Transplant recipient tells of joy as donor gives her gift of life
TRANSPLANT patient Regina Hennelly last night spoke of how it felt like "waking from a 100-year sleep" after she received the life-saving gift of a donor kidney.
Ms Hennelly (29), a journalist from Castlebar, Co Mayo, told how she got a phone call from the transplant co-ordinator at 6.30am on Friday to tell her they had a kidney for her and to make her way swiftly to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.
The young author had last week made headlines after she criticised delays in the Health Service Executive (HSE) in issuing a renewed medical card.
Speaking to the Irish Independent from her hospital bed, Ms Hennelly said it had all worked out for her in the end as she received her medical card and the donor kidney in the same week.
Now she is looking forward to throwing a "ridiculously big" 30th birthday party on March 8 next and to travelling.
After spending two-and-a-half years on the transplant waiting list and on dialysis, her condition had begun to deteriorate.
"I felt no panic after getting the call, I just knew I had to go for it. I couldn't be much worse off than I was," she said.
Her friend, Nicola Rogers, accompanied her to the hospital from her apartment in Rathfarnham, Dublin, and by 6pm on Friday she was recovering from the four-hour operation.
"The kidney seemed to take straight away. The anaesthetic was not pleasant but as soon as I woke I instantly felt more alert," she said.
"The brain and everything is sluggish, you are slower to react on dialysis. It was like waking from a 100-year sleep."
The fit young woman was shocked to learn in 2008 that she had a form of chronic kidney disease. By June 2009, her condition had begun to deteriorate and she had a tube inserted into her stomach to allow her perform DIY dialysis at home.
"That was the worst thing about it. It was there all the time and I really hated it," she said.
Ms Hennelly last night said her thoughts were with the donor and their family.
"My donor is on my mind. I won't know who that person is or who they were but they gave me this great gift of life. It is so fantastic that people do that and can find the strength to do that," she said.
To receive an organ donor card, freetext 'Donor' to 50050.