It is hard to believe, but come July 25th this year, my sister and I will
celebrate the 30th anniversary of my direct donation of my kidney to
her. “Old school” best describes my good bye to “Leftie”–an incision
from belly button to backbone, removal of the bottom rib–all put back
together with 64 staples, with ouchies when they came out. About
7 p.m. the night before surgery, we started a series of four or five IV bags
of 3 percent alcohol solution. Result: warm, fuzzy, woozy, tipsy–maybe
drunk lite–it’s not nice to do this to a teetotaler, but it flushed out
Leftie the way it was designed to do.
With great thanks to morphine, there was no pain post-op and because
I was in great physical shape from running and pumping iron, recovery
was a yummy piece of cake. Actually there was no unusual discomfort
until two weeks after when I tried to get back into running. That was a
big no! no! no! Incision hurt like h___ and kept saying, ” I told you
not to do this,” so I had to wait ‘til about 4 weeks to get back to some
After about 3 months, I was back to my normal 8-10 miles, 10 minutes
per, 3 times a week. For the past 5 years, by design, I limit my distance
to 3-5 miles on a treadmill. My knees are still good and the hips are
great, but both shoulders are bone on bone, which limits upper body
workouts. I could run further and faster, but at my age, why? Sit-ups are
my new addiction: 1 set of 200 at each workout–yep 200–and working
on 300. For 39 years I have been doing serious workouts and only
rarely am I cognizant that I have only one kidney. I cannot recall any
adverse effects from donating other than numbness around the scar.
Did I mention I just turned 82?
Lest I forget, let me pay tribute to my wife of near 60 years, plus other
spouses, partners, significant others for their part in this incredible
journey down donor road.
– Randy McMillon