Perth kidney transplant patient remembers agonising wait

Dr Hemant Kulkarni (left) with kidney recipient John Bloor and Joanne Whinwra. Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au   d443743
Dr Hemant Kulkarni (left) with kidney recipient John Bloor and Joanne Whinwra. Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au d443743

JOHN Bloor (63) remembers the agonising wait until he heard the news he had a new kidney.

“The person was at Charles Gairdner Hospital on life support – they were turning the machine off,” he said.

“There were two of us there waiting for a kidney because he was giving a kidney to each of us.”

“It was a horrible position to be in… just waiting there all sorts of thoughts go through your mind.”

It has been three months since Mr Bloor received his kidney and he is extremely grateful to the donor who gave him a new lease on life.

Before his transplant, he had been undergoing home dialysis four days a week for two years due to kidney failure, which resulted from a genetic condition known as polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

Mr Bloor’s mother had the disease, which is characterised by the growth of cysts on the kidneys.

It was passed on to three of her four sons.

Mr Bloor’s second eldest brother Geoffrey, who was not affected by the disease, donated a kidney to brother Murray about 10 years ago.

His half-brother Kevin Rumble received a kidney from his wife Esther about five years ago, but Mr Bloor had to go on dialysis while he waited to get a kidney from a donor.

He was diagnosed with PKD about 20 years ago, but the disease led to complete kidney failure two years ago.

“As the kidneys go downhill you always feel that little bit more lethargic and sick – where you want to throw up in the morning,” he said.

“It (PKD) is a very slow process, but you can’t do a lot for it. Towards the end there if I had watched my diet a bit better my kidneys would have lasted longer – diet plays a big part.”

Mr Bloor was put on home dialysis, which meant he could hook himself up to a dialysis machine at home instead of having to travel to hospital four times a week to have his blood cleaned.

Each time he had dialysis it would take him an hour and 15 minutes to set the machine up and 15 minutes to get the needle into his arm via a fistula.

He then spent four-and-a-half hours sitting next to the machine while it replicated the role of the kidneys and filtered toxins out of the blood.

“It takes over your life. All you really want is to move away from needles,” he said.

It took Mr Bloor three months before he could go on the kidney transplant waiting list as there were a number of things to consider before a transplant can take place, including the age and health of the patient.

Nine months later, he received the much-anticipated news that a compatible kidney had been found for him.

Mr Bloor is on medication to ensure his body won’t reject the new organ, but he is now free from dialysis.

“I can go fishing in the morning and not have to worry about rushing back to go on the dialysis machine,” he said,

“I still have to be careful and watch my diet, but it does change your life so much.”