Word has been spreading about our documentary. Today, I logged into the email account I set up for it, and caught up on the emails. One of them was about a woman’s uncle who donated to her father (donor’s brother) in 1980. His name is Guy and he is now 72 years old. He was 40 when he donated, just like me!
Sadly, though the surgery was a success, his brother’s PKD didn’t take too kindly to the new kidney. He never made it out of intensive care and died right away. As he told me this, I broke down on the phone. I took a couple deep breaths, because I didn’t want him to hear me upset. Here’s a 72-year old man, who just got home for the day, talking to a stranger on the phone about something he did over 30 years ago.
I asked him some basic questions about the surgery. He was in the hospital for 2 to 3 weeks. WEEKS! I was only there for 2 DAYS! He’s also got a pretty big scar. They used to take the kidney right out of your back, and the scar cut across the ribs. The healing from that was pretty brutal. He was back to work right when he left the hospital, but his soreness lingered for several months.
He’s not comfortable being filmed, and I’m ok with that. It was, however, great to talk to someone who had donated so long ago and is still living a happy, healthy life. He’s had one kidney since 1980.
People ask me a lot how I would have felt if TinyMom never went home after the surgery. I can’t bear to think about it. It’s not that I would think my kidney was wasted, which people ask me about a lot. It’s just that she’s my mom and I wouldn’t want to think anything badly about the donation process. I guess we were pretty lucky, but these surgeries are successful every day.
Don’t be scared. Guy’s 72!