Hopkins exec blogs kidney donation
Ten days ago, Johns Hopkins Hospital exec Pamela Paulk had two kidneys. Today, she has one -- and a co-worker she barely knew three years ago also has one, thanks to Paulk's decision to donate one of hers. Just because she could.
Her story begins about 10 years ago after she observed a transplant surgery and started thinking about becoming a kidney donor herself. About five years ago, she decided she was ready to give, but she wanted her kidney to go to someone she was connected to in some way. Then, a few years later, she ran into Robert Imes. A painter and mechanic at the hospital who Paulk knew well enough to say "Hello" to, Imes had been out sick for 10 months with kidney disease.
"I said, 'Robert, I really missed you. Is there anything I can do for you?' He said, 'I need a kidney.' And I said, 'You can have mine,'" Paulk recalled. ...
As odd as it sounds, she meant those words. Today, both she and Imes are recovering from their surgeries and doing well.
"I felt like my life wouldn't be complete until I did this," she said. And giving is the great joy she knew it would be (even if her belly does hurt a little).
At first, Paulk was reluctant to write about her medical journey. The 55-year-old Canton resident remembered what her mother used to say: If you give a gift and then brag about it, it isn't much of a gift. But she knew she might be able to turn her tale into a bigger gift, by drawing attention to the need for kidney donors.
Maybe someone else would even decide to follow her lead.
Things are already starting to happen. Her brother went to the MVA just the other day. He made himself an organ donor.
"The wheel has begun to spin," she said.