DEXTER, Mo. (AP) - Bill Kidd has been injecting insulin into his system four times a day since he was 23 years old — but no more.
The 42-year-old Desert Storm veteran from Dexter is a recent recipient of not only a new pancreas, but also a kidney. The double transplant was performed at Iowa City University Hospital, which is affiliated with the Veterans Hospital in Iowa City. Kidd was referred to them from his VA doctors in St. Louis. The Iowa location is one of very few in the U.S. where the double transplant surgery is performed.
“This has all been a God thing,” says Kidd’s wife, Deanna. “He put this all together — from getting him on the donor list so quickly to locating a suitable donor in such a short time — it truly is a God thing.”
Bill Kidd has had some close calls over the years in dealing with his diabetes and subsequently other major health issues. He was placed on dialysis three months before his surgery because his kidneys were failing. His failing kidneys, his dependence upon insulin, and other complications including gastroparesis, a severe stomach disorder, all played into his being a prime candidate for the double transplant.
His sugar has shot up as high as 900 at its worst. He’s lost two toes to complications from his diabetes and has had surgery on both eyes. The disease was literally killing him, organ by organ.
So, when doctors in St. Louis told the family about the Iowa facility and the possibility of a double transplant, the Kidds listened.
“We prayed about it,” Bill says. “We prayed a lot.”
The couple’s decision to pursue a transplant was the initial step in a lengthy and involved process that began in late 2012.
“I saw every kind of doctor you can imagine for testing before I was approved for the transplant,” Kidd says. “I had blood work, ex-rays and saw a dentist, a cardiologist, a pulmonologist — you name it. They checked my feet, my legs, my heart. I event had to see a psychiatrist to make sure that I was emotionally and mentally prepared for the surgery.”
When it was determined Kidd was an appropriate candidate for the double transplant, the wheels were put into motion. He was placed on a regional donor list in September 2013, for both a pancreas and a kidney. The decision to put him on the list came from a panel of experts in their medical field at the Iowa facility.
Bill received a call in March 2014 from the Iowa hospital stating that there was a possible donor available.
“The doctor told me there was about a 50/50 chance of the surgery being successful,” he recalls.
The donor had been a heroin user, and the Kidds didn’t feel that it was the right time. Again, they turned to their faith.
“A patient has the right to refuse a possible donor,” Bill noted. “I prayed about it, and God said it wasn’t yet time, and so we refused that offer.”
It wasn’t long before another offer came.