Name: Jim Longano
City/Town: Union, Kentucky
Current Age: 57
Occupation: Software Applications Developer
Date of Donation: August 24, 2016
Hospital and Location: The Christ Hospital, Cincinnati Ohio
Did you know your recipient?
My recipient Noreene is an acquaintance I knew through our mutual community involvement in our city of Union.
What made you decide to donate?
I ran into Noreene at the grocery store, and after hearing her story, I decided to step up to help her.
Was it a tough decision?
It was not a tough decision for me. Noreene was having trouble finding a donor, and I felt that I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t try to help her.
What were your biggest concerns about donating?
I had done quite a bit of research about it, and a coworker had donated a year prior, so I felt pretty informed about the process. I didn’t really have any significant concerns.
How did your family and friends react when you told them you were going to donate?
My family was very supportive and encouraging. Some friends were encouraging, and others were skeptical.
How did your surgery go?
The surgery went as expected, about four hours. No complications.
What was your recovery like while you were in the hospital?
It was tough, to be honest. I had a lot of abdominal pain that made it difficult to get in and out of bed. Also, I suffered from some pretty intense pain from the carbon dioxide gas they pumped into me during the surgery. Whenever I would stand up, the gas would rise up, causing pain in my shoulder and collarbone. This made it tough to walk around the hospital floor, which is necessary during recovery.
I’ve been told that the gas pain affects people in varying degrees, and that smaller people might be affected more. I’m not a large person, so there may be some truth in that. I did make the mistake of eating too much (My appetite was great!) after the surgery, and that’s not good because my digestive system wasn’t working very well due to the anesthesia.
What was your recovery like at home?
The first few days were pretty painful, primarily from the bloating and gas pain. That slowly improved and completely went away in about 12 days. I was able to walk around and was pretty self-sufficient at home. I had constipation (apparently from the pain medication), which was not pleasant, but that slowly improved as well.
What was the most difficult part of recovery?
Definitely the gas pain. Secondly, the fatigue. I don’t think that went away until several months had passed.
When did you return to work?
Two weeks after surgery. I was feeling pretty well by that time, although I continued to experience fatigue for quite a while.
How long was the process from making the first contact about donating until your surgery
About three months.
Is there anything about being a kidney donor that's surprised you?
It continues to surprise me that many people think of it as this huge deal that they would never consider. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad, and after the recovery period, I’d never even know I donated.
Would you do it again?
Absolutely. It was the right decision to help Noreene extend her life.