Transplant Team Ireland

Keep up-to-date with me on This Limbo - a blog about dialysis & other curiosities

Sunday, August 15, 2010


This blog has presented a rare strain of writer's block for me.

When I was first asked to record my experiences of the Games, I struggled to find words to fill the white space and now when the time comes for a last post I have too much to say.

The week felt like a month in the best possible way. It was filled with nerves and shiny objects and happy moments too many to mention.

It has been surreal too. As an event it was a strange eye-opener. I am relatively new to sickness and this week immersed me in the transplant/dialysis scene in a way that I had avoided thus far.

The transitions of the last few years are hard to take at times. A leap - no, a plummet - from being healthy to being chronically ill, to now being categorised as some class of an athlete of all things!

This was a week to search frantically for some pause button and take stock. But of course there wasn't time for that. There was running to do.

The last contests in Santry yesterday brought the competition phase to a close but no sporting event is complete without a good dinner dance in a hotel suite with profiteroles for dessert.

The Gala Ball was fantastic. Some healthy humans I like to hang around with accompanied me and they were taken aback at the sight of a near empty bar by midnight and a dancefloor full of people that they had only ever regarded as patients.

I explained to them that we have all had enough bad nights to appreciate the good ones.

Today brought the expected sense of anticlimax and the recognition of the fact that the Games were the distraction through which I had personally sought shelter for the last few months.

But far outweighing that disappointment is the legacy this week has left in its wake. For that, I have no words.

PS This blog will now be going to blog heaven, but for those of you who need to fill time in a civil service job or on dialysis or in sleepless nights spent on PD you can keep an eye on my exciting life at
This Limbo - a blog about dialysis & other curiosities

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I've had worse days...

I awoke today with a lower body full of muscles that were not speaking to me and two medals by my bed.

Yesterday was a great one. I could try to be modest, but humility cannot be worn well by everyone. It certainly doesn't go well with gold ;)

My victory on the badminton court was a landmark in my personal battle with this kidney failure nonsense. A day of taking and holding control over it and laughing in its face.

The matches that lay before me at the start of the day were minor compared to some of the head-to-heads that were highlights for the spectators, hell for those involved, but I got through them and got my reward.

Contrary to the expectations of some glass-half-empty commentators, I did not succumb to Mayo-itis and fold on the big day - perhaps I have a future in motivational speaking, held up as an example to the GAA folk from the county of repeated All-Ireland failures!

To top off the gold, there was also success in the doubles and this was almost sweeter because it was shared with another Irish contestant and also by extension shared with her lovely family.

It's been a long time since I managed to stay up and awake for almost 18 hours, but yesterday something overcame the tiredness.

I suspect it was something like joy.


While it seemed that all the action was at the badminton courts yesterday, the cycling was also taking place and the Irish had much success there.

Today I met Tom Metcalfe who had the privilege of being presented with his medals at the end of the 5k and 20k races by his 92-year-old mother.

This week is as much about the families of all of us as it is about ourselves. They have been through the worrying, and time spent in a waiting room, fully conscious of passing minutes must surely be worse than being 'under', unaware of the move of the scalpel across your skin.

They may have to remain on the sideline in the last few days, just as they have sat by our beds in the past, but their being there has as always been enough. It has been plenty.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

And they're off...

I know this is my first Games and that I therefore have nothing to compare it to - and I know I may be a little biased by the fact it is on Irish soil - but the unfolding of the opening ceremony set the perfect tone for this special week.

For one thing, the sun was shining and that hasn't happened in at least a month of sundays in Dublin.

For another thing, there was a sense of celebration before the first medal had even been taken from its box and given a polish.

There will be some for whom crossing the finish line first is the goal this week. For many though, getting to the start line in Dublin on sunday night was an achievement in itself.


Day Two and on campus there was the air of something stirring and winners winning at a remove from the Games base - word of their successes were drifting along on a grand warm wind coming down from Coolock and from tree-lined home straights in events like the mini-marathon.

The stories too have started to bob to the surface. The amazing ties that link some of the people in Dublin this week - literal blood brothers and sisters. The medical journeys that some have taken to the brink of death and back to their new life.

Thankfully, the media is taking some notice.


Tomorrow, the activity will be mostly at DCU where those of us who like to think we can play badminton will take over the sports hall.

This will be my first event. I'm not sure if I'm nervous or excited or if that feeling in my tummy may just be related to the old organ failure.

It'll be an early start. If anyone sees me slumped against a tree on the way up the avenue, just give me a push and a cup of coffee.

Best of luck everyone!