It is the 12th October 2005 and I am travelling home in the car from the Edinburgh Royal Transplant Unit and I have burst into tears, the first time I have cried.  It is tears of relief and wonder that I have achieved what I had hoped I would be able to do for the last 29 years.  I have given my daughter a kidney last week on the 5th October.


29 years ago, my eldest daughter was diagnosed with a faulty reflux kidney valve and that damaged both her kidneys.  We were told that she may need an operation to correct it when she was 8.  The next 5 years were spent trying to keep her free of urine infections.  When she was 8, she had the operation at Yorkhill Children’s Hospital to correct the faulty vale and her health improved markedly.


After going to university and getting her degree, she got a job in the Highlands and started attending Raigmore’s renal department.  They told her that her damaged kidneys were starting to fail but that it would be a slow process.


In 2004, they predicted her kidneys would fail by December 2005.  I told her to tell them I would be willing to give her one of my kidneys and her two sisters volunteered to donate as well.  They decided to test me first in January 2005.  On my fist visit to Edinburgh Royal’s Transplant Unit, I met Mr Akyol who did everything to dissuade me from going through with the operation.  They had to make sure that I was 100% committed to the operation and knew all the risks involved.  I then started a series of blood tests, ECGs, X-Rays, Ultrsounds, MRI Scans to find out if I was completely fit plus a cross match test with my daughter.  This I found very stressful waiting to see if I had got through all the tests to the next round.


On our final visit for cross match testing, Raigmore informed Edinburgh Royal that they thought my daughter would need to go on dialysis sooner than expected.  It was decided to bring the operation forward and it was performed on the 5th October.


I did not feel nervous because it was what I wanted to do and the Doctors and nurses explained everything and were very supportive.  I was to have an epidural which I had not had before and had heard tales that it was painful.  The last thing I remember was the anaesthetist saying to me that I would feel a little scratch (which I never did) and then waking in the recovery room with the nurse calling my name.  I asked if my daughter was alright and they told me to look over and there she was – we both waved to each other.


The next few days we spent in the High Dependency Unit where our family could not believe how well we were … there were lots of tears of relief from them.


I can honestly say I did not feel any pain after the operation, only discomfort when I moved about.  My daughter went up to Ward 206 3 days after the operation and I went up on the 4th day.


The staff of Ward 206 were wonderful answering all our questions and allaying all our fears and, by the time I left today on the 12th, I felt privileged to have met them all.


To anyone who is hoping to donate a kidney, do not worry … it will not be as bad as you think it will be and it will be the best thing you will ever do in your life.


Elizabeth (Betty) McMillan

12th October 2005