For my 66th birthday a few months ago, I got something that I had wanted and needed for at least 15 months: a new kidney.
At 4 a.m. on Presidents Day, my phone vibrated and blinked – it was the transplant center at Ohio State University’s Wexner Center. You had a donor kidney ready and how quickly could I get there? My wife Jackie and I were so excited; We bundled up and walked down the pristine, snow-covered streets on a journey that would change our lives.
Bala greeted us at 4:59 a.m. in the swirling winds and snow. Around noon I had a new kidney.
In the previous operation, a doctor was particularly nice and attentive, and I asked her if she would be operated on with me.
“No,” she said, “I have to get another kidney.” She is forever the true wonder woman for me.
This wonderful, generous donor left two kidneys behind. The other recipient of the “sister organ” was released in a few days.
My new kidney started slowly. “It sleeps,” they said. The transplant team decided to go back inside, flush, bathe and wake her up. You were successful! My donor saved at least two lives.
I woke up around 4 a.m. on February 19th, my birthday. My night nurse and a cohort had made a happy birthday sign for me! It was strung up with a tube of oxygen tubing (they even had the ends curled up like you could do with tape)! These were the best and nicest nurses ever! I can’t think of a better birthday present than my new kidney – a true gift of life.
And even among all of the hospitalized rock star medics listed here, the donor is the real star of the show. What a selfless, generous, and great thing.
I hope to learn a lot more about my donor and give some comfort to the grieving family. One can only imagine the grief and grief of the family. Hopefully it gives them comfort and pride in knowing a recipient, and maybe even satisfaction in knowing that their loved one has saved (at least) two lives.
I want them to know that I have more time for my three grandchildren, two of whom have arrived in 2020.
More time with Jackie enjoying our deck, pool, and boxer.
Another season of golf balls being chased around.
More time with my own family.
All due to the selfless sacrifice of a stranger. It’s an absolute miracle if you ask me. May the donor’s family find some consolation in all of these truths.
At my first follow-up appointment, I saw my surgeon. She asked if I remember asking them just before they got me out, “Are you a Steelers fan?” She laughed and said no, but her brother is a huge Cleveland Browns fan.
In the anesthetic haze, I saw that she had studied in Pittsburgh and mentioned that I was a lifelong fan of Browns (#onebeforeIdie). We laughed. I am grateful for the prospect of more good Browns seasons.
We need to remember that all of these great nursing and doctoral theses took place under the limits, constraints, and stresses of the global pandemic. It didn’t seem to bother this wonderful team. They followed the logs to a T; I felt so safe all the time.
COVID was a simple fact, another obstacle; But as always, these healers made no excuses. Always on track to fix problems, they worked intelligently until an obstacle was removed.
The team at the transplant center couldn’t have been more amazing, and I am grateful that I have come under the care of these brilliant and kind nurses and doctors, many of whom I have listed here, every day.
I know a lot of people consider Buckeye athletics to be nationally elitist, innovative, and sophisticated – and they are. But in my opinion, they don’t have anything in the transplant center at Ohio State University’s Wexner Center. I will never forget my experience there and will sing their praises for the rest of my blessed life.
Please remember to be an organ donor.
Jeff Mitton, 66, lives in Galloway
At a glance
For more information on organ donation, visit Donate Life Ohio, https://www.donatelifeohio.org/ and Lifeline of Ohio, https://lifelineofohio.org/, Wexner Medical Center, https://wexnermedical.osu.edu / transplant / buckeye-for-life, Ohio Life Connection, https://lifeconnection.org/facts/
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