Gordon and Lynn Kirk
Gordon Kirk had ascites for years and due to what his wife Lynn calls the usual man thing he delayed seeing a doctor. Neither a heavy drinker nor a smoker, he never thought for a moment that his ascites might be liver-related. Eventually blood tests revealed a liver abnormality; then scans revealed a clot in the vena cava restricting blood flow to the liver; and after a referral to the Royal Victoria Hospital in 2014, a previously undetected clot in the portal vein was discovered. By this time cirrhosis had set in and Gordon needed a transplant urgently.
Before the clot in his portal vein was discovered, Gordon had been an outpatient in a local hospital for 8 years and although his condition was deemed stable, he was jaundiced and had very poor sleep patterns. After cirrhosis set in he suffered encephalopathy so alarming that he was tested for a stroke. His transplant finally went ahead in November 2015 after three false starts within nine months – he and Lynn had been called to King’s College Hospital in London and told, for different reasons each time, that the transplant could not go ahead.
Asked what is different for Gordon after his transplant, Lynn’s answer is simple – everything. Gordon is alert, active and happy. Lynn does not have to speak for him as she did in the days when he was too weak and lethargic to speak for himself. Both she and their daughter Andrea are still getting used to Gordon being fully involved in their life as a family, still not completely aware to the sheer scale of his recovery. Gordon enjoys an active lifestyle, with a renewed interest in D.I.Y. and he has returned to his boating activities and to driving.
Gordon says: I am immensely grateful to the teams at RVH and Kings College Hospital for their patience and care. Of course I will always remain deeply grateful to the anonymous donor and his family for making my recovery possible. At ten months post-transplant I now have renewed optimism and look forward to tackling the future with vigour and optimism.
Please join the organ donor register, tell your family and friends you have done so and offer the gift of life to someone like Gordon.
It is a gift that will be cherished.