A little history on my end…I was first introduced to kidney disease when I married my wife Jacquie, she has PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease). She has a slow progressing version, and has been dealing with it since before I got in the picture in 1987.
We knew a transplant would be needed soon, so about 2 years ago we went to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, to get her (us) on the National Kidney Registry. Jacquie is type O, so my kidney was going to go to someone else in need, when the time came. Her current eGFR is slightly higher than the minimum number to qualify for a transplant, so we continue to wait until that number meets the criteria.
In July of 2014 we started thinking about the paired donation/recipient surgery/recovery process, and I realized we would both be in the hospital, and recovering at home at the same time. I asked our coordinator at Sharp if I could donate early, so once Jacquie was ready, I’d be healthy and able to be her “at-home nurse”. We were informed there was nothing in place to accommodate our idea…but somehow those smart guys at NKR put their heads together and figured a way to make it happen… I was placed on the NKR on a Friday July 18th, the following Monday the 21st I got a call from our Sharp Coordinator telling me they found a match, to a patient in Wisconsin (we named him Madison), and surgery was scheduled for August 12, 2014.
We live in Orange County, the surgery scheduled for Tuesday August 12th at 0730 at Sharp in San Diego, they wanted me at the hospital by 0530…I was a little concerned about the trip down, leaving the house no later than 0400. BUT, a room at a hotel within 5 minutes of the hospital was reserved for us by Sharp…and paid for by the Hospital…we arrived at noon on Monday the 11th, checked in and I began the “cleansing” part of the procedure.
Tuesday at 0530 we arrived at the hospital, checked in and went to pre-op. Surgery began at 0800, I was in recovery for a bit then in a private room by 1300. The kidney was boxed up with a GPS and on its way to Madison, Wisconsin at 1100. I had what I would describe as discomfort, not exactly pain. They had me up and “doing laps” in the hallway at 1800.
Wednesday, I could have been discharged and headed for home, but with us living 2 hours away, the decision was made to stay one additional night. I was discharged and headed home on Thursday the 14th.
I was off work for two weeks total, continuing the hourly walks, and rest. I was back to work full time on Monday August 25th.
The entire staff and surgical team, and follow-up medical team at Sharp Memorial are awesome. All the costs for the surgery, my hospital stay, and follow-up appointments were paid by Medicare. I had no out-of-pocket expense.
I recently had my 1-year checkup, and it went really well. The doctor wants to see me one more time in January. My blood pressure is fine, my weight is holding at 175-179; down about 10 lbs. from same time last year. I think I’m in pretty good shape for a 64 year old grandpa. I’m still working full time in the home building industry …looking forward to scaling back in the next 2-3 years.
We have been blessed to get know Madison and his story by an exchange of letters…and knowing that the regiment of three 6-hour dialysis treatments each week and a 4 hour round trip to the dialysis center is no longer part of Madison’s schedule…giving him more time to be a loving husband, father and grandfather… Be a gift of life donor. You have two kidneys.
Unsolicited public service announcement: living donors are needed every day…repeat every day. One in 750 people are born with only one (1) kidney and live full lives. If you have two, and are in good health, I encourage you to consider a living donation…save a life. Jacquie and I are part of the Kidney Support Group at Saddleback Church, if you need any additional information or have any questions regarding the procedure, do not hesitate to give us a call…