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Dr. Phil R. Aaron: A Gift for the New Year
Over a year ago, returning home from dialysis in Campbellsville, Dr. Phil R. Aaron got word en route home that a kidney was available and he doubled back, going directly to Louisville for the operation which changed his life forever. The donation, a gift from a young Chinese immigrant in New York City. Dr. Aaron says he is so proud of Adair County, but added, 'It has been of great concern to me that although we Adair Countians are certainly the most giving, the most caring group of individuals statewide - we lag behind when it comes to organ donation.' Now he's making organ donation the number one priority for the remaining time he has to practice.'
Click on headline for Dr. Aaron's moving personal story, and this most beloved Adair County family physician's offer now to counsel and to speak on how we all can participate and give the ultimate Gift of Life
By Phil Aaron
After Christmas, there's New Year's Day and New Year's resolutions. The purpose of this article is an attempt to share a personal event in my life which may cause someone to consider or actually pledge to donate one of their organs in the future to someone who needs an organ to live.
Our kidneys act as sieves in our body; they trap the needed body-building proteins and keep them in our bodies. They let the wastes filter through a strainer and exit our bodies through our urine.
My own kidneys had been damaged because of Diabetes and a punishing lifestyle: e.g. keeping the old AMH/AMC open 16 hours a day every day of the year with hospital and nursing rounds in addition.
This led to my kidneys being damaged so badly that I had to have dialysis three days a week. To Campbellsville in the dark of the morning where I was attached to my dialysis unit for 3 to 3.5 hours, then back to my office by 11am to noon to see patients.
So many wonderful friends who would transport me: Margie Williams, Barbara Stapp, Jan Walton, Robyn Curry, Pam Brown, Kathy Hale and others.
After about one-half year, I received a call from Jewish Hospital that a kidney was available for me. I was on the way to Columbia from dialysis in Campbellsville. I touched base with my office, made a right hand turn, and sped to Louisville.
After a long day's wait, I received my kidney, spent two days in the hospital, then returned home with a markedly improved lifestyle. I was extremely fortunate and blessed. In truth, I never had the first iota of pain during my kidney failure, my dialysis, or kidney transplant.
Sure, I will have to take chemotherapy for the rest of my life, but that is no trouble at all in comparison.
My transplant had been working well for over a year when I received a letter asking if I would like to know who had donated me their kidney. Of course I jumped at the chance and replied, "Yes."
Sometime later I received a letter from Mei Xiu, a young Chinese lady who now lives in New York City. Her healthy 30 year old construction working husband, Hui, had died in an accident and she had donated his organs to individuals who could use them.
She wished to hear from the recipients - partly because her 18 year old son, Zemin, had now also moved to the United States; they wanted to share how painful it was to have lost their loved one. They wished his organs could do some good for someone else with the added years they have given me.
Through these last several years many, including the Circuit Clerks of Kentucky - our own Dennis Loy included - and other organizations, (e.g. Robert Flowers with Kosair Charities) have recruited organ donors through Trust for Life, a statewide effort which now includes one out of three Kentuckians.
This year I have handed out a Christmas Bookmark to be kept in one's Bible or book. On one side is a quotation from Mother Teresa. On the other side is this quotation from me: "The real success and happiness one finds in life depends on how you live and share your life."
Throughout the years I have been so proud to be an Adair Countian. It seems our population is the most generous, the most caring of any other group anywhere at any time. We donate more money to Relay for Life, to Crusade for Children, to Ronald McDonald House, to the sick and unfortunate at the VFW and other venues. Our merchants, our community, clubs, e.g. Kiwanis, Rotary, Adair Jaycees, WRH Auxiliary, LWC, churches and many, many others pitch in and help.
It has been of great concern to me that although we Adair Countians are certainly the most giving, the most caring group of individuals statewide - we lag behind when it comes to organ donation.
When I am at a health fair or out in our community I discuss organ donation - answering questions without twisting arms or moralizing. Many who want to help but haven't yet decided positively to donate their organs have made comments as to how they feel about autopsies on their loved ones. These remarks about autopsies are similar to organ donation remarks. Some say they don't want themselves or a loved one being operated on after they are dead. Let me assure the reader that KODA (Kentucky Organ Donation Association) is one of the most respectful, caring organizations in existence. Organs can be procured from donors in a timely manner, not interfering with funerals or burials of a loved one. Individuals who donate organs can be open to view at funeral homes without any public viewer aware of donated organs.
I have thought that perhaps counseling should be available to those who might consider organ donation. As we make our New Year's resolutions, I make this offer: Although after 30 years I am no longer making routine home visits, I pledge to visit anyone in their home or in my office who would like to have their organ donation questions answered.
And if your church or civic organization would like a program presented on organ donation, we'll be glad to be there. I am personally placing organ donation at the top of the priorities I want to work on the remaining years of my practice.
Organ donation - take it from me, truly is the gift of life. Phil R. Aaron, M.D.
Dr. Phil Aaron Medical Center
805 Burkesville Street, Columbia, KY
This story was posted on 2011-01-25 17:16:41
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