Page 13 - Support Magazine Winter 2017
P. 13

Mary’s story

                             ne morning, in May 2015, I awoke with an   From day one the transplant co-ordinators and
                             overwhelming sense that I should offer to  transplant team were kind and welcoming,
                             be tested as a possible kidney donor for  always reassuring me that if at any stage, right up
                        ODan Shiel. It was totally out of the blue and  to surgery time, I changed my mind there was no
                        a thought that I tossed aside as quickly as I could.  problem. They were extremely anxious to ensure
                        After all there was no possible way I could be a  I was under no pressure to donate. Dan and Hazel
                        match or compatible. If we were related to each  deliberately avoided contacting me so that I
                        other of course I wouldn’t hesitate, but Dan was  would never feel obliged or pressurised to
                        a total stranger. I had met him at his fiancée’s  continue. Every precaution was taken from
                        birthday party, and following his diagnosis asked  beginning to end to make sure that this kidney
                        about his health, now and again, when chatting  donation was freely made with no payment
                        to her mother but otherwise I knew nothing    sought or received and that no pressure or
                        about him.                                    obligation was felt to follow through with the
                           Hazel’s family and my husband have been    surgery.
                        good friends and neighbours for over fifty years,  On March 20th, 2016, Dan and I were
                        and when I moved down the lane thirty odd years  admitted to Beaumont for surgery the following
                        ago I was still included in that warm circle. So  day. The hospital chaplain visited me and very
                        when the notion of donation kept nudging me,  kindly prayed with, and for me. I slept soundly,
                                       topped with a huge certainty   never doubting that this was the right thing to
                                       that I was to trust in God’s will,  do. Around eight o’clock in the morning I was
                                       I finally made contact with Hazel  wheeled into theatre still reassured that it was
                                       on May 23rd and offered to be  okay to change my mind. Kindness and
                                       tested. And from there on began  professionalism reassuringly surrounded me.
                                       a long, but very worthwhile and  After the surgery the care and comfort I
                                       fulfilling journey.            received was amazing. I felt shattered and
                                         With Dan’s consent I         vulnerable but, at the same time, nurtured and
                                       contacted the Beaumont         cosseted. I was reassured that Dan’s surgery had
                                       transplant co-ordinators and,  been successful and the kidney was functioning.
                                       having confirmed that my blood  The day after surgery Dan himself came to visit
                                       group was suitable, the ball was  me – he looked far better than I and positively
                                       rolling for a non-related kidney  glowed with pride at his kidney’s performance.
                                       donation. Questionnaires were  The sense of joy and pride I felt could not be
                                       forwarded for completing,      measured. To see the result of the donation so
                                       supporting documentation       quickly and at first hand was an absolute gift.
                                       supplied and appointments        My family got to know Dan during our time
                                       made and kept for a battery of  together in hospital and a relationship was quickly
                        tests and examinations. Every few months I was  established. And that really was the icing on the
                        recalled for further blood, urine tests and tissue  cake – we received far more than we gave
                        typing. The transplant team were adamant that  because not only have we the knowledge that on
                        my children were informed and consulted (a step  this occasion we did the right thing, and gained a
                        I had been reluctant to take so early in the  new and lasting friendship into the bargain but
                        journey in order to protect them from worrying)  also, as a family, we experienced at first hand the
                        and that my husband would attend for a meeting  blessing and miracle that comes from organ
                        so that his support could be confirmed.       donation – it was like observing a bloom open
                           Well into the journey we met the welfare   into its full glory. That was a wonderful gift to us.
                        officer and psychologist for assessment of my   Six weeks after surgery I visited Beaumont
                        state of mind and to ensure we understood the  hospital for my post-op check up and was
                        possible risks, the surgical procedure,       greeted like an old friend by the staff. By that
                        recuperation process and supports necessary at  stage I had fully recovered and was bouncing with
                        home throughout. More blood and urine tests   energy. Every year I will receive a recall
                        followed and, finally, the appointment arrived to  appointment to see a Consultant Nephrologist –
                        meet the surgeon. It looked like the end of the  the care continues long after the surgery.
                        road might be in sight.                         This is a journey I will never regret, but rather
                           Dan and I were asked to attend together for  will always treasure. I would like to take this
                        final testing and, at last, we were told that unless  opportunity to thank each and every member of
                        there was a change to the antibody situation we  the transplant co-ordination, surgical, nursing,
                        were compatible. Ten months from the start of  welfare and psychological teams for their
                        the journey the surgery took place.           professionalism, wisdom and kindness.

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