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Rick's Story

This story, however, is about that other wedding vow: “through sickness and in health.”
I frequently joked with my wife of 42 years about our wedding vows, particularly the part about “love, honour and OBEY.” Suzanne would immediately respond with a reminder that there never was any “OBEY.” She should know, she’s an Anglican priest who has performed many wedding ceremonies.

This story, however, is about that other wedding vow: “through sickness and in health.”

My wife gave me a kidney.

I had been experiencing kidney disease for over 40 years, but the symptoms only became a problem in recent years. My creatinine level, a measure of kidney failure, had risen to over 500 and my overall kidney function had gone down to 9%. Doctors advised that there were only two options: dialysis or transplant.

Suzanne had always been very healthy but we had no idea about her blood type or whether she would ultimately be a match. She immediately offered to find out. After 18 months of testing, investigation and counselling at Hamilton’s St. Joseph’s hospital, we heard the result. 

By luck and coincidence, I had the good fortune of falling in love with a gal who turned out to be a kidney match.

The transplant was scheduled for March 10, 2021.
The night before we prayed together in the hospital. 

The next day Suzanne went in first. Before she was finished, they rolled me into the waiting area. I was drugged up pretty well. When I eventually went into the operating room, I had no time to ask about Suzanne. They put me under almost immediately.

I woke up the next morning feeling quite groggy.

I immediately asked about Suzanne. The nurse pointed to the white board on the wall. The message was from my daughter Jenny: ‘DAD, MOM IS DOING GREAT! WE LOVE YOU!!’ Terrific news.

That first day of recovery was dominated by discomfort, intravenous fluids, swelling and endless medication. Surprisingly however, very little pain. The great news was that my creatinine level had already dropped to 112.
The pattern continued over the next week with the addition of visits from several doctors, a pharmacist, a physiotherapist, a dietitian, a social worker, and a chaplain. 

Eight days later I was discharged with a massive amount of information including; pages of documents about the medication I was to take, a binder full of background information about life with a kidney transplant and lists of follow-up appointments. 

I can say without hesitation that I was treated royally at the hospital. The staff were great, from the cleaners to the doctors, and especially the daily nurses. They were all friendly, positive and supportive.

The real hero of this story however is my wife Suzanne. Did I luck out! 

So, if you want to be a hero like Suzanne, and save a life, consider a kidney donation.
By the way – there is no more joking around about “OBEY.”