One of Kildare’s longest standing county councillors, Brendan Weld, has undergone a kidney transplant at Beaumont Hospital.
He was expected to be released from hospital yesterday afternoon, Monday, October 15.
The Fine Gael representative has been ill for the past four years, and has been on dialysis for the past 10 months.
Speaking to the Leinster Leader, he described the shock of the moment he got the call on Saturday, October 6, to say that a kidney was available.
“I was in bed at about 11.30pm when I got the call. A lady asked me how I was feeling. I said I was grand. In fact, on that day I was probably in the best form I’d been in for the last few months,” said the councillor, who was in bed on dialysis at the time. He was told to go straight to Beaumont Hospital.
“And sure I was giving out about whoever was ringing me at that hour!” he added. “As somebody on the transplant list you’re told to never turn off your phone. And this proves why.”
Cllr Weld drove himself to the hospital where he underwent tests before the transplant. He was in the “capable hands” of former Dublin footballer, surgeon David Hickey. He underwent surgery at 1pm on the Sunday, and was chatting to his wife again at 5pm.
“I feel like I’ve woken up from a coma,” he said. “That’s how good I feel.
“Naturally I’m a bit sore with the wound, but I was up this morning and walked down to the shop, and yesterday I went down and had a meal.
“I’m not complaining.”
However, the story of how Cllr Weld was diagnosed is just as, if not more dramatic.
“I was diagnosed by accident, four years ago.”
As part of his constituency work Brendan had gone to Derrinturn to meet with the local Tidy Towns Association and Jonathan Deane, Kildare County Council’s local area engineer to discuss work that could be done in the area.
As it happened, the person he was expecting to meet from the Tidy Towns wasn’t available to attend the meeting. Instead, a woman called Gay Richardson attended the meeting.
Afterwards, she approached Brendan and said asked to speak to him privately.
“She told me ‘Brendan, you’re serious ill’.
“I looked at her, and I laughed at her. I said to her that I’d had a bad dose of the flu a few weeks previously, and was finding it hard to shake it.
“She told me to get my blood pressure checked.”
So Brendan phoned his wife, a nurse, and when he returned home that evening, she checked it.
“The minute she checked it, she stood up and walked out and rang the doctor. I was sitting in front of him 15 minutes later. He told me I was a ticking time bomb. He said that my blood pressure was so high, if I was a tractor tire, I would have burst.”
24 hours later Brendan was in Tallaght Hospital. “They couldn’t understand how I hadn’t died 12 months previously.”
Brendan went on a restricted diet and got three years out of his kidney before going on dialysis last December.
Now he says he feels great. “I’m in good form. I’ve had the dinner and will hopefully get out this afternoon.
And as for Gay Richardson, how did she know? “The consultant rang her and asked. She’s a nurse. She said she saw it in my eyes.”
- Conor McHugh