Patient stories and support

Ralph Slattery

I started getting problems during my last year of University in 1980. I was getting swollen ankles and feeling very tired. I even had to take my final year exams in sick bay.

I started peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) in 1983. This meant I needed to do a 20 minute ‘exchange’ 4 times every day (including Christmas Day). I was able to continue to work full time, but we only had one foreign holiday during this time. After 4 and half years on CAPD things were not going too badly, but I did need to take a day off every couple of months to ‘recharge my batteries’.

I was almost overwhelmed when on 30 September 1987 I receive ‘the’ phone call to let me know a kidney had come available for me. At the time I must admit to being completely wrapped up in my own situation but it was only a short while later that I recognised that someone else had unfortunately passed away. I will be forever grateful to the anonymous donor that had carried ‘the card’ and shared their wishes with their family.

It was only after having my transplant that I realised how very much better I felt, and how much time was tied up with exchanges as well as the many other restrictions there were to my life when I was on dialysis.

 I will be forever grateful to the anonymous donor that had carried ‘the card’ and shared their wishes with their family.

It is now over 26 years later and I am delighted to say that everything is still running smoothly. I have now taken a job that requires overseas travel; while it is mainly in Europe I have been to China and Korea a few times. Such activity would have been impossible when on CAPD.

My wife (Carol) and I have been able to take holidays across in the world (including Australia, New Zealand and the USA). To celebrate my 25th anniversary we took a trip to Canada and Hawaii.

I know I will never be able to personally thank the donor, but I do wish to thank them for the gift of life that I have been given. I do hope that anyone else thinking of joining the donor register will do it today. Don’t forget to share your wishes with your family members so – should the decision have to be made – they will be aware of your wishes.

Ralph Slattery, aged 57 in 2014.