I have some personal news to share. I got a kidney transplant for Christmas! It’s something I’ve needed for over 3 years.
I suffered an acute kidney injury in 2018. When it advanced to end-stage renal disease, I went on dialysis. That was in December of 2019. It required spending nearly 9 hours on a machine every night, for the past 2 years, but it kept me alive.
I’ve learned a lot about this disease and the number of people seeking a kidney transplant. The waiting list in the U.S. is about 100-thousand people and 13 people die waiting for a kidney every day. The wait can be 4 to 6 years. A kidney can come from a deceased donor. But, we each have two kidneys and you only need one, so a living donor can give the ultimate gift, the gift of life. For me, that wonderful gift came from my sister.
There are simply no words to express my love and appreciation for my sister, Patti Orthwein (pictured). It took months of tests and many 4 hour commutes (each way) to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, with her supportive husband Wayne, to accomplish this life-saving organ donation. Thank you. I’m humbled.
I have a number of other people on my kidney “dream team” I have to sincerely thank:
Nephrologist Dr. James Paparello of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, he’s greatly admired and an outstanding kidney doctor. We meet every month.
Director, Comprehensive Transplant Center and Chief of Organ Transplantation in the Department of Surgery at Northwestern, Dr. Satish Nadig. He’s an amazing surgeon, esteemed professor and research scientist.
I’d also like to thank: Dr. Wenyu Huang, Northwestern Endocrinologist U.S. Renal at Northwestern Northwestern Transplant Center Baxter Renal Home Dialysis Program
I never, ever, would have made it through this ordeal, and life, without my wife Monica’s love and guidance. I also got a ton of help from my son Jeff, daughter Jessica and her husband Steve. Yes, it takes a village to fix a kidney.
For information on possibly becoming a donor, contact the Northwestern Hospital Comprehensive Organ Transplant Center at 312-695-8900 or at https://www.nm.org/.../organ.../kidney-transplantation
You can also learn more from the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois at 312-321-1500.
I’ll return to CBS Chicago on Saturday morning, April 2. Thanks to our CBS weather team and management for all their help and support. I look forward to coming back healthier than I’ve been in a long time!