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Brotherly love is a life saver for Mattie

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Lifestyle – Judy Murphy hears of the impact of living donors for people in need of a transplant

”I could spend all evening and the most of the weekend explaining what this transplant means to me and I don’t think I would get it across to you,” says Mattie Hoban about the change that has taken place in his life since receiving a kidney transplant seven months ago.

Sitting across the table from Mattie is his brother Sean, the man whose donation is responsible for giving Mattie back his quality of life.
Sean isn’t looking for any glory for donating a kidney to his older brother – the reason he has agreed to be interviewed, he says honestly, is to demonstrate that living donation is not only possible, but that it can be hugely successful.

The two brothers live near each other in Abbey-Duniry, East Galway, and it’s obvious that they are very close. Sean, who is self-employed, runs a garage, while Mattie has a small farm. Years ago he was a lorry driver, but that all changed drastically back in 1989. He went to the doctor suffering from tiredness and was initially prescribed an antibiotic for a kidney infection.

When that didn’t work, the doctor sent him to a kidney specialist in Merlin Park Hospital. The father of three young children, aged between 12 and six years of age was told almost immediately that he was suffering from kidney failure and needed to begin dialysis immediately.

It was a dreadful shock for Mattie and his wife Kathleen, but there was no other option. He was very sick during the dialysis, but a year and a half later a kidney became available and he received a transplant.

Unknown to Mattie and Kathleen, Sean had put out feelers about becoming a living donor way back then, but while that was allowed in other countries, it wasn’t being done in Ireland at the time.

The kidney he received worked, “but it wasn’t 100 per cent”, Mattie recalls, adding that he still wasn’t able to return to work.

Eventually it also started to fail, and by 1997, after being checked by transplant experts in Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital, he was back on dialysis. Again, he was back to Merlin Park three times weekly, being hooked up to a machine so that toxins could be filtered from his body. He was fortunate in that it only lasted a couple of months – by early 1998, another kidney had become available.
“The second was brilliant and I got a good 10 years out of it,” he says.
For Mattie one of the highlights of getting that kidney is a thing most of us don’t even think about and it’s the simple act of drinking water.

When you are on dialysis you are restricted to 500 ml of water a day – very little. After he got that transplant, he wasn’t allowed water for several days – the nurses and his family would just wet his lips. “Then the doctor came in and said ‘you are on free fluids from today’,

meaning I could have water. It was better than winning the Lottery.”
But 10 years later, it failed. Mattie explains that some people who receive kidney transplants can “have them for 20 or 30 years, but there are no guarantees”.

Over 20 years ago, when he was first diagnosed, the average lifespan for a transplanted kidney was seven years, but that has improved hugely, thanks to advances in medicine.

However, for Mattie, because he’d had a build up of antibodies over time, as a reaction to the previous two kidneys being put into his body, it was getting more difficult to get a match, he says.

He went back on dialysis in 2007 and was on it for five years. He got great care from the staff in Merlin Park’s dialysis unit but it was a grim time, he says.

“Dialysis keeps you alive, but you can’t live,” he explains, outlining the dietary restrictions involved when a person has kidney failure, not to mention the constant visits to specialists on top of the three days of dialysis every week at Merlin Park.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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A man lies on a bed of nails at the opening of Galway Shopping Centre, Headford Road, on October 26, 1972

1921

Silence is golden

Leaders on both sides have stated that the best assistance the country can give in the making of peace is to keep silence.

During the past week there has been a great deal of speculation, most of it harmless enough, as, for instance, the enterprising American journalist’s “exclusive” on the first meeting of the British Premier and the President of the Irish Republic; much of it positively mischievous, as the case of the efforts of a certain journal, which has grown hoary in the reputation for throwing in the apple of discord, to anticipate failure in advance.

Our American colleague was on surer and on safer ground when he told of how de Valera and Lloyd George met.

“Mr. Lloyd George,” he cabled, “was sitting at his desk when the Irish President entered. For just a minute these two gazed fixedly at one another. Then the British Premier walked across the intervening space and shook de Valera by the hand. He led him to a seat where they sat side by side. The atmosphere was tense. They faced one another. Then Lloyd George reached down for a box of cigars. But the Irish President is of Spartan mould. He neither permits himself to drink nor smoke. He politely but firmly waved the box away. Mr. Lloyd George, however, selected and lighted a Havana, and as the smoke curled upwards the atmosphere became decidedly easier!”

