Thursday, 4 April 2013

Organ Donation - Please Sign Up!

Five years ago today at 4:50am I got a telephone call from the Organ donation team at the Churchill Hospital. They had a kidney which may be suitable for me. This was the third time I'd received the call during my four years on haemodialysis.
Jamie and I got to the hospital as quickly as possible. I had an x-ray, a myriad of blood tests and various other tests to be sure that I would be healthy enough to receive the transplant.
I had a final dialysis session in the afternoon and then tried to sleep as the operation wasn't going to happen till later in the evening. I went down to the operating theatre at about 11pm. The next thing I remember was waking back in my room; full of tubes and exhausted. Only then did I know for sure that the transplant had gone ahead!

My kidney didn't start working straight away, so unfortunately that wasn't my final dialysis session. I was allowed home a week after the operation but had to return to the Churchill initially daily and then every couple of days.

In all the time I was ill, the 4 weeks after the operation was the worst time. Every visit to the Churchill involved a blood test; a wait for the result and then the massive disappointment when I saw that the results weren't good so I had to have another 4 hour dialysis session. Then I needed a blood transfusion - I was depressed as I felt I was worse off after the transplant.

However, after 4 weeks, the results began to improve a bit. I didn't need dialysis but did need to be careful with my diet and drink plenty - hard after being on restricted fluids for 4 years.

Within 3 months I was feeling reasonably normal and only visiting the hospital every weeks. I returned to work 4 months after my transplant. Within 6 months the appreciation of the transplant really kicked in. From then on I realised exactly how much better my life is without dialysis.

I continue to see my consultant every two/three months and my kidney function remains stable. I met someone at the hospital the other day who has had their kidney for 37 years, so I'm fully expecting mine to keep me going for a long time yet!

Thank you organ donors and the NHS - I know where I'd be without you!

Organ Donation Community

 

4 comments:

  1. Fantastic to be reminded and to see how far you have come.

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  2. You should have put - "and after 9 months, all I talked about was food - which my sister couldn't understand because I had never been very interested in food - until we all realised it was because you were feeling WELL for the first time in years!!

    Five years - can't believe it!!

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    Replies
    1. Ah, yes. And that unfortunately explains why I've gained more than 15kg in 5 years :-/

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Belinda