I have a new kidney video up at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1u-rPIP6sw.
In this one, I ask for a kidney donation for a transplant that I will need because of polycystic kidney disease. I mention www.mikeneedsakidney.com and how my kidney function is dropping pretty fast.
Just to do something different, I ask for a kidney in English, Danish, and French. Then I ask for one in an Australian accent. It’s not that I expect or want the donor to be Danish or French; it’s just that those are the only other languages I know a little bit. I had a lot of help with the translation. It may seem a little bit unorthodox, but I just thought it would be a different, interesting thing to do, and I hope that everything I do creates a little more awareness about kidney donation.
I think a lot of people aren’t very aware about kidney transplants and donation. Highly educated people ask me questions that show this.
People who are healthy can donate one of their two kidneys and get along fine, and even be out of the hospital in as little as a day after the surgery, which is done laparoscopically with a small incision. It does take a while to get back to work.
Kidney disease gets less publicity than other diseases or disorders. Part of the reason is that it disproportionally affects poor people who often don’t check on their hypertension and diabetes until it’s too late. Part of the reason for that is because many indigent people lack adequate health insurance. Maybe it will get more attention in the future. Ten years ago there wasn’t much awareness about autism and now there is.
In the video I mention that I’m not just looking for a kidney for myself, but I’m also trying to raise awareness about the fact that there are 80,000 people in the U.S. waiting for kidneys and more than 10 of them die each day waiting.
That’s why I did my previous kidney video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QU7TPvIQMI. I’m a terrible singer and rapper, so naturally I had to do a rap video.
And while I’m at it, I might as well give a plug for the one I did in the beginning of the year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDbIw1d8XLM&feature=related.
For the new video, it was hard to choose from the three takes that I did, because they were all equally bad. I almost fell asleep while watching the video.
Quick timeout for Coach Mike’s Mailbag:
Really? It looks more like you fell asleep during the video.
Ha ha. Very funny.
By the way, when are you going to make another movie? Last time I saw you was more than 20 years ago in “The Breakfast Club,” “Sixteen Candles,” and “Weird Science.”
Very funny. Everybody’s a comedian…
At one point you say you are going to “attempt the Danish now…” It’s not like this is a motorcycle jump or a magic trick.
True. Those would have been easier.
(Actual email:) I couldn’t watch your new video it was so boring. Now people won’t watch the good rap one cause they’ll first be bored by your new one and move on. You also are totally repetitive in your blog. You already explained all this. Couldn’t you have left the other one for awhile without adding a new crappy one. And why do you keep saying what a bad voice etc. you have. The whole point is that you need a kidney. Otherwise you could have gotten a professional rapper to do it. You’re really bugging me.
Sorry, Mom. Couldn’t you have called about this instead of emailing? (just kidding. the email was from one of my fans).
Shouldn’t people donate to, say, a single mother of three kids who is already on dialysis instead of an attention-seeking narcissist who refers to himself in the third person? I’ll hang up and listen to your answer.
Let me take the second part first. Coach Mike isn’t sure who you’re talking about. However, I agree that the idea to donate to someone who is more in need is a good one. Check out www.matchingdonors.com.
Anyway, my next video is due out at the end of the month and it will be original.
So back to the kidney issue. At some point I’ll have to get a transplant or go on dialysis. Dialysis is a long, tiring process that cleans the toxins from the blood. While it is life saving, it results in death for 20% of dialysis patients each year.
Transplants result in a better quality of life and a better outcome than dialysis. In fact, kidney transplants are one of the few surgeries in which you can go from being extremely sick to just about as good as new, as if you never had the problem.
The waiting list for my blood type (O) is about five years and so far I’ve accrued a year and a half of waiting time. Kidneys from the waiting list come from deceased donors. A kidney from a living donor usually lasts significantly longer than one from a deceased donor. Also, people who receive transplants without ever having to go on dialysis fare better on average than those who are transplanted after having been on dialysis.
In order to be compatible to donate to someone, you have to be the same blood type, though if you’re a different blood type, you can do a paired donation. That happens when you have two unmatched donor-recipient pairs in which the recipients match the other donors, and the hospital supervises the exchange, doing both operations simultaneously or one after the other.
A couple of good sites are www.matchingdonors.com and www.kidneyregistry.org. Matchingdonors has profiles of people looking for kidneys. The National Kidney Registry facilitates paired kidney donations, in which incompatible or poorly matched donor-recipient pairs try to find a compatible match or a more compatible match from a pool of donors.
Sometimes I ask myself if I would donate a kidney to somebody in need. It would be easy for me to say yes, but the truth is we’ll never really know. I feel like I would definitely donate to a wife or a child, (though I’m not married yet and don’t have kids), and I’d also donate to a parent or a sibling. Anyone else, I’m not so sure. So in other words, I’m asking for a kidney from a stranger (or a friend or acquaintance but that probably would have happened by now if it was going to happen). Meanwhile, I’m not sure I’d do it myself. I guess you could call that hypocritical, though it’s honest.
On the other hand, I’ve been working with or volunteering for kids and adults with autism and other disabilities for more than 10 years. I believe that many of the parents I’ve met, while they do an amazing job, wouldn’t necessarily be helping kids with autism if they didn’t have kids with autism themselves.
Whenever somebody helps somebody – saves a person through CPR or rescues someone from a burning building for example – the person says that he or she is not a hero, that anybody would have done the same thing. But that’s not true. A lot of people wouldn’t have done it.
This whole thing – asking for a kidney on a website, in videos, on a bumper sticker, does seem kind of strange. It’s pretty surreal. But do you have a better idea? My hope is to get one for myself, and through my website and my videos, create enough awareness so that maybe at least one other person decides to donate who otherwise wouldn’t. And maybe 5, 10, or 20 years down the road, the seed will have been planted for someone who would someday be ready to donate to someone. Or maybe more people will fill out organ donor cards, or it will become easier to donate like it is in Europe.