It’s May 2018 – the moment he had counted down to for years had arrived- RETIREMENT. A day filled with dreams of the easy life to come, time with family and friends, rides with his buddies on horses and fishing trips galore.
It all came to a halt the very next week when a baseball sized tumor on the left kidney was found and immediate removal was mandatory. He was told he would be just fine for the rest of his days with one kidney- it was far from the truth. The surgery didn’t go as planned and complications led to a terrible outcome and his right kidney was damaged beyond repair.
As the year went by symptoms of kidney failure started, the excess weight, fatigue, eye issues, sugar problems and he was realizing the hopes of an enjoyable retirement were not coming to fruition.
Eddie has fantastic doctors and an extraordinary support team of family and friends. He made the brave decision to do Peritoneal Dialysis at home because he was determined to stay active and enjoy his time outdoors with family and friends.
A man who will always remind you he “just has a G.E.D.” Was running his own dialysis every night and functioning as normally as possible each day. He went of fishing and hunting trips and used a generator to complete the dialysis cycle. He often referred to the dialysis machine as his “Kidney”. That “Kidney” was heavy and carried by friends and family wherever he went! It saw multiple states and even flew on a trip to Las Vegas.
Eddie was placed in the transplant list in October 2021. Dialysis was still happening at home, he had went back to work because retirement just didn’t seem to fit his lifestyle at the time and the needed something to keep him busy. A full year passed on the donor list and all the routine visits, blood work and training were completed to keep enrollment going another year.
It was a cold snowy Friday in January 2022 (the 28th to be exact) when the call came in. Eddie would never get the call himself -because of all the days- he left his phone at home and he was at work. His daughter got the call and drove as fast as possible to his place of work and was there to witness the moment he accepted the gift of life that was awaiting him in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The drive was one no one could ever imagine- an absolute blizzard! There were road warnings, winter advisory’s but nothing was going to keep them away. Eddie and one of his daughters (Maddie) sang the whole way to the hospital, tried to remain calm but their cheeks were sore as they parked in the parking garage.
Arrival was bittersweet, the room was warm and it all was such a dream. They prayed for the donor family, thought about the lives that were being impacted. The surgery wasn’t until the next morning. Eddie couldn’t sleep a wink. At 68 years old he said he felt like a kid at Christmas and Santa was coming.
The next morning on January 29th more staff were escorting Eddie and his daughter around the hospital and then in Pre-Op. That is where is happened- the official news was delivered: The kidney is here, it’s perfect and it’s yours. W-O-W
It was a moment of disbelief, awe, excitement, anxiousness and every feeling in between. Eddie was taken back to surgery and fist bumped every team member on the way through the doors. At 4:30 am he was rolled back and at 7:10am the all clear, kidney is in call was made. W-O-W
The rest of the day, the entire family celebrated as they were all so thankful for this gift. They also sent up prayers for the transplant family in hopes that this gift could provide comfort in such a tragic time.
January 30th 2022. One day after transplant- Eddie was in the ICU with fantastic care and cheered the Bengals to the AFC Championship! Videos are proof he screamed Who-Dey over and over as Burrow and his team completed a fantastic performance in a 27-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
February 1st Eddie met his dream team as they came in to shake his hand and give the all clear. Eddie was headed home!
The months and doctors visits passed. The trips to Cincinnati for check ups was time spent together on the road. The time together was spent sharing memories, singing songs and planning trips. Eddie was blessed with a Gas Grant from (KY Trust for Life) the Kentucky Organ a donor Affiliates that made life so much easier. Each trip from his home in Bath County KY to UC Health in Cincinnati Ohio was 129 miles each way. (260 miles round trip)
April 2022 he had a small 69th birthday at home with just a few close family and friends and life was getting good. The transplant was starting to show its bright side- energy regained, scars fading and best of all- Eddie was starting to feel himself again.
July 2022 Eddie had one last procedure that completed a complication of the transplant and was off to the Canada Border to go fish with friends. In August 2022 he joined the School Bus Garage in Bath County as a school bus driver where he still works today.
He loves the kids, loves the people and most of all loves that he has finally reached the retirement dreams he longed for. More than 5 years has passed since the week of retirement and devastation. Eddie is a true testament of what the gift of life can bring.
He is a father, brother, uncle and friend. He is a Dad to three daughters, a Papaw to 6 grandkids and a Brother to his 5 siblings. He is the Cook for his hunting and fishing buddies. He is the life of the party and we are all so thankful to have him.
Eddie’s brother Steve is a Kidney and Pancreas recipient. Eddie’s best friend Mitch is a Double Lung recipient. The mother of Eddie’s girls (Sheri) is a Donor Graft recipient.