The Star-Herald

A new chapter

After seven-plus years of dialysis I now have a new kidney. 

Dialysis happens when your kidneys fail to filter out the toxins that are produced or ingested by your body.

Two very large needles are placed into a special blood vessel called a fistula that has been created just for this purpose. A vein and an artery are physically connected so that the two needles are able to take blood out, clean it, and then return the clean blood back to it. This allows people to continue to live. Without dialysis you die soon after your kidneys die. It is a difficult disease to treat.

Fluids are always limited because the machine can only remove a small mount of fluid. If your kidneys are working, that extra fluid would mean another trip to the toilet during the day.

At 6:30 on Saturday, July 3, the phone call came. Twelve hours later I was in Boston at the top transplant hospital in New England. The following morning, July 4, the new organ was put in. What followed was 10 days of thrilling adventure recovering from the surgery.

A transplant requires that anti-rejection drugs be used. One’s body does not like new and improved. It takes time to adjust the level of these drugs to safely protect the patient and the organ. Otherwise it’s dialysis again or death.

Many of my readers have been aware of the issue. I will be explaining more about this process in future columns. 

Take a moment and bless the family that allowed the death of their pride and joy to bring joy to another; making it possible for a new lease on life in a bleak moment going from lightning bolts to rainbows.

Enjoy the day and celebrate the exuberance of life in The County.

Orpheus Allison is a photojournalist living in The County who graduated from UMPI and earned a master of liberal arts degree from the University of North Carolina. He began his journalism career at WAGM television later working in many different areas of the US. After 20 years of television he changed careers and taught in China and Korea.

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