Penticton resident Dave Muir has been given a new lease on life thanks to the kidney transplant he received in June.
“They called about noon (that day) and said ‘Make arrangements to come (to Vancouver), your (surgery) is slated for midnight,’” said Muir. “So I called my daughter in Kelowna and she said ‘We’re heading for Vancouver, we’ll pick you up.’”
That day would end up giving Muir his life back. He had been reasonably healthy all of his life, never smoked or drank or had other illnesses plague him — that is until the year 2000 when he received the news that his kidneys were starting to fail.
“I was informed of (my kidney problems) when I got my physical done for retirement – they said my kidney function was starting to drop,” said Muir. “Then eight years into my retirement I was told I had to go on dialysis.”
Muir then spent the next six years frequenting the hospital four days a week to receive his dialysis treatment. This process filters toxins out of the blood, acting as an artificial kidney.
“They (inject) two big needles (into your arm) for about five hours every second morning,” said Muir. “It made my life difficult, it held me back. You can’t plan anything when every second day you need to go for treatment”
During this time, Muir was put on a waitlist to receive a kidney from a viable donor. His wife, Agnes, was a match but due to her medications she was not a viable candidate.
Once Muir got the call that there was a kidney available for him, things were set into motion fast. Due to patient confidentiality, Muir does not know from whom or where the kidney came from. His surgery was scheduled for midnight the day hospital staff phoned him.
“After my surgery, everything was so full down there, and they needed our suite so they said ‘Dave you’re doing well, you can go home.’ So now I just do bloodwork once a week and they’ll adjust my medications,” said Muir.
Currently, Muir still reports to a physician in Vancouver but once he reaches the three-month mark after his operation, he’ll be under the care of a physician in Penticton. This will mean a hospital visit once a month, rather than every other day when he was on dialysis.
Muir and his wife are happy he has his life back and no longer has to deal with the process of dialysis. They are both thankful the Kidney Foundation was able to help him throughout his journey and want to encourage others to participate in the upcoming Kidney Walk in Penticton on Sept. 23.
“They were a great transplant team, but even the nurses at dialysis sort of get the feel for you and I think they have feelings for their patients,” said Muir. “It’s well worth it to donate to the Kidney Foundation, there are people there that need help and we all appreciate it.”
He also wants to advocate for more people to register as organ donors because “it can give somebody back (their) life.”
Muir noted it was a long wait for his kidney but he never gave up hope. Some of his friends that were also undergoing dialysis were not so lucky.
“One of them last fall just decided they didn’t want anymore treatment, that they were done,” said Muir. “They were gone within the week. You have to have this treatment.”
While there is no guarantee how long his transplant will last, he’s making every effort to take care of it. For now, he is just thankful for the support he’s received and the fact that he can spend more time with the people he loves.
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