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Hardev - Interview 39

Age at interview: 71
Brief Outline: Hardev was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and faced the prospect of life on dialysis. He had a kidney transplant in 2008, aged 68. The donor was his younger daughter. He is now very well and active in charity work.
Background: Hardev is married and has two adult daughters. He is a retired teacher (head of mathematics) and now does a lot of voluntary work in prisons and Sikh temples. Ethnic background / nationality' British Indian.

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Hardev started having problems around 1985 when he noticed that he needed to urinate frequently. He was prescribed three courses of antibiotics by his GP and was well again for several years. A few years later, however, when he had the same problem again, he was referred to hospital.

 Tests showed that Hardev had problems with his kidneys and his kidney function would need to be monitored regularly. He remained fit and active and said he did not have any symptoms. Kidney function tests, however, showed that - his kidneys were gradually becoming less and less effective. If they continued to deteriorate, Hardev would need to have dialysis. Around 1999, he was diagnosed with polycystic kidneys. Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic condition characterised by multiple cysts in both kidneys. 

Hardev and his younger daughter visited a dialysis unit so he could see what having dialysis would involve. After seeing how dependent patients on dialysis were and how often it would be given, Hardev’s daughter felt strongly that she would not want her dad to have dialysis. She offered to donate one of her kidneys to him and they started having tests to assess whether they would be a compatible match. These showed that they were.

The first date for surgery had to be cancelled because Hardev developed a chest infection. The next date was in December 2008. The surgery went smoothly and both he and his daughter recovered well. Hardev was discharged from hospital about eight days after the transplant and, at first, had check-ups very frequently. He now has them every two months and takes anti-rejection medication daily.

After about seven weeks, Hardev was back to normal. He is a Sikh chaplain and resumed his visits to local prisons, where he ‘supports Sikh prisoners to improve their way of life’. Since his transplant, he has also visited India twice and was well on both occasions. He leads an active life and said his religious faith gave him the strength not to worry about the transplant and recovery.

Hardev praised the care and support he’d received from doctors and nurses. He urged other British South Asian people to consider being kidney donors as it would help many other people on dialysis or waiting for a transplant.   

 

 

Hardev felt fine and kept busy and active. He had blood, urine and kidney function tests every...

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No, I was fine. I was fine. I didn’t have any problem at that time. I was fine. But I used to go to the clinic, I think every month or so, sometimes after a couple of months for them to collect my water. So that part was started, you taking your waters and they take the blood and they check the performance of the kidney. And they started deteriorating, coming down and down and down. But even then, even when it was 10%, sorry 13%, when he said you’ll have to go for dialysis, until then I was fine.

Really. So you didn’t have anything like tiredness or,

No, nothing. I was in fact actually very busy all the time.

Yes. So you were still quite active right up until,

That’s right.

Yeah.

Yes, stayed very active.
 

 

Hardev wasnÂ’t worried about what would happen to him or his daughter. Being a Sikh chaplain, he...

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How did you feel before going into hospital for the transplant?

I don’t know. I left it to God. What I believe in is that the angels are not flying in the air, they are on this earth. And they help you in the form of other fellow human beings. I always believe in that. I think perhaps Harman [my daughter] came like that to me and she helped me. But I left it to God. Never ever felt anything.

Yes. So you had a very strong faith carrying you through all of this?

That’s right, yes. I never felt, even when we were going from here, it didn’t occur to me that anything was going to happen. They took them into the theatre, so I just, I didn’t, I just left it to the Almighty.

Yes. Did you have any worries at all or you felt whatever will happen will….

I didn’t, no. I never felt anything about whether I’ll come alive from there or Harman will come alive from there. I didn’t worry about my family. I felt perhaps, you know, He’s looking after us and everything will be fine.
 

 
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Hardev felt that the care he was given was perfect. He was also given a number to call if he had...

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And the support from the health professionals was there?

I think, as far as I’m concerned, it was perfect. Everything. They’re very, very helpful. They advise you. They help you. And actually they say that if you feel the certain things, if you feel, if you have diarrhoea or other problems, pain in the kidney, you should quickly, straight away, they have given us a book with a telephone number, emergency telephone number. So they are there to help you all the time.
 

 

Two months after the operation, Hardev felt well and active and did some strenuous gardening. He...

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I’ve visited India twice. It was very successful and no problem. Actually, I know somebody who went to India and they had problems with their kidney and had to come back straight away. But luckily I didn’t have any problems.

That’s great. So you went back twice, and it’s a long journey on the plane -

Oh, a long journey and I stayed there for four weeks. We were there in October, no we went in, yes in October and November. Then again in January, February. Twice for four weeks, twice. I travelled and everything was fine.

That’s great. So you were fine on the plane. You were fine when you got there?

Oh yes. I was moving my cases a little, the hand luggage, we were putting them into the space overhead.

So you can do everything and you just take your tablets every day?

Oh yes. Maybe two months after the transplant, one of my trees over there, the cherry, the big one, that was dying and there were so many dead branches. I took the ladder, went up and sawed the dead branches. This was two months after the operation.
 

 

Hardev said that most religions are in favour of helping someone who is suffering. Organ donation...

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Actually the teaching of the religions is to help people in distress, in pain and suffering. So we shouldn’t use or hide behind religion just to, you know, if you’re so cowardly and trying to hide yourself behind the religion, that’s not right. I wouldn’t accept that sort of argument.

Yes. So there’s no religious basis?


Religion says you help. You help people. You should, with people who are suffering, you should help them. You see there are so many charities going out into the world helping people and giving them food and all sorts of things. So this is something similar. You are saving a life. So you shouldn’t hesitate if you have anybody, a relative, friend or whatever.
 

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