“I am not righteous, brave nor tough”

Name: Pernilla Andersson
Age: 52.
Lives: Malmköping.
Occupation: Training to be a nurse.
Story: Has donated a kidney anonymously to an unknown recipient.                                                     

Pernilla Andersson. Photo: Emelie Otterbeck
Pernilla Andersson. Photo: Emelie Otterbeck

“Many years ago, I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across a text from a woman who was waiting for a kidney. She was on dialysis and was not able to travel nor do fun activates with her children. The text stuck with me. I thought of all the fun things I have gotten to do with my five children and wanted to help her. I spontaneously sent her a message on Facebook, asking if she wanted my kidney.

This was the start of my donation process. She eventually received a kidney from someone else, but I had decided to become an anonymous donor.

The investigation took place at Uppsala University Hospital. I was thoroughly examined, both mentally and medically. I was described as very healthy and was approved as a donor. The removal surgery itself was no bother at all. I was admitted the day before and got to stay at the patient hotel. On the day of the surgery, I walked to the hospital at dawn, and the procedure took three hours or so. After two or three days at the hospital, I could return home. I was on sick leave for four weeks. It actually did not hurt.

From what I have heard, the kidney transplant went well. It would be nice to know more, but I understand why that cannot happen: the recipient is not supposed to feel indebted to me. And that is also not necessary, I had already ended my relationship with the kidney, I had decided to give it away.

I now go to annual checkups to have my health and kidney function monitored. This is a good thing. If I was to name something that did not go smoothly, it would be the contact with Försäkringskassan. There were some issues with them. I had multiple employers and that short-circuited their systems.

I hope my story can inspire others. I am neither righteous nor brave nor tough – you can be an ordinary person and donate your kidney anonymously.”

As told to: Annika Lund
First published in Swedish in the magazine Medicinsk Vetenskap no. 2/2020