The doors of Beaumont Hospital shut behind us at 10.20am and the capable hands of its staff closed in around us. I wondered: was this Diarmuid’s time for a new kidney, or would we be sent home? He was probably only a few weeks away from needing dialysis.

Diarmuid’s creatinine level in his blood had been 970 just two weeks previously. There was no doubt in our minds that the diligence, dedication and determination of a long line of renal teams in Cork’s University Hospital had got Diarmuid to this day. The first was and is the famous Dr Liam Plant, Consultant Renal Physician and Clinical Senior Lecturer in Nephrology.

The sight of his tall frame approaching us in A&E the previous week assured me that D was safe. It’s obvious that he’s fond of Diarmuid. He has known him for nearly twenty years. Then there was the talented Dr Joe Eustace. The current team led by the competent Dr Eva Long, Consultant Physician and Nephrologist take excellent care of D. She is ably assisted by her Renal Liaison Nurse Teresa O’Neill. Teresa keeps everything on track for Diarmuid. Her colleagues; Abina Harrington and Phil O’ Driscoll are there too when needed. Diarmuid’s GP Dr Sheena Finn and her colleagues’ Dr Paul Nolan, Dr Aoife Lyons and staff at Eastgate Medical in Ballincollig always take outstanding care of D. One cannot but pause and commend the ongoing excellent care Diarmuid receives.

Transplant on

Going through the corridors of Beaumont with our 34 year old son was surreal. I had a knot in my stomach. Nurse Enda, received us into St Damien’s ward. We got tea and biscuits. Serendipitously, D was fasting. He was wheeled into Room No 10. The donor kidney was a good virtual match. Final tests and scans were underway. It was all go, nurses and doctors came and went. D’s blood was already in the lab. There was a lot of silence. Tim was by his side and I was at the end of the bed. I expected to go home any second. I was so anxious.

D lay perfectly still. He was calm and probably a little tense. His trust in medical people is complete. The renal registrar, Dr Shantanu Pisharoty, introduced himself. He would be looking after D before, during and after transplant. The renowned Mr Ponnusamy Mohan would perform the transplant. Then a nurse was introducing anti-rejection drugs into the drip. Tim said, “Do you believe it now?”

It looked like the transplant was on. Only one of us was allowed to go as far as theatre. Tim has always given me the privilege. I stood at Diarmuid’s trolley surrounded by doctors and nurses in blue scrubs. A doctor flicked through Diarmuid’s file. Messrs Barry O’Donnell, Prem Puri, Fergal Quinn, Liam Plant, Joe Eustace and Ms Eva Long.

Diarmuid O'Leary.

“Diarmuid, do you know that this folder is full of celebrities?” D was thrilled, being a celebrity himself! I hugged him and he quipped, “Don’t worry Mom, I’ll be grand!” I rang Tim and we met at the front door. It was time to eat. It had been a tough day.

So many people

We saw Diarmuid early the following morning. Already his colour was better. Over the week, we got to know other doctors, nurses and staff on St Damien’s ward. I was particularly taken by the junior doctors and interns, Adam, Conor, Jack and Mary. In their duties for D they had time to talk to us and explain procedures. They also chatted to D about his life and they were just lovely. I’ve no doubt they will make it into celebrity folders too. Mr Mohan and Dr Pisharoty saw D daily. He had so many people looking after him, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, care staff; we tried to catch names on the ward Fiona, Bronwyn, Nico, Yan, Ram, Alison, Sarah, Martha, Molly, Renju, Catherine and that’s but a fraction of them. We had a lot to learn about new medicines and caring for a transplant recipient.

On day three, Dr Pisharoty came and told us that Diarmuid’s creatinine level was 390. It meant that the new precious kidney was working. I burst into tears and realised I’d been holding my breath since we got into the car in Cork for the journey to Beaumont. Thank you to everyone involved in Diarmuid’s care but most especially the donor for this new gift of life for Diarmuid.

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