Husband receives gift
of true love: his wifeís kidney
By Mike Saewitz, Register Staff June 22, 2000
When Derby resident Kathy Walkinshaw said two months ago she wanted to give one of her kidneys to her diabetes-stricken husband, Dave, he questioned her decision.
At one time, I didnít want her to do it," Dave Walkinshaw said Wednesday morning, just two hours before his wife took him to Yale-New Haven Hospital.
The six-hour procedure began at 7:30 a.m. this morning. "Thereís a lot more pain involved for the donor," he said. "We start feeling better right away."
Kathy, 48, said it was the best thing she could do for Dave, 50, who has undergone dialysis for more than a year after diabetes caused both of his kidneys to fail.
Diabetes forced Dave, a lineman for 30 years at United Illuminated, to retire two years ago.
Kathy said she has taken time off from the New Haven Savings Bank branch in New Haven to help her husband.
"I saw what my husband was going through, and I felt bad for him," she said. "Iím healthy, and itís something I could do for him to save his life. " After several X-rays and scans, doctors told Kathy her kidney was compatible with Daveís body.
Dr. Amy L. Friedman, who will be performing the procedure, said the Yale-New Haven Hospital performs 40 living donor transplants a year.
Nationally statistics show that 95 percent of transplanted kidneys are still working, keeping patients out of dialysis after one year, she said.
Friedman said that with more living donors, doctors could help more people.
"Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a living donor available," she said. "There are more people than ever waiting for a kidney."
Despite what Kathy said was "a lot of stress and anxiety and frustration" over the last few months, Dave said he has come to love his wife even more.
"I canít express the love sheís shown toward me," he said. "We were high school sweethearts, we grew up together. (Our relationship) is just getting stronger and stronger."
Kathy said doctors would keep her in the hospital for three days. Her husband will stay eight to 10 days, she said.
Doctors should know right away whether or not Daveís body accepted the kidney, they told Kathy.
"The first 24 hours is crucial," she said.
Kathy said she just took Dave to what would hopefully be his last dialysis.
"Iím just overwhelmed by her," Dave said. "Weíre looking forward to the future."
©New Haven Register 2000