This past Thursday (July 27th) I was invited by the Transplant Coordinator at the Transplant Center at Yale New Haven Hospital to attend a press conference to announce and celebrate the success of an 18 patient – 9 way kidney transplant exchange that the Transplant Center completed over two weeks in May/June! It is a truly remarkable story and the largest transplant chain ever completed in Connecticut. There were some great individual stories, but one lady in the chain was receiving her third transplanted kidney. Her husband was a donor and they had donors/recipients from New Hampshire, New York City and as far as Florida. Unlike my exchange that had all 8 surgeries in one day, they had to do this exchange over about 2 weeks because of the logistics involved with scheduling patients, surgeons, Operating Rooms etc.. It was great to see many of the people who worked on me two and a half years ago. Also I spoke with one of the surgeons and he was saying how they learned so much from our 4 way exchange that they used in this exchange – especially to not do the press conference the week after the transplant when everyone is still recovering from surgery. I also had the chance to talk with the surgeon that operated on me, Dr. David Mulligan (Head of the Transplant Center) and Dr. Sanjay Killkarney, the surgeon that removed Meg’s kidney. I had planned to quietly sneak out after seeing my Doctors, but as I looked to the door I saw Patricia Menno-Coveney, the altruistic donor that donated her kidney to me!
For more information about this extraordinary transplant chain you can read about it at the following link.
It was great to see Patricia! Unless you have tried to live with kidney failure or experienced life on Dialysis, it is hard to describe the feelings I have for Patricia. We also spent time being introduced by the Transplant Coordinator, Joyce Albert, to several of the donors/recipients in the saga and some of the administrators of the Yale Health System. We also had a chance to meet the lady that started this transplant chain. She was an altruistic donor, and she and her wife, who also donated a kidney about a year ago, both got inspired by hearing about Patricia and our transplant exchange. It was very humbling to spend time with these three ladies who selflessly donated. We were also interviewed as a group and while I tried to just stand there I did tell them they will never know the extent to which they have improved the quality of life for their respective recipients. Patricia and I did get to have a nice visit where we mainly talked about our families. She also wanted to know about the HGTV Dream Home hoopla. She had read about it in a Connecticut Paper and then saw the TV show. The whole day was a great experience and hopefully there will be more transplants to come because of the great press that they receive from these events.
It has been over a month since I have posted and I feel guilty because I don’t have a great reason for not posting, it’s just that I have been preoccupied with all that I have going on with my life. The whole family went to Houston, Texas last month for my nephew Andy Huber wedding to Sarah Bean Huber. We had a very nice time. This was Meg’s side of the family and everyone is very spread apart, living in New England, West Virginia, Houston, Santa Barbara, & China! We seem to only get together at weddings now and of the five cousins, three are now married (Christine, Kate & Andy) and two hopefully will get married (Tommy & Carolyn). Once everyone is married we will have to come up with another reason to get together – family reunion, family vacation – something along those lines that everyone can come to.
The boat continues to be a lot of fun for us. It is both relaxing and exciting at the same time. Griffin is starting to really enjoy the boat and he really likes swimming. He now just leaps in the water off the back swim deck without a second thought, but only when someone is already in the water, he doesn’t want to be the first. We haven’t been out as much as we would like but we have gotten out a couple of times with Carolyn, once with Kate and Kenny and a couple of times just by ourselves. We have finally gained enough confidence in our abilities with the boat that we have started inviting friends out with us. We would like to get out more but we are still dealing with a lot of house issues that probably won’t be finished before the boating season ends.
Our house projects continue to move along, but not as quickly as we would like. In June we completed all of the work for the addition and the painting but we were still with our old furniture. During the first week of July we received part of our furniture order. Apparently the love seat wouldn’t fit on the truck and the was damaged, so they had to fix it or make a new one, and the recliners were not yet made. The pieces we received looked very nice but we want the rest of the furniture. We also had the dining room painted in June, but now all the furniture that was in the living room is in the dining room waiting to be picked up. We finally decided (well my wife decided) on curtains and we have those up in both the living room and the dining room. This week our front steps and walkway were completed. Hiring a mason was much more involved than I thought. I talked with four and had bids all over the place. We finally decided on a local Shelton company that had thirty years of experience. We are very happy with the results. Next week we will finish the siding and that will leave us only with the driveway, which we are thinking about different options.
So on the medical front I have not had many problems lately. I did finally see a doctor at the transplant center. I had been seeing PA’s and Nurses, and while they probably know as much or more than the nephrologist, it was nice to see the doctor. My creatinine continues to be very good at 1.01 (it was 13 at the time of my transplant). They are concerned about my BP and I am to start seeing my Cardiologist again. I also saw my Rheumatologist about my knees and mainly because the transplant center refused to renew the script anymore. After my transplant they had to be in charge of all my medications and which specialists I saw, now they have released me from that and won’t renew my meds, except for the anti-rejection meds. There were no real changes in my arthritis in my knees, they still hurt! He did give me some new stretching exercises for them and he renewed my prescription for Tramadol. I have to now schedule my eye doctor (I hate the eye doctor) and my Cardiologist.