By David F. Rooney
Jim Daniel wakes up every day thankful for modern medical technology. And well he should. For years he relied on dialysis to filter the waste his kidneys were unable to handle. It was messy, inconvenient and left him vulnerable to infections.
Like everyone on dialysis he hoped and prayed that a compatible kidney from would show up. He had been on the so-called cadaver list for almost four years but then, on November 26, his prayers were answered. A compatible kidney from a living donor was found.
“My daughter-in-law (Leeta Taylor) and I took part in a paired exchange,” Daniel said. “She went to Montreal and gave a kidney to someone else and I went to St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver for mine.”
The Living Donor Paired Exchange (LDPE) is a kidney transplant registry. The LDPE is a partnership between Canadian Blood Services and provincial transplant programs. The registry facilitates living kidney donations between patients with a willing but incompatible donor and other pairs in the same situation. The program is anonymous and Daniel said he has no idea who his new kidney came from.
Not that it matters. Where he once looked sallow and on some days even a little grey, Daniel now enjoys a fresh, pink and healthy-looking complexion.
“When you’re going through life day-by-day you don’t realize what a difference it makes,” he said. “I had to be hooked up to a machine every night for eight to 10 hours. Now I’m free and that freedom is amazing! I don’t have to go through dialysis every night, I can enjoy things with salt on them, I’ve lost weight and I’m doing exercise — walking and swimming every day.”
He still takes a number of pills every day but he’ll gradually stop taking many of them, although he’ll be on anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life.
“They’ve gotten very good at this,” Daniel said. “I went into the hospital on a Monday and I was out the door on Friday. The care was excellent and I felt the change almost immediately.”
Having a new kidney doesn’t mean he can take risks. An infection could still knock him right off his feet — or worse. Still, he feels great and he is very thankful to the physicians and nurses at St. Paul’s.
“I think I’ve received one of the best Christmas presents I could have wished for,” he said.
Stay healthy, Jim.