Sadly not all stories have a happy ending. Our next story that we want to share during National Transplant week is that of Oliver Faulkner. This story was written by Ollie's mum, whilst he was waiting for his transplant.
Oliver was born in June 2000. He was born with posterior urethral valves and severe gastro oesophageal reflux, and only 1 of his kidneys functioning. I knew at my 20 week scan that there was going to be some problem with his kidneys but nothing could have prepared us for the traumatic 8 years he was about to suffer.
Posterior urethral valves are an obstruction in the urethra, making Oliver unable to pass urine. All the problems Oliver was suffering contributed to the deterioration of his remaining kidney. He had many operations to try and correct these and to try to stop Ollie vomiting and also increase the size of his bladder to enable him to be catheterized.
After many more operations for feeding tubes and catheters by the time Ollie was five it was evident that he was going to require a kidney transplant. We were referred to the Evelina Children’s Hospital and the team did everything in their power to keep his kidney functioning but unfortunately his stomach and gut deteriorated so badly that they were left with no other choice but to remove his only kidney. This left Oliver without any kidneys, consequently he is now on haemodialysis, which started at four days a week but had to be increased to six to keep him stable. Oliver was listed for a transplant in March 2008 and has now been waiting for 11 months.
Ollie has such complex medical needs which he accepts with such bravery. Last year, after a six month stay in hospital when his gastrostomy had to be removed because of infection, his gut and bowel problems took over. It was an uphill battle and the decision had to be made to stop feeding Ollie and he was started on TPN – total parenteral nutrition. This is an intravenous feed given through a Hickman line placed through one of the large neck veins straight to the heart.
So this is Oliver’s life at the moment, he has to be at the Evelina on dialysis every day, except Sundays, he is on TPN twenty four hours a day without any breaks. This means that when he goes out, to the park etc., he has to carry a heavy backpack with his pumps in it. He is on twenty medications a day, one of which he has to have two hourly, day and night to keep his blood sugars stable. Oliver, of course, cannot go to school and receives all his education at the hospital. As you can imagine, after reading this, our lives have not been easy. Ollie is such a wonderful boy, he accepts every new procedure with fortitude and bravery, which we can only wonder at. He is a delight and an inspiration to us all. He desperately needs, and deserves, a kidney transplant to give him a better quality of life.
Gorgeous little Oliver ran out of time on Tuesday 6 October 2009. He fought hard for two years but sadly that life-saving call never came.
Oliver's Mum, Lucy, is supporting us during National Transplant Week appealing for more people to sign the Organ Donor Register, read an interview with her, here.
You can make a difference to people like Oliver. Over 10,000 people across the UK currently need an organ transplant, 3 people die everyday because that transplant didn't come in time.