Matt’s Dad: From A Donor’s Point of View

 by Matt’s Dad

When I first learned that Matthew had been diagnosed with renal failure, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  After all, we’d been through all this once before hadn’t we.  After we found that my wife was pregnant we eagerly awaited her first scan, but it was soon evident that not all was quite in order. At that stage we were not told anything but eventually we learned that the baby appeared to have an abnormality in one kidney.  This proved to be the case, and at about three and a half years old it had to be removed and Matt was given the all clear.

So next came some animated discussion between my wife and me as to who should offer themself up as his donor.  The obvious answer was of course both of us, which we did. However, the field was soon reduced to one runner as my wife was diagnosed as being in the early stages of Type 2 diabetes.

So, it was off to Southmead for me, to undergo seemingly ever more frequent and ever more intrusive tests for suitability.  This all worked out well for us and I was given a great deal of counselling and reassurance from all quarters, but especially from the Transplant Co-ordinator.  This however did not prevent what might best be described as a slight brown adrenalin rush as I was being prepared for theatre!  This got the poor Co-ordinator into bother as the theatre staff thought I had been inadequately advised during the counselling.  Not so.  It was purely a last minute panic attack on my part.

All went well for us both though and we were soon in the 4 bed high dependency ward.  Here, since I was on one side and Matt was on the other, I watched throughout the day with fascination as his urine bag filled to bursting time and time again as his body began to flush out the build-up of toxins. In parallel with this, his colour slowly changed.  He began to lose the jaundiced yellow tinge that we had become used to seeing.  This was almost magical to behold, almost on a par with being present the birth of a child. From this point onwards, except for some fairly minor setbacks, Matt has gone from strength to strength.

I have no idea if anyone at all will ever read this, but if anyone who is considering becoming a donor does so, I can promise you this.  If you go ahead with it and the result is only half as good as my/our experience it will be a highlight in your life.  I doubt you will ever do anything else that is so rewarding. And don’t forget, the technology is improving every day.  Southmead are successfully doing stuff now that they would not have attempted a few years ago.

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