In 2001, approximately twelve months after the death of my wife from chronic renal failure, I discussed with my adult daughters the matter of organ donation. At that time a good friend was undergoing dialysis treatment. Not wishing his family to undergo the loss of his passing, I decided to donate a kidney.
Following stringent tests, doctors at Princess Alexandra Hospital agreed that my friend and I should 'give it a go despite our ages'. At the time, my friend was seventy four years old. I was seventy six. Our operations took place in 2001 and were conducted by Dr David Nicolon on my friend and Dr David Johnson on myself. Because laparoscopic methods were reasonably new to Queensland at that time and consequently there was a risk that the kidney may be damaged, I opted for the full open surgery. I thought it not worth the risk of donating a damaged kidney.
Early on the morning after our operation, my friend walked into my hospital room and said cheerfully 'the plumbing's working'. It is now some nine years and five months since that day. Despite minor setbacks and the continuing problems associated with anti-rejection drugs, my friend is doing well.
I have absolutely no regrets-on the contrary, I am so glad he has been granted a better way of life. Personally, I have suffered no setbacks, and remain in good health with my eighty fifth birthday due in a couple of weeks. Physically, to this day I have felt no ill effects, I take no medication and truly would never know the operation had happened.
Throughout the period prior to our operation, we received wonderful support from Toowoomba Base Hospital Renal Unit, Sister Lynne Abell and Nephrologist Emily Jones and Princess Alexandra's Professor Campbell and Doctors David Nicol, David Johnson and staff.
Both my friend and myself were given to understand we were Australia's oldest unrelated pair to under go the [kidney transplant] procedure.