Transplant recipients doing well
Published 11:33 am Monday, October 20, 2003
When Juanetta Roberts' kidneys began to fail and she needed a transplant, she did not have far to look. Frank Jay, her partner at Atmore Ambulance Service for more than 12 years, had long said he would give her a kidney, and his tissue was a good match for her.
The pair underwent the transplant surgery Oct. 6 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Jay has since returned home and according to Pat Still, owner of the business where the pair works, is doing well.
The surgery and transplant was a little more trying for Roberts.
"Juanetta's recovery has been a little rough," Still said. Roberts is expected to move this week from the hospital to a townhouse nearby. She will remain in Birmingham at least six weeks.
During that time she will go to the hospital everyday, walking from the townhouse as part of her therapy. Her blood will be tested each day, looking for signs of infection or rejection.
Right now, there are no signs of either.
"She is doing well," Still said. "There are no signs of rejection, and that is A-1 great."
Roberts is not the only Atmore native to have undergone a transplant in the last few months.
After spending the last month in Birmingham having her blood tested daily, Lynn Toomey finally arrived back home Thursday morning. She is now able to have her blood tested in Mobile and will only have this procedure performed twice a week, rather than daily.
Since a kidney and pancreas transplant t in September, Toomey is no longer a diabetic. She doesn't have to take insulin or have dialysis. The trade off is that she will have to take a total of 46 pills and will continue to do so for the rest of her life, with the dosage and/or medication may change as she continues down the road to recovery.
"I feel 100 percent better. I couldn't ask to feel any better than I do today," said Toomey.
There are thousands of people nationwide waiting to receive transplants, both the type Toomey had, a multiple-organ transplant, and others. While in the hospital, Toomey learned that one donor's organs could save 72 lives.
Because of the new lease on life that Toomey received, she plans on becoming a donor herself.
Toomey is now able to reach some of the goals she set for her own life, like continuing her education and learning to live on her own. At this time Toomey has plans to enroll at the beginning of the school year in a school for the blind.
Both Lynn Toomey and her family are thankful to the community for its prayers and continued support.
But the Toomey family isn't the only one to comment on how much having the community behind them helps when a health crisis strikes.
Roberts' co-workers at the ambulance service have opened an account for her at First National Bank of Atmore. Funds raised and deposited there are to help defray Roberts' expenses, such as meals, while she must remain in Birmingham.
Still said the response to the fund has been heartwarming.
"When you need something, this town really rallies around you. Even people who she (Roberts) has taken on the ambulance have called to help," she said.
Roberts has had a lot to deal with in recent years, including the death of her husband and having some of her children fall seriously ill. But she has remained an independent soul through all those trials.
"Sometimes I think, 'How does she do all that?' " Still said.
In a way, it seems, that have won over the hearts of the people of Atmore.