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Stories of hope

Orlando Torres: My gift of life

Orlando, wearing sunglasses, smiling with head tilted

At the age of 33 and based on the death of my father who experienced kidney failure, I decided to consult one nephrologist as a preventive process. That was in the 1988, I stay under revisions every year. In 2016 my labs results indicated I was in trouble. The medical revisions started every month, and on December 2017 I went to the hospital and initiated the dialysis process. My high blood pressure was responsible for my kidney disease.

I started dialysis in one of the two companies who offer hemodialysis and peritoneal treatment in Puerto Rico. For almost two years I received the hemodialysis therapy in center, first few months in the third shift from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Monday, Wednesday and Friday and later on in the first shift from 6:00 am to 10:00 same days.

In the center I had all kind of good and bad experiences with the therapy performance and the center team services. The third year of hemodialysis was taken at home with the assistance of my lovely wife Jenny and my daughter Janelise and my son Jose Carlos. The therapy was performed with the dialysis machine “nxstage.”

The experience at home was much better and comfortable than the center service because we create our own therapy schedules and we had the complete control and responsibility of the therapy performance, the therapy ran in a short period of 3 hours and 5 days a week.

The outcomes of the therapy was terrific versus in center hemo. My nephrologist visited me every week at home and the service was more personalize than in center. The environment control also was my responsibility.

We had our own monthly material on stock at home. In 2016 when I received the diagnostic of kidney failure immediately we started researching transplant opportunities in Puerto Rico and USA. My good friend and ex coworkers create a public relation campaign in the press, radio and TV focused on identifying potential donors. We received 12 different potential candidates to submit to the centers and some hospitals. Some of them had preexisting conditions that disqualified them automatically and some others never answered the phone. Finally one person stay with me as potential donor, she passed in good standing on all test except the compatibility test.

They offered us the exchange program, my donor accepted to participate. After one year at the same time as COVID came to a worldwide scenario, the transplant centers requested me to travel for annual medical review and following my medical team recommendation we did not travel. As a result of that action all centers in USA except the one moved my participation to inactive. On the third week of November, we got the call. My donor and me were informed that they have the opportunity to present me a living donor offer. That offer was attached to the exchange program and my local donor accepted.

On December 1, 2020 we traveled to Dallas with all safety precautions for COVID and on and December 4 we received the kidney from Skyler Blandford. She was an altruist living donor as a gift of life. We stay just four days confined at the hospital and five weeks as outpatient in Dallas.

At the same time my Puerto Rican Donor Mrs. Yomaries Matos as an altruist donor present her gift of life to another stranger.

Thanks to both Yomaris as a facilitator with her donation and Skyler my direct donor for this new opportunity for my family, my community and of course for me.

At my return to Puerto Rico, we visited our medical team and the head of the group; they followed my progress every other week. Today I’m under observations and in the hands of my endocrinologist, today my daily routine is simple, I do exercise for 30 minute daily, and my activities are normal.

Living donation

In 2022, more than 6,400 people became living organ donors. Learn more about living organ donation.

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