medical questionnaire. One of the more interesting calls we received was to check if he was eligible for Medicare. We informed them he was not yet 65 but was still working. Apparently Medicare will kick in for a kidney transplant regardless of your age and will work in conjunction with our health insurance to cover costs – we’ll see. After they were satisfied with our insurance coverage we received an official letter stating Art was eligible to begin the evaluation process.
The second phase is in process and includes going through tests to make sure he is healthy enough to withstand a transplant. Art had to submit to a cardiac stress test, an echocardiogram and have blood drawn to confirm his blood type. We were at the hospital shortly after 7:00am and finished shortly before noon. The kidney failure is causing him to suffer from anemia, so his energy level is low. Trying to get his heart rate up on the treadmill was not easy – the last couple of minutes on the treadmill was just about the hardest thing he has ever done. So far these are the only new tests they have requested.
On July 16th Art, Tim and Mary will spend the day on the IU Hospital main campus in Indianapolis. It will be primarily for education purposes and meeting the transplant team. There will be additional blood and tissue samples taken at that time from both Tim and Art to double-check and confirm blood type. Assuming the rumor of Tim being found on the doorstep is false….we expect to find there will be no problem with compatibility issues.
Hopefully the tests will show that Art can withstand the transplant and we can establish a date for the operation to happen sooner rather than later. The goal is to avoid dialysis which would be a good thing.