The test you can’t study for…

The blood test. That was today’s feat. One of the most important tests I’ll take in my adult life and yet no plausible way to study for it – or cheat (which I would never do but if I were so inclined).

I had two vials of blood drawn and had to give a urine sample. The urine sample was to test my kidney function and if there is anyone out there who can tell me how a girl is to pee in a cup without peeing all over herself I will give you my other kidney. The blood tests were to check my blood type (which they could have gotten from the Red Cross or simply just asked me but that’s fine, take my blood too, I’ll make more eventually) and also check my creatinine levels. From my very basic understanding of human biology creatinine is a byproduct of normal muscle function and is cleaned out of the blood by the kidneys. It is a good measure of kidney function by comparing urine and blood levels of creatinine to be sure there is more creatinine in the urine than the blood. Blood levels should be around 0.5-1.1 mg/dl in women. My father’s creatinine was 8.5 at its highest when he was in completely renal failure, right now it’s hovering between 3 and 4 mg/dl. With one kidney function would fall around 1.8-1.9 mg/dl. Anything above 2 is cause for concern.

As far as I know my kidney function is fine, and my blood type should be a match (we are both O+) so once those three tests are processed the next step is tissue typing and cross-matching. Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) typing checks my white blood cells for the proper proteins or antigens, meaning antigens that won’t attack or cause attack from the recipient’s immune system. After that is the HLA crossmatch where my white blood cells are actually combined with my dad’s white blood cells to see if they attack each other (produce antibodies).

So now we wait until Thursday when my test results and my mother’s test results will be presented to the transplant committee for approval.

I think the waiting is the hardest part…

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