Health

NWT pipe band member recovers after kidney transplant


Members of the Northwest Territories Pipe Band are wishing one of their own a healthy recovery after he received a kidney transplant last week. 

Ian Rennie says he got a call last Monday evening, following dialysis, to tell him a donor kidney was available. He was medevaced to a hospital in Edmonton where the operation was completed on Wednesday morning. 

“I’m doing well,” he told Cabin Radio from Edmonton earlier this week.

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“I’m doing fine. I’m walking about. There is still a little bit of pain where the operation site was.”

On the pipe band’s Facebook page earlier this week, members congratulated Rennie on his operation and wished him well. Rennie said people from Yellowknife and elsewhere in Canada and the world have reached out to him. 

“It’s surprising. You just realize how many contacts you make in the course of the years,” he said. 

Rennie has been part of the NWT’s pipe band for around a decade. He said he likes the camaraderie of the group.

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 “It’s something completely different from my normal course of work,” he said. “It’s also very relieving in terms of stress. Catharsis, you might say.”

Rennie has been on dialysis since 2015 as he has Goodpasture syndrome – a rare autoimmune disease that attacks the lungs and kidneys. He’s been waiting for a kidney donor for about three years. 

Now the operation is complete, he no longer has to undergo dialysis, which is time-consuming and can have long-term side effects. He hopes he will have more energy, too.

 “At the end of each day, I would be very, very, very tired,” Rennie explained. 

“I couldn’t lift things and with the lack of energy, you can’t really do a lot. I would go and do my bagpiping practice and sometimes I would just get enormously tired towards the end.”

Rennie noted, however, that some “things will never be the same because a kidney transplant is not a cure, it’s a treatment.” 

Rennie said organ donations are important, whether it’s from living donors or after people have died. 

“If it can help an individual lead a better quality of life, or even save their life, I think that’s very altruistic,” he said. “[It’s] certainly a bad situation when a person dies, but it makes the best out of a bad situation.” 

Rennie said while he recovers, he will have to stay in Edmonton for at least three months. He noted that due to Covid-19, he won’t be spending too long in hospital as he’s currently taking medication to prevent his body from rejecting the organ that weakens his immune system.

“They actually want me out of the hospital as quick as possible because of the upsurge,” he said.

“The last place that I should be is in the hospital, where it’s the centre of Covid.”

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