My interaction with a renal transplant recipient

On the 16th of June 2021, was the day I had a great learning experience when I spoke with the kidney recipient. I, a mere social work trainee who has little knowledge of kidney transplantation had always wondered what was running in the minds of the patients. Could it be that all their prayers are finally going to be answered? Will they be back to their usual self? This being the first encounter with a patient, I did not know what to expect and was overwhelmed.

I also kept in mind that no questions were asked that would trigger their insecurities, make them uncomfortable or relive their trauma if experienced so as to not scare the person that I will be conversing.

I don’t know how but I usually have this sense of finding out that a person is a warm person by the tone of their voice when they receive the call. And yes, the client proved that right for me! My call with Ms. Bharti Ranga quickly changed from an ‘interview format’ to a free ranging conversation. The barrier of judgement, being stigmatized and the fear of talking to another stranger was completely eliminated. When asked about the initial days, Bharti recalled her lifestyle, in the year 2019, what she enjoyed doing the most was travelling. One such trip, was followed by a sudden turn of events that led to the kidney failure diagnosis. It was heartbreaking at first for Bharti to hear but taking it up as a challenge, she ensured that this would not get in the way.

As the conversation went on, I was able to place myself in her shoes as she was narrating her life incident. It was unimaginable to even comprehend the ongoing situation. The tension in almost giving up on alternatives, the disappointment in finding out that the donor was a wrong match, the sudden decision to be admitted in the hospital for the surgery. I was able to connect myself with all the rush of emotions that Bharti would have felt.

Her mother was her main source of courage. This made me realize the emotions of the mother who suddenly witnesses her daughter being sick all of a sudden. Not only did she become brave and lend a supporting hand, but the amount of sacrifice and hard work that went into the recuperation stage of the patient is commendable.

Nowadays, not much is spoken about the emotional state of a transplant recipient. Yes, the need for the surgery is to improve their physicality in functioning in the society. But what about their mind? Is it ready to face a life changing surgery that could give them yet another chance at survival? and many other such thoughts continue to be unknown.

Support groups for organ failure patients as well as recipients would certainly help addressing the psychological and medical conditions and aid in the road to recovery. Transplants give a person another chance at redemption to life, to see their loved ones also an opportunity to live life to the fullest. Know More…

Ms. Natalia Raaj
Masters of Social Work
Stella Maris College
Intern MOHAN Foundation