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Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
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DOCTORS DIARY Table of Contents   
Year : 2004  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 390-391
Noble Lessons from a Kidney Donor

Division of Nephrology, Hypertension & renal Transplantation, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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How to cite this article:
Al-Khader AA. Noble Lessons from a Kidney Donor. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl 2004;15:390-1

How to cite this URL:
Al-Khader AA. Noble Lessons from a Kidney Donor. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl [serial online] 2004 [cited 2021 Apr 15];15:390-1. Available from: https://www.sjkdt.org/text.asp?2004/15/3/390/32985
It was interesting to watch him during his work-up to donate a kidney for his mother. He was enjoying the experience. While in the ward to have his renal angiogram, he was working on his laptop constantly. That was 12 years ago and he was 34-years old at the time. He asked me, during one of our ward rounds if I used the computers and I said "not really and I am too old to start learning". He said "Rubbish, I will teach you", and he did and I developed love for the use of computers ever since.

After the transplant operation, he went back to his country (one the Gulf States) to be followed up there. We initially kept in touch but I had not met him since the last eight years.

I called him yesterday as part of prepa­ration for this article. He was very warm and effusive in hearing my voice and so was I. He asked me about my use of the computers and I enquired about his mother. "She died a couple of years ago" was the shocking reply from him.
"I am sorry to hear that" I said. "So am I," he said "I was devastated. But one comforting thought which made me cope with the sad episode was that up to the last minute, my kidney did not let her down. I asked the doctors only one day before she died and they told me, that her kidney function was perfect. You can not imagine how this com­forted me and made me cope with the situation. A couple of days before she died I brought my three kids to see her. Have I told you that I got married after the operation?

Anyway, she was so pleased to see them. She was particularly attached to my eldest daughter, Sna. I wonder if that has something to do with the fact that I named the child after my mother. After the children left she told me "Thank you son for giving me the opportunity to live long enough to see your children. Thank you for keeping my name alive in the family through Sna"
"I must tell you, when I left her room, I had tears flowing down my cheeks but I was in a strange way happy about what she said. She never talked like this before and I took her words to mean that she knew she was dying. I wiped my tears off and went back to her room and said "Mom, my children learnt a lot from you and enjoyed your company, so they are the lucky ones that you are around, so am I"

I asked him "What did she die of?"
"Liver disease. Do you remember that I was a little on the obese side when we had the transplant operation. Well, I lost weight after the operation. She often would joke with my children about this. She would say, "the only reason I accepted your father's kidney was so that I take some weight off him. You see he had such a big and heavy kidney"

I would say "Well it is about time I return you the favor by taking back the kidney as you are putting on weight and I am losing it. Yes. She had severe liver disease due to hepatitis C virus. I pleaded with her doctors to allow me to give part of my liver to her. They refused as she, according to them, had "bad" heart. It is funny how you doctors misuse words some time. My mother never had a bad heart. She had the nicest gentlest and warmest heart a son could ask for. One of the residents during one of the ward rounds introduced my mother to the other doctors by saying "This is another example of bad liver". I said "Young man, my mother is not an example of any type of liver. She is an example of the best mother"
"Do your children talk about her often now?" I asked.
"Yes all the time. I think they were her favorite grand children. May be this is due to the enormous bonding we had especially after the operation. She would often tell them "your father keeps my blood clean and plenti­ful every minute of every day" and when they would ask why, she would say "well it is all done by his kidney inside me"

It is interesting that she always referred to the kidney as "my son's kidney" not as "my kidney"

I asked "I remember that you have a number of siblings older and younger than you. Why was it that you were the only one to have come forward to donate?"

He said "I remember you asking me the same question before the transplant operation. You came with your entourage to the room and after a few minutes you asked them all to leave including the patient next to me -I think you asked the nurse to take him out to weigh him. Then you started to ask me a number of questions including this one. Having thought about it since then, I think you were fishing around to see if I was willing or pressurized to donate. After the questioning you started asking me about the best bargain computer in the market"
"Well, you got me hooked on computers. Remember?"
"Now as to your question, the answer is simple. I stopped them all. To their credit they all wanted to donate. My mother of course wanted none of us to donate; it took me a long time to convince her. Would you believe something? I deceived my brothers and sisters. I told them that I was going to a computer exhibition in Beirut while I made my way to you. It was only after I finished the investi­gations and got an early date for the operation that I put them in the true picture"
"But why did you feel that you had to do this?"
"Selfishness on my part. I wanted to get the satisfaction and happiness of helping my mother. I also I did not want anything to happen to any of my sibs"
"But were you not worried about your own safety?"
"Strangely enough, no. I felt strongly and almost mystically that nothing wrong will befall me"

I asked him "Even after all the explanations I gave you regarding possible complications?"
"Yes, even then. Incidentally it was right that you told me all about the operation. I know that not everyone wants to know all the facts but doctors should not assume so. This would be like considering patients/donors as stupid or childlike. In fact I would have still gone through the operation even if you told me that the outcome was 50/50. Most willing donors, I think, want to make the point that they are donating regardless; so to know all about the procedure will give them this opportunity to feel it and say it"

Correspondence Address:
Abdullah A Al-Khader
Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation, P.O. Box 27049, Riyadh 11417
Saudi Arabia
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PMID: 18202487

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