Here Is The Story Of My Greatest Gift
We are so sorry to report that Thomas Dennis Bush passed away on Wednesday September 10, 2014.
Memorial visitation is being held on Saturday Sept 20,2014 from 1PM-3PM at Perry Funeral Home 118 Union ave Lynbrook, NY 11563. The telephone number is 516 593-1111.
Online condolences can be made at Perryfh.com
The family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Tom Bush be made to:
PO Box 81
Garden City, NY 11530
The following story was written by Tom Bush.
Twenty five years ago, I knew that I’d one day need a kidney transplant because I had Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), and eventually I would reach end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
The years passed and my blood pressure slowly rose.
The number of drugs I needed to take increased and my creatinine level continued to rise well above normal. Soon it was time to start thinking about going on dialysis.
Along the way I learned of a support group called TRIO, and at the first meeting I attended I met a large number of people with various transplanted organs. I was amazed that transplants were regarded as routine, and tried to find out more about this option.
My wife Anne and I began contacting transplant centers to find out if I was eligible to go on a transplant list. In the process we learned about blood typing, cross matching, tissue typing, antigens, living-related transplants, and living-unrelated transplants.
After finding that the waiting list for a transplant was more than three years, Anne suggested that she would donate a kidney to me. Our blood type matched. We had a negative cross match, which is good, and a three-out-of-six antigen match, which is very good.
On Tues., Feb. 15, 2000 my son Paul and his wife Jen drove us to the medical center. At 9 a.m. Anne went to the operating room to have a laparoscopic nephrectomy (kidney removal). At 2:00 that afternoon I was told they were ready for me to go to surgery.
At about 7:00 in the evening I became aware of noise and lights, and realized I was in the recovery room! Then I remembered that I’d just had a kidney transplant! “How is Anne?” I asked, and I was told that she was okay. By 9:00 that evening Anne and I were in our separate hospital rooms.
The following morning my nurse said she would help me get up and walk. Ha! With a lot of help, I got up. Walk down the hall? You’ve got to be kidding. Back to the bed.
No walking this morning!
As I lay there I looked up to see Anne standing next to my bed. Great! This is too much. That night I got up and made it to Anne’s room, and by Thursday Anne and I were walking the halls together, hand in hand. Soon after that we were back home.
I wish to thank my wife Anne for the greatest gift I will ever receive, that of a continued happy life together. But this is not the end of the story!
My new kidney worked fine for about four years. Then my numbers started to go up. A biopsy determined that I was in chronic rejection. That meant that my kidney was going to fail soon. In June of 2005 I became very ill. Anne took me to the emergency room. My potassium was out of sight. They did a quick hemodialysis and got it down to a reasonable level.
A few days later they removed my transplanted kidney, and I spent the next four weeks in the hospital. I was on hemodialysis for the next few months. In the summer I switched to Peritoneal dialysis.
I registered on the transplant list and it was estimated that the wait would be five years! Two years went by. On Sunday, Jan. 14, 2007 I got a call at 8:00 in the morning, when I was still in bed. It was the transplant surgeon. He said, “I have a perfect match kidney for you from Alaska. How long will it take for you to get to the hospital?”
I told him it would take two hours, and started on my way. As it was a Sunday we were there by 10:00 a.m. By 8:00 that evening I had a new kidney and was back in my room.
The next seven days were rough. The kidney took 30 hours to arrive, and because of this it took seven days to begin working. I was quite ill. Finally I started to feel better, and by the 12th day I was home.
It is eight weeks out now and I am feeling quite well. I will always be grateful to the family of my donor for making the decision to donate “the greatest gift.”