Good planning

The wise and practical man always lays by a store against the time when supplies will be scarce. One of the most serious effects of the prolonged drought is the scarcity of supplies of fodder for cattle-feeding during the coming winter and spring.

The hay crop is not more than half the average yield. The corn crop is far below normal. Turnips in many districts are a partial failure. We have frequently emphasised the importance of growing catch-crops to supplement other feeding stuffs raised on the farm, but it is only under circumstances such as the present that their utility is brought home to farmers. Owing to the early harvest, a larger area than is usual can and should be put down this season. This would make good, to some extent, at least, the shortage of hay and other feeding-stuffs.

The demonstration plots laid down by the County Committee of Agriculture have shown that catch-crops, such as vetches and rye as well as other mixtures, can be successfully grown in all parts of County Galway.

We would urge on farmers the desirability – nay, the necessity – of procuring seed and making early preparation for the sowing of an increased area of catch-crops this season.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

A weekly peep into wacky and wonderful world of country life

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In the mid-1970s, JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY was a schoolboy with a camera who had an eye for the unusual shots. He took this picture outside McDonagh’s Thatch Bar in Oranmore of a gentleman taking a break from the rigours of life, with the Connacht Tribune poster on the window and also note the weekly Woman’s Choice magazine on the other side. In those days, ‘print was king’.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s most unusual these days in the newspaper game to get anything in the post. Everything pops in on the email  . . . we’re all hopping in and out of Google every few minutes . . . and of course if the mobile is more than a metre away from our person, it’s as if we’re standing naked in a crowded church.

Anyway, last week, a handwritten envelope arrived from the current editor of the Tuam Herald, David Burke, who I soldiered with for a number of years back in the 1980s, which included a copy of an old column I had written for The Herald, back in January of 1984.

The column was called Country Scene and was written under the pen name of Pierce Ploughman, a king of play of words (I think) on a famous late 14th century poem called Piers Plowman and written by a William Langland, dealing with the quest for the true Christian life.

At the time one of the reasons for the pen name was that it would allow me to write a bit more anonymously about some of the characters I’d meet on the highways and byways of country life, but of course after the first column or two, my cover was blown.

One of the jolts we all get from looking back at things from the past is of course that realisation that time seems to have slipped so quickly – almost as in the blink of an eye.

The column David Burke sent to me, and written over 37-years ago, actually jogged a little memory tributary in my brain. I could remember writing it and I could remember the local character it was based on too, thankfully still alive, hale and hearty.

His name in the column was Malachy and like Pierce Ploughman of course it wasn’t his real one and his novelty in his trait of never being quite able to make up his mind about anything. One of Malachy’s dilemmas was summed up in this extract from the Country Scene column of January 7, 1984:

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Novel book offers solace for persistent pain sufferers

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Dr Monty Lyman

Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

If you are one of the thousands of people who suffer from persistent pain, listen up.  A new book by a junior doctor in the UK promises to offer solace. “Everything we think we know about pain is wrong. By ‘we’, I mean us as a society; I mean most people in and outside the medical establishment. We misunderstand the nature of pain and this misunderstanding is ruining the lives of millions.”

In his second book, The Painful Truth, Dr Monty Lyman, 28, reveals that he has been cured of longstanding and occasionally severe irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) through hypnotherapy.

“Hypnosis was something I never heard mentioned at medical school and something I previously sneered at, but my own pain relief has been near miraculous.”

Imagining “his bowels changing from rocky rapids to the languid Oxfordshire Thames” had the most powerful effect.

Working in Acute General Medicine at Oxford University Hospitals, he declares that pain is a protector – “this truth is forming the foundation of a pain revolution”. Understanding this ultimately relieves pain.

He recalls the moment when his interest in pain first began. He was playing cricket on a beach when a hook became lodged in his foot.

“But the pain I felt fluctuated wildly, despite the issue in the tissue not changing one bit. The pain began when I saw the offending object protruding from my foot, was diminished by the presence of impressed onlookers, grew worse when I was on my own, and even more so when I visualized the angles needed for the hook’s exit strategy. The seed in my mind grew into a fundamental truth: pain is clearly not a direct measure of injury. Hurt does not equal harm.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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