How do you prepare?
Here are some things you can do while you wait for an organ transplant.
- Be sure to go to all of your doctor appointments.
You may also need to get regular blood tests and meet with your transplant team.
- Continue to take your medicines as prescribed.
Let your doctor know if you're having any problems with medicines.
- Stay up to date with your routine health care.
This includes well visits to your primary care doctor. It also includes things like vaccines and eye exams. If you need dental work, try to get it done as soon as possible. Let the transplant team know of any changes to your health.
- Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant.
This could affect your ability to get a transplant.
- Follow your doctor's directions for eating and exercising.
If you want help to get to a weight that's healthy for you, you could see a dietitian. Your doctor can recommend one.
- Take care of your mental health.
Waiting for a transplant can be hard. A psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed mental health counselor can offer support during this time. And they can help you prepare for the transplant. You could also join a transplant support group.
- Don't use alcohol, drugs, tobacco, or nicotine.
If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor or counselor.
- Learn more about what to expect before and after a transplant.
You could talk to someone who has had a transplant. Your transplant center or doctor can give you the name of someone who is willing to share their experience with you. The transplant center may have you practice what to do when an organ becomes available.
- Prepare an advance directive if you don't already have one.
It lets your doctor and loved ones know your health care wishes. It can include a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care.
- Be ready for the call.
Always have your phone close by, charged and turned on, so the transplant center can contact you when an organ is available. If you can, give the transplant center the name and number of a few people who know how to reach you.
- Arrange for someone to go with you to the transplant center.
They can support you by giving you a ride and remembering important instructions. They can also look for any symptoms or changes in behavior that you may have before or after the transplant.
- Plan for other help you may need.
You may want help with childcare, pet care, or house-sitting while you're gone. You may need to arrange for someone to help you after the surgery. Many transplant centers require this help. It could be a family member, friend, or neighbor.
- Have a suitcase packed to take with you to the transplant center.
You could bring pajamas, eyeglasses, your medical records, and other important things. Your support person may also want to have a bag packed.
Where can you learn more?
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