Daily Mail



James Hawkins, 72, an Nhs psychother­apist, lives in edinburgh with wife catero, 75, a yoga teacher. he has a son and a stepdaught­er, both 40, and four grandchild­ren. he donated his kidney in december 2016. he says:

NINE months after the kidney operation, I received a letter from my recipient, a middle-aged man from Manchester. It started with ‘You changed my life’.

He had been on dialysis for several years and had been able to return to work full-time and get his life back, and he was thrilled.

As he’s in his early 40s, I do wonder if my left kidney is going to eventually outlive me!

I’d wanted to donate a kidney after reading a book by a doctor who wrote about altruistic donation.

I had trained as a doctor for five years in my 20s, before eventually becoming a psychother­apist, so I knew the risks were low and the gains of the chance to save a life were high — which I couldn’t do as a psychother­apist.

But it is major surgery, and I was going to go from feeling very healthy to having difficulty walking across the room. Cat was worried about me doing it. However, I knew I’d soon recover — and I felt privileged to be healthy enough to do it (my age didn’t matter as there is no limit). It took about nine months between signing up and having the op at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh.

I didn’t need as many painkiller­s afterwards as I thought I might. The main problems were constipati­on and a stiff back, but they were manageable with a couple of paracetamo­l each day for a few weeks. The following spring, I developed a very rare complicati­on, a hydrocele (fluid in my scrotum) and I had to have an operation in the autumn to rectify that. The doctors thought moving the kidney around had opened a small leak. I was just unlucky. Hearing from the recipient of my kidney was so satisfying. We communicat­e intermitte­ntly through emails and hope to meet in the future.

If I’d heard that it hadn’t worked, then I would have been really disappoint­ed.

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