Just had phone call from the hospital. Problem with Phil’s blood test from yesterday. Looks like a new infection and we have to go to Great Ormond Street.
He’ll need a dose of IV antibiotics and more blood tests, and then surgery in next couple of days to remove infected catheter.
He’s happily playing on his brand new Wii with his brother. Haven’t had the heart to tell him yet…
You haven’t changed much in 9 years, have you?! Always my precious boys…and we ARE going to get through this. Love from Dad xoxox
Today marks Phil and Chris’ 9th birthday…and exactly a week until the transplant. Right now they are in the lounge, happily opening their presents, laughing at the big birthday banner Anne and I made late last night.
This time next week will be a different matter. Chris will no longer be living with us, having gone off to his new family at the weekend. I will be going into the operating theatre at Guy’s about now. Phil will be in Great Ormond Street with Anne at his bedside starting a long, crucial, anxious day.
Today is a day of celebration. Let’s hope that we will also have something to celebrate at the end of next Tuesday. That would be the best present this family could ever have…
I have been given a leaflet by the surgeons at Guy’s Hospital about the donor’s operation. Its full name is ‘hand assisted laparoscopic donor nephrectomy’. The headline font is much larger than it need be, with the result that it screams the name of the procedure at you in a slightly scary way. But what it actually translates to is a) key-hole surgery to ‘disconnect’ the kidney and b) abdominal surgery so the surgeon can literally go in with his/her hand to pull it out once it’s ‘loose’.
From its pioneering origins in the 1950s, it has become a procedure conducted at a number of centres around the UK, and all over the world. It is not completely without its risks, of course: as with all surgical procedures, there are the risks associated with reactions to anaesthesia, bleeding, blood clots and infections. There is also the risk of ‘collateral damage’ to neighbouring organs or of a hernia developing.
However, overall it has an excellent record, takes about 3 hours to perform, and the donor can leave the hospital after about 5 days.
The benefits to the recipient are immeasurable of course, and there are some remarkable stories of ‘altrustic donors’ – people who donate anonymously – including an 83-year old British man who did precisely this last year.
Of course we don’t all have to go to such lengths to help children and other people in need of a transplant. We can simply register to donate after we die. Each year, a staggering number of people lose their fight for life because they failed to get an organ in time. We can stop these needless deaths – visit http://www.organdonation.nhs.uk for more information.