A couple days ago I posted a letter we received from the donor recipient of Rehtaeh’s heart. This post is from a recipient of one of her kidneys.
We’ve become friends since then and I’m grateful for his kindness and support. Today is also his birthday.
Written on Facebook on the 10th of April, 2018. Shared with permission.
As I recall, it’s around 11:30 PM on Mon. April 8th. Had just finished watching the evening news, and Tara and I were heading for bed. Karma and Kala our puppies were in their kennels, and Tara was doing her puzzles before calling it a night.
Around 3 AM, I got up and went into the living room. Had restless leg syndrome because of end stage renal failure. The dogs heard me and wanted to be with me, so I let them out and they came and sat with me on the couch. One on each side of me, looking for some love.
Had the TV on really low, so as not to wake Tara. At 4:09 AM the phone rang and I grabbed it on the second ring.
It was Betty Anne, the transplant coordinator, calling from St. John. Her exact words to me were”Terry, I’m not sure if you want to take this call from me”?
My reply to her was “As long as you keep calling, I’ll keep going”.
She informed me that there was a Kidney waiting for me in Halifax and to get my ass in gear. Tara was already awake and came out to the living room where I was sitting with a huge grin on my face.
Tara and I had been to Halifax on three separate occasions, for the same reason, transplant. That is why Betty Anne said what she said. Tara made one call to (a friend). She looked after the puppies when we went to Halifax before.
We were on the road by 6:00 AM. We were getting really experienced at this. We arrive in Halifax by 11:30 and went to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The Victoria site. Took the elevator up to the 6th floor, and went to the nurses station at the transplant unit.
There were a group of nurses and Dr. Lowen, my surgeon standing there. I dropped my bag on the floor to get their attention. They looked at me and I said, “Which one of you gets to give me the bad news this time?” Referring to the three previous trips.
Lowen looked at me and said, “You’er going nowhere, we’ve got a keeper,” referring to the kidney. He also informed me the transplant would take place the following evening.
April 10th, my birthday. Here I was turning 63, and my gift was to be a life sustaining kidney.
Seeing as the transplant was taking place the next day, Tara took me for a birthday lunch at Your Father’s Moustache on Spring Garden Rd.
I was to find out later that was Rehtaeh’s favourite spot in Halifax.
As I sit here in tears, remembering the situation that took place, I am humbled to recall the extraordinary story that became a huge part of my life.
This was five yrs ago and it seems like it was just yesterday. Joyful and bittersweet at the same time.
Turning 68 on the 10th probably wouldn’t have happened had Leah Parsons and Glen Canning not signed the necessary documentation to have their daughter’s vital organs harvested for transplant.
Five different people are sharing the same experience as me. My life since the transplant has been magic.
Growing old for me is something I didn’t expect. It’s a gas. 70’s creeping in.
To my family, friends, and the whole Parsons and Canning families, thank you from a very grateful and humbled senior.
Happy Birthday Terry!