8:30 a.m. Wake up. Eat breakfast. Take vitals.
9:00 a.m. Take morning prescriptions. Go about normal day.
9:00 p.m. Take same prescriptions a second time. Go to sleep.
8:30 a.m. Wake up. Repeat.
While this stringent medical schedule may seem daunting to most, for Steinbrenner senior Aaron Wilson, it’s reality. Diagnosed with a kidney deficiency at the mere age of five, Wilson certainly ins’t a newcomer to the medical scene. However, he is in fact the proud, new owner of a fully functioning, healthy kidney; something the 18 year old never thought could be true until now.
“They think I was born with it but we didn’t find out until I was about five years old, and by then, both my kidneys had already failed,” said Wilson.
Originally intended to receive the transplant from his brother, Wilson experienced a change of events when it turned out he and his biological sibling were surprisingly incompatible.
“My brother was originally supposed to be my donor but it turned out that he wasn’t compatible, so what they did instead was find a 27 year old who’d actually died of a gunshot wound to the head. They were able to recover his two kidneys and liver, which I acquired one of the kidneys,” said Wilson.
So on Mar. 5 of 2014, after nearly a lifetime of waiting on a transplant he knew would one day be the key to saving his life, Wilson went into surgery. In just under three hours, thanks to the skilled hands of Dr. John Leone and his team of surgeons working at Tampa General Hospital, Wilson finally received his long-awaited kidney.
“I’m not allowed back at school because my immune system is way too low to be around sick people but so far, I’m doing great,” said Wilson.
In regards to his hectic schedule of various prescriptions, Wilson is expected to ingest a total of eight different medications daily, multiple times a day.
“At exactly 9:00 a.m. I have to take eight different kinds of medicines, three of which are anti-rejections, one of them is an anti-viral, another one is for preventing thrush since I take so many other medications, and then the last is almost like a water pill. Since all of the pills I’m taking hold back a lot of sodium and water, they [doctors] want me to get rid of that. I take the thrush medication four times a day,” said Wilson.
If that doesn’t seem like a mouth-full already, imagine repeating the entire process come bedtime as well. For Wilson, this has been his life for nearly two months now. However, in comparison to life before his transplant, the sacrifice has certainly been worthwhile.
“I know before the kidney transplant I was very tired and wasn’t having a lot of energy to do certain things. But now I can tell that I’m getting a lot more energy. I’m going to keep this kidney as healthy as possible,” said Wilson.
With his high school career gradually coming to a halt, Wilson is focusing on his future following the culmination of his senior year optimistically, and plans to attend college in the Fall.
“I’ve already applied to HCC and plan on studying psychology, so if all goes well, I plan to be either a school psychiatrist or maybe go towards a more professional field,” said Wilson.
With an entire chapter of his life nearly complete, the soon-to-be high school graduate is preparing to leave behind some of the toughest days he’s known in exchange for a virtually unknown future; as all high school seniors are. Only this time, equipped with a fully functioning kidney to help transport him there.