Belfast Telegraph

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Mark Dobson: Mum's starting tests to see if she can give me a kidney

In the fifth of his exclusive weekly columns, Mark Dobson, the son of former MLA Jo-Anne, tells how he has high hopes for the future and why he can't wait for NI's match against Switzerland

That week for me was all about going backwards - my home dialysis kit going back, back to Daisy Hill this time via A&E and, of course, the clocks went back as well.

Early Tuesday morning at Waringstown we had a huge Baxters truck backed into our driveway. It was Davy the driver calling to pick up the home dialysis machine and kit, which sadly didn't work for me in the end.

But the biggest event of the week for me happened on Saturday, when I spent six hours in A&E at Daisy Hill.

Since Friday I had developed an increasing pain in my left side which I couldn't shake. Dialysis patients are immunosuppressant, so we can't take Ibuprofen - and the paracetamol wouldn't move it.

To be on the safe side, which we are told to be, I was advised to go to A&E at Daisy Hill in Newry to get checked out.

I have said many times that my admiration for our healthcare staff only increases and this was certainly true as mum and I watched them caring so attentively and calmly for an ever increasing throng of patients, including a few late-night Halloween revellers.

After a series of checks and tests I was admitted just as the clocks were being turned back an hour - it felt a little like I was going back in time, but I got confidence from the nurses who looked after me so well throughout that night and kept an eye on me.

After I was settled in and just before mum headed home in the early hours of Sunday morning she told me about a lady who she had been talking to just outside my ward.

She was bedded down with pillows and blankets for the night across some corridor chairs right next to two vending machines.

Mum was so touched by this lady's love and devotion for her elderly dad, who was being looked after in my ward. As we live our daily lives its sometimes very easy to forget the trials and tribulations which so many families go through at the most difficult of times.

However, the one constant in this world is love and devotion to those who return that love and this lady was no exception.

As I'm writing this I'm back on dialysis again in my usual ward and hoping to go home later on now that the pain has so thankfully eased off.

The one thing that hasn't eased off is my burning desire to travel to Switzerland to support Northern Ireland. My granda, brother Elliott and I were thrilled to be lucky enough to secure three tickets earlier this week and are in the final throes of making all the arrangements to travel.

My renal consultant Dr Neal Morgan and the team have been wonderful in helping to accommodate my dialysis to allow me to make the day trip and I am so thankful to them.

So while there have been backward steps this week I am being positive and have my eyes firmly fixed on the future.

Living and growing up in Northern Ireland can sometimes feel a little like living a life in reverse gear. I can't help but thinking that without agreement and consensus the wonderful doctors, nurses and health professionals who help so many patients in the most difficult of circumstances will not get the help they need to make all the positive changes they know need to be made.

If only we could bottle all the enthusiasm and positivity exuded by Michael O'Neill and his boys in projecting 'Our Wee Country' so well on the world stage.

Maybe then we could move forward to a new time of positivity, peace and progress.

Unusually the staff at Ward 11 South at the City Hospital in Belfast won't be seeing me this week, but they will be seeing mum. She's heading down to begin all the medical checks to see if she will be able to donate a kidney to me and will be passing on all the best from me to the super renal staff.

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Belfast Telegraph

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