In this episode Vince and David, a father and son pair, talk two days before their kidney transplant surgery. David is donating his kidney to his father Vince, an Air Force Veteran of eight years.
Vince was born in Michigan, moved to California, New Mexico, and then Alaska in 1978. He joined the Air Force in 1955 and served until 1963. Roughly two years ago, Vince’s bloodwork began to show his kidney functions were elevated. Shortly after, doctors diagnosed Vince with polycystic kidney disease, which required a kidney transplant. David was more than ready to step up and help his father with a kidney of his own after compatibility tests had shown he could donate to Vince. Also, in this interview, caregivers Darlene and Jennifer give their perspective on the upcoming surgery and the importance of family and friends. The group made the trip down from Alaska to Iowa City VA Healthcare System for this life-changing event.
In the second half of the episode, Veteran Jack Jones and his wife Martha from Asheville, North Carolina, speak. Jack grew up in New Bern and followed in his father’s footsteps in joining the Navy after high school in 1975. He served as a boiler operator from 1975 to 1979 and shares some of his experiences on his ship. As a diabetic and during a normal checkup, doctors informed Jack that his kidneys dropped to 20% functionality. He got on the kidney transplant waiting list in 2015.
Previously cured of Hepatitis C, doctors presented Jack with the unique opportunity to receive a kidney quickly. He received the first Hepatitis C positive kidney through a pioneering new program at the Iowa City VA Healthcare System. Medical advances have made Hepatitis C positive kidneys viable for transplant into patients without developing the disease. Jack shares with us some of his military experiences, his developing need for a kidney transplant due to diabetes, what dialysis entails, his care at Iowa City VA Healthcare System, and how appreciative he is for his new kidney.