Having a work-life (and dialysis) balance

Thursday 14 March 2013

Nick Bundy with his daughter, son and wife

Nick Bundy was diagnosed with Alports syndrome in 1976 when he was 21 years old. The genetic condition caused his kidneys to fail. His father donated a kidney that lasted Nick for the next 35 years.

Unfortunately the kidney failed in November 2011, and Nick has been on haemodialysis since then. “It’s much improved compared to the first time round. Sessions now take about 4 hours, but 35 years ago they took ten!”

He has also signed up for the national ‘paired donation’ scheme. Paired donation is possible when a friend or family member is willing to donate to their loved one, but isn’t a blood and tissue match. Instead they pair with another couple in the same situation. The donor of the first pair gives to the recipient of the second, and vice versa. In other words, the pairs ‘swap’ kidneys.

This paired donation scheme runs four sessions a year, and on average matches up eight pairs each time. Nick is lucky to have three friends and family members who are willing to donate, which increases the odds of finding a matched pair.

The next session is in April. If he doesn’t find a match then Nick will consider signing up to the deceased donor transplant list.

Nick works full time in the law department of Intelsat, a US satellite company. “I go into the office every day – it helps ensure that life doesn’t just become home-hospital-home again.”

Nick has dialysis at Camberwell satellite unit, one of our walk-in dialysis clinics, three afternoons a week. He hooks up his laptop and works through the session. “It’s not ideal as I can only type with one hand and I can’t print, but it’s still productive and more convenient than going into the hospital.”

Although life has to be planned around dialysis, Nick doesn’t let it hold him back. He sings in a choir, cycles and goes to the gym to help ensure he’s in good shape for when a matched kidney is found, and spends quality time with his family. Last year they went on a two-week holiday to Majorca with the help of Freedom, a specialist holiday company that arranges dialysis abroad.

“You don’t have the freedom to spontaneously do what you want, but if you plan ahead then anything is possible.”

Staff and patients are running an information stand on Thurs 14 March to support World Kidney Day. For information about kidney disease and organ donation visit Guy’s main reception 9am-3pm.

Last updated: March 2013

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