Tuesday, 5 April 2016

8 Years and Counting

April 5th 2008 was an important date in my life. I was woken by a phone call at 4:50am and told there was a suitable donor kidney available for me at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford. I had received this call twice before, but on those occasions the kidney turned out to be a more suitable match to other patients than for me. But, with thanks to the generosity of a bereaved family, it really was third time lucky for me. The actual transplant operation didn't take place till after 11:00pm. The recipient of the other available kidney went to theatre earlier in the day. It was a long day, with lots of x-rays, blood tests and other tests to ensure my fitness and suitability to receive the kidney.
I thought this was funny
My new kidney was a slow starter. It was a long 4 weeks of waiting for blood results to improve before I could finally stop haemodialysis. That was probably the worst period during my whole 'kidney failure experience' and I still couldn't eat all those tasty foods that were considered off limits whilst on dialysis for nearly 4 years.
One of my lovely nurses, Raji, connecting me up for a dialysis session
It was during my convalescence that a note was posted through the door asking if we would be interested in an allotment in Hungerford. We knew it would be good to have a more healthy pastime for my new lease of life, rather than playing games on and fiddling with computers. But it was a bit too early to know how I was going to feel after the transplant so we put our names on the list. It was almost a year after my operation that we received an email saying that a new site was opening in Hungerford and there was going to be a 'stone clearing session' and that afternoon we started digging Plot 7 Marsh Lane.
Since the transplant, and having the allotment, Jamie & I have a healthier diet and lifestyle. The transplant improved my appetite (a little too much perhaps!) and the allotment has gone some way to improve our diet.
I have been mostly healthy over the last 8 years (currently 17 tablets a day keep my blood results on track). I check my regular blood test results online through the brilliant PatientView resource which I understand is available to all UK kidney patients and I meet my consultant to discuss how things are going every 3 or 4 months.
Renal Patient View
Please register as an organ donor and let your family and friends know if you want your organs to be used to improve lives, should the worst happen to you. Your memory will live on through your grateful recipients and your legacy can be saving lives.

 

3 comments:

  1. What a difference that kidney has made to both you and jamie's lifestyle!

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  2. Thank you for sharing this lesson.

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  3. What a great post...... so encouraging. I have one of those red cards in my purse at all times.

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Belinda