'I Gave Away a Kidney'

To go back to the kidney: don't you need two? No, as it happens you don't! My second kidney had picked up the full time job in 10 hours I was told. Also, most of the patients I met were managing on very much less than 100% of one alone. Some had waited 15 or more years – my good friend on the other side of the ward had waited 9 or 11 years. What a life! There are thousands of people waiting for a new kidney, thousands. And, as I write, I think about 25 or so people in the UK have gone down the 'altruistic' line like me.

And it was all SO interesting. Quite funny at moments. The people I met were so nice. You have to be very awake talking to the surgeons, and you have to suss hospital behavior patterns and hierarchies and where you fit (difficult). Our National Health Service is wonderful in my book. Visitors were pretty good, too – though the arrival of an old school friend with a book two hours after theatre baffled us both a bit. Of course, she didn't know I had been put back by a day, bless her. After the op on Wednesday I was driven home on Sunday, promising the hospital staff I would not languish in bed. Nor I did. The happiness quality of home was very high.

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