Woman given transplant from mother recovering Donor of kidney also doing well

October 31, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

Ellen Jones, wife of Union Bridge Mayor Perry L. Jones Jr., is recuperating at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore after receiving a kidney from her mother, Irene Brown of Westminster, in transplant surgery Wednesday.

Mrs. Brown, 63, was moved to a private room in the hospital shortly after the surgery. Mrs. Jones was moved to a semi-private room Friday. Both were in fair condition yesterday.

"The doctors expect her to make a full recovery, her and her mother," Mr. Jones said Friday. "They said having them apart will give them encouragement to move around, and they'll get exercise."

Mrs. Jones, 38, was diagnosed with diabetes about 20 years ago, Mr. Jones said. She had been waiting for an organ donation since February and currently is third on the list of those waiting for pancreas transplants, Mr. Jones said.

"In February, we found out she had a severe kidney problem. But about two years ago, the doctor said she could experience kidney failure," Mr. Jones said. "The doctor said that it could be five years or 15 years. It's just something you can't tell."

Mr. Jones said he learned a few medical lessons while he supported his wife through her illness.

"I found out all kinds of stuff about diabetes when we went to the doctor back in March or so. I didn't know that diabetes effects every part of your body, just about. I mean, it is more than just high blood sugar and taking insulin shots," he said.

"The doctor told us [last spring] that the diabetes could cause her to have a heart attack, and sure enough, a little over a month later, she had one," Mr. Jones said. "It was a result of the kidney problem."

Family members were contacted as potential donors, but Mr. Jones said his wife's doctors said there was a chance that even her relatives would not produce a viable organ for her.

"They looked at her mother, her brother and her sisters. They couldn't use her father because he's diabetic, too," Mr. Jones said. "They did a lot of tests on them, but even then they weren't sure they'd get a match."

After the doctors determined that Mrs. Brown's kidney could function for her daughter, they became worried that Mrs. Brown's age might affect the kidney's effectiveness, Mr. Jones said.

"From an older person, you might get a kidney that would last five to 10 more years, but with a young person, you might get a kidney that would last a lifetime," Mr. Jones said.

Mr. Jones said doctors told him that his wife's body is accepting the transplanted organ.

When Mrs. Jones returns home from what is expected to be a two-week hospital stay, Mr. Jones said he, his son Perry Jones III, 12, and their neighbors and friends will care for her.

But the mayor said he's more concerned that his wife will want to hurry back to her job at Standard Federal Savings and Loan in Frederick. She took disability leave in February.

"Everybody is pretty helpful in town, so she'll be taken care of," Mr. Jones said. "But she's been off work since February, and she'd like to get back, I know."

Mr. Jones said his wife may be back in the hospital shortly after her release if a pancreas becomes available for a transplant.

"No one knows how long she would have had to wait if we waited for both [organs]," Mr. Jones said.

"At one point, she was 170-something [on the waiting list] for the kidney and 86 or so for the pancreas. Last Friday, she was number three on the list for a pancreas, so who knows?" He was silent for a moment.

"Then she won't be a diabetic anymore," he said.

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