My name is Rodney Bennett and I am a kidney transplant recipient. I call him my adoption and his name is ‘Little T’. Haha.
My kidneys began to fail in 2015, well this is when it was caught by the great doctors at UNMC. A few years before this I lived in Las Vegas. It was challenging because I didn’t really enjoy the place, I don’t like to gamble and I was too outdoorsy. I was coping by hanging with the wrong people and making stupid choices that would keep me up late, tired at work, eating whatever without thought, etc.
I started to show kidney failure symptoms (constant nausea, shortness of breath, diarrhea, and weakness). One night I felt so bad—I also had a weird back pain that night—so I went to the ER. They diagnosed me with IBS and thoracic pains. Eventually, a good friend convinced me to move back home as I was getting worse. I was depressed and desperate, and I lost my job.
So in 2015, I moved back to Omaha. After fainting in May 2015, UNMC found the cause of the kidney failure. Actually, they don’t know the exact cause as it was a combination of colitis, e.coli and shigella. I was diagnosed with nephropathy. They treated everything as well as kept my pre-existing conditions in line and under control throughout the whole process.
In January 2019, I had to start home hemodialysis. It was scary at first and quite life-altering. I was a high-performing manager at my job and I was extremely worried that I would not be able to keep up anymore. Dialysis, at times, was draining and it was time-consuming. Somehow, I still performed well at work and even started a chapter of one of their employee resource groups. Life outside of work was very different and not as enjoyable as it was before. I had a few scary moments on dialysis including a bacteria in my central line that I thought would remove me from the transplant list. Luckily, UNMC cleared the bacteria from the line and I was back on the list.
On the night of August 28, 2019, I got the call that a kidney was found for me, and if I accept I have to get to the hospital before midnight. Man! I was scared, nervous, and guilty because I knew that someone had to pass away for me to receive this. My care partners took me to UNMC. On August 29th, I woke up with a transplanted kidney.
I am very grateful to the individual that decided to be a donor.
This donation allowed for me to have a 2nd chance at life and to work harder at making a difference for others as well.
I need people to know, especially my fellow people of color, to stop it with the odd myths about transplants. They save lives and I am one of the many examples. I look forward to living my life to the fullest while making a positive impact on others in the same way this transplant has for me.