I just had a really depressing encounter here at work and I wanted to say something to all of you dear readers who I care about even though I don't know you. As you may know, I work in transplant research, so part of my job is to present clinical studies to people who are getting or have already gotten a kidney, liver, or pancreas transplant. Sometimes when I tell people what I do, they joke, "Oh, so if I need a kidney, I can just come to you right?" Somehow people never made that joke when I worked on a leukemia project.
Here's the important part: Don't ever come see me at work. I hope the day never comes when I have to see a person that I know as a patient. All of my pre-transplant patients are extremely sick, and even post-transplant many of them die of their preexisting disease. I just enrolled an elderly woman onto a drug study, and she was very nervous but was beginning to believe that everything would be fine, until two seconds after I walked out of her room and one of the fellows told me that the cadaveric donor had a viral infection and none of the organs could be used. So this woman has to go home without her kidney, and it's entirely possible that she will die there before she comes back to see me and participate in my study. For most elderly patients, they are getting a kidney because they are running out of good veins for dialysis, and they will soon start to slowly die of their kidney disease. More people die on the waiting list than get an organ off it. So I guess my message is this: Please don't get sick. Please stay healthy. Please don't need a kidney from me. I don't ever want to see you at work.