By Chris Figliuzzi
I had planned to write about how I have spent the last 2 years fighting, fighting with doctors, administrators, and heads of hospitals.
I had planned on telling you how it was like a weight had been lifted when I was told I would receive a kidney transplant at the end of April.
I had planned on telling you how this virus had me locked in an apartment, with the exception of my 3 trips to the hospital for dialysis every week. I had planned to tell you that I was concerned about my safety following the transplant when, like so many others, my immune system would be heavily compromised to help fight rejection.
Unfortunately, as we all know too well right now, plans change.
Then I got a call and was told that the, very real, threat this virus poses has cancelled all elective surgeries, including living donor transplants. There is no set time table for when they will be rescheduled. It could be a few months, it could be longer – no one knows. We’re all in uncharted water right now.
That being said I can say with complete certainty that self-isolation, social distancing, and whatever else has been implemented by the time this is published are of the utmost importance. You may think I’m biased, and I probably am since I’m pretty fond of living, but all these precautions are in place to protect those people that are vulnerable to the virus.
Yes, young people are more likely than not to get through this unscathed, but I’m willing to bet that each and every one of you has parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and friends that fall into the older age range. These people are far more likely to face serious consequences if they come into contact with the virus, and with a 5 day symptom free incubation period it’s next to impossible to know if you’re passing it on at any given time.
Personally, I fall into the immunocompromised category, though many would argue that I fall into the old age category as well now that I’ve crossed 35.
To say my immune system has taken a beating throughout my life would be an understatement. It was decimated for years during cancer treatments when I was a kid, then was further compromised following a kidney transplant in 2003 (which requires your immune system to be lowered so that the body doesn’t fight off the perceived external invader…which would be the kidney).
Most people do not realize healthy kidney transplants last around 15 years. So here I am again over a decade later ready for another new kidney.
This has left me basically living like a bubble boy, hiding out in my condo watching Netflix and playing video games. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be ideal, but once you’re trapped it kind of changes things. It’s like everyone likes lounging in bed, but nobody likes being stuck in bed with a couple of broken legs.
I understand that it’s hard right now not be in class working towards that degree, or at work getting that pay check. However, for thousands of others the consequences of a few people not following precautions can be far more devastating, life altering, or in some cases even life ending.
So relax, throw on some movies, park yourself in front of the computer, or settle down with a couple good books. For the first time in history sitting your ass on the couch actually has the ability to save a whole lot of people. Let’s not screw it up, I would really love to get my new kidney.