• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Versailles man gets new kidney

DAN JACKSON received a new kidney a month after he asked for one in The Woodford Sun (seen at the bottom of the photo), but said his good fortune was unrelated to the ad he’d purchased. Jackson, who got the new organ two days after his 71st birthday, said people should give “some serious thought and prayer” to signing up as an organ donor. (Photo by John McGary)

Since Dan Jackson placed an ad in the Dec. 28 edition of The Woodford Sun Dec. 28 letting people know he needed a new kidney, much has changed in his life.

One month after Christmas, Jackson celebrated his 71st birthday.

Two days later, while inside the Versailles Post Office, he got the best news a person with a life-threatening disease (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis) could hope for.

“The phone rang. It was the doctor from (the University of) Cincinnati saying he had a match for me and that if I could be there by 3 p.m., I would probably be in time to get squared away,” Jackson said.

In his understated way of speaking, “squared away” means receiving a new kidney.

Jackson walked back out to his truck, where his wife, Penny, was waiting. They listened to the doctor’s very good news and further instructions on speakerphone.

“My wife and I came home and we had most of our stuff ready anyway – they had told me to be ready – so we left to go to Cincinnati,” Jackson said.

They arrived at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center around 2:45 p.m. Blood was drawn, tests were conducted, and fingers were crossed. Then about 9 p.m., Jackson was wheeled into the operating room and given a new kidney.

He kept the old ones, explaining that the new organ was an addition to, not a replacement for, his failing kidneys.

“When they put in a new kidney, it’s in your stomach and a little bit to the right. … It actually draws blood from the veins that go into your right leg, so you have to have good circulation in your legs, or you’re not going to be a candidate,” Jackson said. Jackson said he doesn’t know whose kidney he received, only that the donor – a deceased man or woman – was younger than him. Six months after the transplant, if Jackson wishes, medical professionals will contact the donor’s family to see if they wish to hear from Jackson.

“Some people prefer not to receive (a call or letter), so then you’ll never know (who to thank),” Jackson said.

On Monday, Jackson said his third kidney is working well, though “it was a little slow to get started,” which is not uncommon for an organ not taken from a local donor.

He came home six days after the surgery, but didn’t feel well, so he returned to the hospital for two or three more days.

“Then I came home again, and I’ve been here ever since,” Jackson said, adding that he still runs errands and returns regularly to Cincinnati for check-ups. He no longer has to undergo thrice-weekly hemodialysis treatments using a machine that he and Penny operated in their study.

“I had read that sometimes people, if their kidney is slow to get started, you might have to (undergo dialysis) a little bit, and I asked him about that, and he said, ‘Oh no. If you do that, you might damage the new kidney,’” Jackson said.

He said he still feels a bit tired, but was told it will take about three months to regain his full strength.

Jackson said, based on what he’s been told, his new kidney was not the end result of his Sun ad, or the fliers he and friends distributed in the area. He laughed when he was told the newspaper’s sales crew would have loved to tell other clients how effective (perhaps life-saving!) their advertisements could be.

Then he delivered a non-paid message on behalf of others.

“I just want to say that people should consider being a donor …” he said. “Eyes, hearts, lungs, stuff. I think people should really give that some serious thought and prayer.

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