Getting the call – Real life stories5 March 2020
The wait for an organ can be very difficult. Apart from dealing with serious and debilitating health issues, many don’t know if they will get the call before it’s too late. We reached out to some organ recipients and asked them to share their memory of receiving the call notifying them that an organ was available for them. These are their responses.
There are currently about 6,000 people in the UK that are waiting for an organ transplant. For some, receiving an organ would be life changing, for others it would be life saving. The wait for an organ can be very difficult. Apart from dealing with serious and debilitating health issues, many don’t know if they will get the call before it’s too late.
The waiting time for an organ varies a lot depending on the organ required and many other factors such as blood type, etc. As an example, the average waiting time for a liver right now is 99 days, but the the average waiting time for a kidney is currently 706 days. The average waiting time for a pancreas is currently about a year.
During that time, those on the waiting list can’t travel too far in case an organ becomes available. When the call does come, to say that there is an organ available, the surgery has to happen as soon as possible. One can imagine the immense sense of relief when someone receives the call. That day would become one of the most memorable of their lives. We reached out to some organ recipients and asked them to share their memory of receiving the call notifying them that an organ was available for them. These are their responses.
I had had the whole summer off for school holidays and hadn’t heard anything, I went back for the first day of term and I remember looking at my phone and I said to my husband, who was driving, “why are Bristol ringing?”. It hadn’t even occurred to me it was ‘the call’! I answered it and all I kept saying was “oh my god, oh my god!”. Then I ran into work and literally yelled, “I got the call I’m not coming in today!”, and then ran back out. I rushed home and grabbed my ‘go bag’ and then I was running around like a headless chicken grabbing everything! We drove to Bristol and then it took 24 hours for my transplant operation to happen because my donor was a multi-donor!
I was at a McDonald’s drive thru! I got the call whilst about to place my order.
I’d just come home from my mums after Sunday dinner and getting my IV drugs ready for my night-time dose. It didn’t click at first, I thought it was a check-up call (not that I had had any of these in the past). 12 year anniversary of my double lung transplant this August!
The call came at 4am, I was in bed asleep! I was told to get to Addenbrooks ASAP. It’s an 11 or 12 hour drive! Went into theatre at midday, 10 hours later I had a new liver, forever grateful!
I remember the evening I got the call for my son like it was yesterday and in fact it was two years ago! It is something I will never forget. I remember where I was standing when I got the call and what I was wearing!