and son share special bond
Wanda English Burnett, Editor
Father and son, Don, 54, and Jason Edwards,
31, have shared a lot over the years. Theyve shared food,
jokes, clothes, but more recently, the gift Jason gave his dad
is a unique one - a kidney.
When Dons health worsened due to years of hypertension
or high blood pressure, doctors told the Versailles man he would
have to go on dialysis or have a kidney transplant. They told
him dialysis would only prolong his life about six months. He
needed a kidney transplant.
I didnt hesitate, Jason told The Versailles
Republican, when he learned the plight of his father. He immediately
volunteered one of his kidneys, knowing what was involved.
Jason said he did consider his own family and their feelings
on the subject. He got all the support he needed from wife,
Rachel, who said it was okay with her. The couples children,
D.J. 10, Garrett, 9, and Gracie, 7, said they are glad their
papa is feeling better. While they may not understand the ramifications
of the life-giving sacrifice their father made, they do understand
their grandfather is getting better every day.
After Jason was tested and declared a 99% match, the wheels
were in motion for the surgery. Dons wife, Ann, noted
that her daughter from a previous marriage was also a match.
But, Jason insisted he be the donor and the family agreed.
While the Edwards family thought the date was at the end of
February, the hospital called with an open slot - two weeks
earlier, on February 12.
Then it hit me, Jason said. He realized this was
a reality and for a guy who rarely visits a doctor, he was apprehensive.
I was nervous, he admitted, saying he thought about
his whole family. But, Jason still didnt hesitate and
the day for surgery arrived.
The surgery was performed at the University of Cincinnati Hospital
in Cincinnati. Jason was in surgery about five hours, his dad
about six. Don explained he now has three kidneys - his own
near defunct ones, and his sons healthy one, which actually
pulls most of the weight.
The only visible signs of Jasons donation are three small
incisions and another about four inches wide on his abdomen.
Don has much larger incisions and the proof the kidney has given
him new life is seen on his face. I feel better than I
have in years, Don told The Versailles Republican. Hes
gaining strength every day.
He used to sleep a lot during the day, Dons
wife, Ann, noted. He doesnt have gout or high blood pressure
anyone either, according to Ann.
The father and son laughed about the new, young kidney. Now
Don wakes about 4 a.m. - when his son typically wakes to get
ready for work. Don has more energy. Both men say their tastes
have changed. Neither wants salty foods or soft drinks such
as Coke or Mountain Dew, their prior favorites.
Don had a set back almost a week after surgery that was not
related to his kidneys. I had a blockage, Don noted.
He had a blockage in his heart and was rushed back to the Veterans
Hospital in Cincinnati where they used the balloon technique
to correct the problem.
Both father and son are recuperating nicely - Jason says hes
completely healed. Don opted for a study to see if carbon monoxide
will aid in the healing of kidney transplant patients. He feels
this has expedited his recovery. The study title is: A Single-Bline,
Placebo-controlled, Safety, and Tolerability Study of the Effects
of Carbon Monoxide of Inhalation on Patients Receiving Kidney
Theres no doubt donors give life to those on the receiving
end of their generosity. Ann also noted that the donors do not
pay for any expenses related to the procedure. That is
all covered by the recipients insurance, she noted.
Five weeks after the surgery - both father and son say they
wouldnt do anything different. They are pleased with the
outcome, and say they are closer than ever."
ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
It was smiles all around at the Edwards home as they celebrated
the recovery of Don and Jason, following a kidney transplant
surgery in February. Pictured from left are Ann, holding
husband Don's hand, Jason, and wife Rachel. Seated are
Don's grandchildren: Gracie, Garrett and D.J. Edwards.