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1st Kidney-versary

May 3, 2009 9 comments

It’s hard to believe, but it was exactly 1 year ago that I received my kidney transplant!

I’ve been very fortunate. The only “issue” I had was anemia for the first 6 months, which turned out to be drug induced (either the Valcyte or the Dapsone), but once I stopped those in November, my blood counts returned to my baseline.  Oh, and of course there was the dreaded HIV scare, but that was nothing more than a “scare” (all because someone ordered the wrong lab work).

Through all of those years of gradually going into kidney failure, and then dialysis, the difference is striking. The mental fog of kidney failure is a memory (pun intended), I’m off all blood pressure meds for the first time in almost 20 years, I can drink an many fluids as I want now, I can eat foods with phosphorous and potassium without having to worry about limiting them or taking pills to prevent absorption,  I don’t need naps anymore, and I haven’t had severe muscle cramps since being on dialysis (muscle cramps from dialysis are one of only 2 types of pain that has ever brought tears to my eyes; the other was when I had ruptured kidney cysts).

Of course, nothing is guaranteed, and someday I may very well return to going back on dialysis,  but for now, I’m enjoying my new life.  And again, many thanks to the family of my deceased donor for choosing to donate her organs upon her death.

Transplant Story

January 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Yesterday at work, I met a nurse who was giving us an in-service on various procedures we are required to do (glucose meter, urine pregnancy testing, code cart, etc).

She approached me about a project I was working on prior to my transplant, and as we got to talking, I mentioned that I had a kidney transplant last May.

She told me that her family was “an organ donation family”, and further elaborated that her son Jacob had died recently (within the past 2 years IIRC), and the family donated his organs.

I knew the “story” behind this from before, but had forgotten the details.

Jacob died in an ATV accident, and was a patient in our clinic (his doctor, Dr. T, was a member of his church). A week or two after his funeral, his mother was talking to someone at work who told her that Donald, one of the resident physicians here who had been waiting for a heart, had received his transplant. He apparently contracted a viral infection that caused major damage to the muscle of the heart, and he spent a good deal of time in a Philadelphia hospital bed waiting for a transplant.

Donald was a member of Jacob’s church, so the family knew him. Jacob’s mom said “wouldn’t it be something if Donald received Jacob’s heart”. Well, it turns out that he DID receive Jacob’s heart.

But the story doesn’t end there. It turns out that Jacob had actually had a “sick” visit at the clinic a year or so before, and Donald was the doctor that treated him.

Next, the priest from their church was attending a church conference about 90 minutes away, and was doing confessions. He was hearing the confession of a woman, and as they were talking, she mentioned that she had recently received a kidney transplant. She mentioned the age of the donor and the circumstances of his death. The priest quickly figured out that the kidney was from his parishoner, Jacob!

There were several other “coincidences” as well, although Jacob’s mother considers them more than coincidence.

Donald’s friend, whom he was Best Man for at his wedding, is writing a book about all of this. I’ll post the link when it’s published.

*names changed to protect privacy

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