Donor card holders urged to discuss wishes with families

AHEAD of the Irish Kidney Association’s Organ Donor Awareness Week campaign, a Tullamore woman who recently received a kidney has stressed that carrying an organ donor card is not enough.

AHEAD of the Irish Kidney Association’s Organ Donor Awareness Week campaign, a Tullamore woman who recently received a kidney has stressed that carrying an organ donor card is not enough.

Geraldine Murray from Arden Vale told the ‘Offaly Express’ that people must discuss their decision with their family:

Here she tells her story;

“I was ill for a quite a while and unfortunately it wasn’t diagnosed in time so I went into hospital quite ill and I had to get an emergency permcath in, the line in your neck for dialysis. I was in ICU for 12 days and I spent 11 weeks in hospital. Thanks to Dr Bergin, the Nephrologist, he has brought me along so far. I wouldn’t be where I am today only for him. He’s a marvellous man.

Then I started dialysis and it took about a year and a half to bring me up to a stable state that they could even suggest I go on a kidney transplant list. Then I had to do the work up and that takes anything from six months to nine months. You have to have everything done and tested and then you meet the people in Beaumont and they assess you.

I was actually three years and five months on dialysis very very very ill, up and down and up and down. The dialysis kept me going, I had a positive outlook.

I couldn’t have done it without the girls down here in the dialysis unit, they were wonderful. I could talk to them about anything I wanted if I had a worry, they were there for me. They kept me going each and every one of them, the caring nurses, the staff, everybody in general I couldn’t single them out.

There is an awful misconception out there about dialysis, people don’t realise that we have a state of the art unit in Tullamore. It’s marvellous for the people who need to use it.

There are people who need to travel to Beaumont and Tallaght and God knows dialysis is hard enough without that. It’s an excellent unit and very well run.

Then I got excepted onto the list. You know the way you think everything happens everyone else but not me. I always had at the back of my mind I might and I mightn’t get one. I had my case packed for two years. I got the call at 4.45am in early February and we took it from there.

Another issue from dialysis, you just can’t eat everything. It’s quite strict. There are loads of things you can’t have, simple things like a banana, peas, beans, mushrooms, ice cream. You had to boil your potatoes twice to take the phosphate out of them and you could only have a third of a pint of milk and if I had a yoghurt in the morning I couldn’t have cheese in the evening. It was all a balancing act.

You would get your bloods done once a month and Dr Bergin would work from there and see how your were fixed. The diet was very important.

It’s wonderful to be able to eat everything. The first thing I had was a banana the morning after I had my operation on my weetabix and I thought it was just gorgeous, it was such a treat. I came home then I had peas and beans and I’m eating them like they are going to go our of fashion. I’m doing very well. The people in Beaumont do wonderful work, but they cant do the work if they don’t get the donors.

I couldn’t stress that enough, it’s important that people at least think about it and go and get one. It’s not sufficient to get one, you must discuss it with your family and your loved ones. Otherwise it’s no good just getting it and signing it and leaving it there because your wishes wont be carried out when you pass on. Sit down and discuss it with your family. The joy and the happiness and the new life it brings to people, if you could see it is just unreal. Words can’t express the difference it makes to people’s lives, the happiness in that ward that I was in was infectious.

I am going to write to the donor’s family. We are asked to leave it about three months. I think it will be a difficult letter to write but at the same time I have it all in my head what I want to say and I’m looking forward to doing it. I never forget the donor I think of them every time I put my hand down to my kidney, I feel it and I say it’s wonderful and they are never out of my mind. Nor are the people who helped me. You couldn’t do it alone but you have to put a bit of work in yourself. You have to think positive, there are lots of ups and downs but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I’ve been married to Benny for 40 years. He looks after me, he has been wonderful, I couldn’t have done it without him. He has been with me every step of the way. He brought me to dialysis for three and half years, three days a week in hail, rain and snow. Mornings you wouldn’t put a dog out he’s been there for me. He comes to Dublin with me on all my trips. He does my shopping for me. We don’t have children and my family don’t live around so I am depending on him solely.

So whatever I need, whatever has to be got, scripts and clothes, you name it. He’s a great little shopper. He surprises me everytime he comes home with something nice. Another good friend of ours is Jerome Burke, an organ recipient himself, he’s been there for me, himself and Kay, if I had any problems. I’d like to thank him.

The facilities here. I know if it doesn’t bother you, you are not aware of things but just think about the fantastic facilities that are here and the wonderful people.

I’d like to thank Dr Bergin, he’s a wonderful man. He’s the most kind, caring person you could deal with. He wouldn’t frighten or upset you. He’s a gentleman. He’s been so good to me he has brought me along. If you saw how sick I was and to think I’ve come this far to have been able for such a procedure, it was all thanks to him. Also you have Noreen and Brendan at the unit and all the nurses. I’ll be forever in their debt.

I love to sit and look out at the sun and think about the things I’ll be able to do.”

Offaly launch of Organ Donor Awareness Week

THE Offaly launch of the IKA Organ Donor Awareness Week takes place in the Tullamore Court Hotel this Thursday, March 31. Organ Donor Awareness Week runs from Saturday, April 2 to 9.

There are currently 95 patients receiving dialysis treatmentat the Midlands Regional Hospital Tullamore and 13 people are travelling from the midlands area to Dublin hospitals for dialysis treatment.