29-year-old David Beirne from Knockcroghery met his fiancée, Irene Nestor, back in September 2013, and the former St. Dominic’s hurler proposed over Christmas in 2014. The happy couple are now due to marry this July in Irene’s native Tuam.
However, life is rarely straightforward and a week after David and Irene hit it off, David was diagnosed with kidney failure. He now faces the prospect of a hospital visit on the morning of his wedding – for vital treatment.
As part of Organ Donor Awareness Week, David, who works as a mechanic and part-time farmer, spoke to the Roscommon People.
“Some days you’d be fine and other days you’d just want to go home and sleep on the couch. During the winter you’d be freezing the whole time.
“Little things like when you go out to dinner and you’ve to watch what you eat. You’ve a fluid restriction; you’re only allowed two litres of fluids a day and that’s it. You go home after work in the evening and you’re just drained. They’re the things people never think about. Something as simple as putting gravy on the dinner, the gravy counts as part of your fluid intake for the day.”
Back in January 2016, David commenced haemodialysis treatment which he undergoes three times a week. This treatment commences at 7 am at the Wellstone in Galway and this requires him to be on the road at 5.10 am in order to be back for work later that afternoon.
David and Irene’s wedding day and honeymoon plans will also be affected with David forced to choose whether to have his treatment the day of or the day after his wedding. He chose the former, not that it was much of a choice.
As for the honeymoon, David and Irene are limited to destinations close to home.
He said: “You’d have to try and organise your dialysis outside the country and you’d have to trust that public hospitals would take you. The biggest side of it is that you’d always be afraid you’d miss out on your transplant while you were gone.”
David has always carried a donor card and says that an opt-out policy should be considered in Ireland.
“Until you’re actually in the situation where you need an organ, you don’t realise how valuable someone having an organ donor card is. I think the opt-out system is the way forward. If you really don’t want to do something, you’ll make sure you’re not doing it. Everyone has the best intentions of doing something but then just don’t get around to it through no fault of their own. The selfless decision to donate will give me and other people with organ failure a chance for a better quality of life.
“I’d encourage everyone to support organ donation and the volunteers selling Forget Me Not flowers and offering donor cards in Roscommon town this Friday (tomorrow).”
As for the other life-changing event in 2013, David said: “Irene’s always been brilliant. She’s been the one that gave me any kick up the arse when I’ve needed one! I was lucky I met her when I did because I don’t actually think I’d have got as far without her. She’s always the one who sees me when I come home in the evening and I’m flat on the couch. She’s always lived with it and I just can’t wait for the day when she doesn’t have to live with it anymore.”
Organ Donor Cards can also be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association: LoCall 1890 543639 or Freetext the word DONOR to 50050. Visit www.ika.ie.