Don's Story

 Don Frank, left, learned that he might be retired, but he still had lots of life to share with his brother-in-law Rick.

Don Frank, left, learned that he might be retired, but he still had lots of life to share with his brother-in-law Rick.

Name: Don Frank                                       
City/Town: Punta Gorda, Florida                         
Current Age: 69                              
Occupation:  Retired Educator                            
Date of Donation: February 13, 2018                 
Hospital and Location: The Christ Hospital Cincinnati, Ohio         

 

Did you know your recipient?
Yes, he is my brother-in-law.

What made you decide to donate?
I found out I could still donate after age 60.

Was it a tough decision?
No, wanted to donate from the start but didn’t think I was eligible due to my age. The results of the blood tests showed that I was such a close match I could have been a biological brother. That was my confirmation.

What were your biggest concerns about donating? 
I really didn’t have any concerns; everything just fell into place. When you know inside you’re supposed to do something, you know everything will work out for the best.

How did your family and friends react when you told them you were going to donate?
Some of our children were concerned but I reassured them with the data on transplants, and they adjusted.

 Don didn't have any hesitations about donating a kidney before or after his surgery.

Don didn't have any hesitations about donating a kidney before or after his surgery.

How did your surgery go?
The surgeon and the whole surgical team were excellent! The operation took about four hours, and there were no complications. 

What was your recovery like while you were in the hospital?
The hospital staff, nurses, doctors were very professional and friendly. I was offered various pain management options for my individual needs. I didn’t have a great deal of pain, so I managed with extra strength Tylenol. The food was very good in the hospital. I began walking laps on the kidney donation floor of the hospital the first day of recovery. I spent just two days in the hospital.  

What was your recovery like at home?
I was slightly constipated and bloated with some gas from the operation, but it wasn’t long before all was back to normal. After my two-week post-op check-up, I was cleared to fly home to Florida with my wife. Within a few days home we were looking after our grandchild again. But I was very careful not to lift him or anything else over 10 pounds for six weeks or more.

What was the most difficult part of recovery?
As a precaution, I didn’t drive for about four weeks total. The non-lifting part for six weeks, as a man, was annoying. I also used the special kidney pillow when sneezing and coughing as I was advised. The precautions are wise because no one wants a hernia for not following directions. I followed directions and had no complications. 

When did you return to work?
I'm retired, but my wife and I care for our grandson. After about three weeks, we were back to taking care of him.

How long was the process from making the first contact about donating until your surgery?
It was about four months from the time I called, received the information packet and paperwork, filled out the paperwork, got the initial blood draw, and then was scheduled for the two days of testing, and finally scheduling the operation time for both of us.

Is there anything about being a kidney donor that's surprised you?
The recuperation time for me was positively surprising. Even though my donor body was healing my energy came back fairly quickly. I was up walking laps in the hospital, and I continued to take long walks daily in my first two weeks and then after my post-op exam back in Florida. I was also active in general after the first two weeks. I did enjoy taking some naps the first two weeks after the operation.

Would you do it again?
Yes, I would definitely do it again!