Transplant couple is recovering
 By Mike Saewitz, Register Staff          June 24, 2000

Derby residents Dave and Kathy Walkinshaw were in stable condition Friday at Yale-New Haven  Hospital as they convalesced from a lengthy operation in which Dave received one of his wife’s kidneys. 

Dave lost both of his kidneys to diabetes and had undergone dialysis for more than a year. The operation took place Thursday. 

"I’m very, very sore," said Kathy, whose rib had to be broken during the procedure. "But I’m feeling good." 

The couple’s daughter, Nicole Mather, 27, of Derby, said she and her brother, Ryan, 24, also of Derby, were nervous throughout the six-hour procedure. 

Dave, 50, and Kathy, 48, saw each other directly after the operation, even though they were given separate recovery rooms. Kathy was in her room several hours before Dave emerged from surgery, and doctors let Dave peek into Kathy’s room. 

"It was cute," Mather said. "He stopped in and said, ‘I love you. Thank you so much for giving me your kidney.’" 

Dr. Amy L. Friedman, who performed the procedure, said the hospital performs about 40 living donor transplants a year. 

Nationally, statistics show that 95 percent of transplanted kidneys are still working in keeping patients out of dialysis after one year, she said. 

The couple is well known in Derby. Dave is a former football star at Derby High School and the two are former high school sweethearts. 

Kathy said her husband got up and walked on Friday but that she could not. 

Mather said Dave and Kathy are both groggy but "have a lot of pep in them." Kathy could be released as early as Sunday or Monday, doctors told Mather. Dave will have to stay for two more weeks, Mather said. 

"Everything’s working out well," Kathy said. 

Dave was forced by diabetes to retire two years ago after working as a United Illuminating Co. 

lineman for 30 years. 

Kathy has taken time off from her job at a New Haven Savings Bank branch in New Haven to help her husband.