“The phone rang at around 1AM. Apparently the hospital had tried me once —they only ring you twice and then move on to the next person. I’d been on the transplant list for three years at that point. It was the night before I was supposed to start dialysis. I had all the tubes in and everything. Long story short, I contracted a rare disease on a farm when I was 14. By the time I was 22 my kidneys had almost stopped working,” said Harvey, his mellow demeanour unchanged.
Holly picks up the thread of the shared memory as only a partner can, “It was a cocktail of emotions really. It was January. It was dark and cold. Harvey was shaking as we got in the car—you get the call and you have to move quickly. We were staying at my mother’s. We weren’t living together yet. We’d been working on a van and wanted to go traveling, but Harv was too poorly, so the prospect of the transplant came with a mixture of dread and excitement.”
“The corridors were empty as they wheeled me to the operating theatre. There was a cleaning robot making its way across the floor. When they opened the doors, I saw that the nurses and surgeons were already there waiting for me.”
“I didn’t know his mother well at that point, but we both cried all night in the waiting room—that cemented our relationship. There were tears and a lot of burnt coffee served by a lonely teenager working in the café.”
“I don’t like science fiction really, and I’m not religious or anything like that, but after waking up from the surgery I told Holly that I really wanted to watch Star Wars. That kind of amazed us both. A few weeks later I got a letter from the parents of the donor. In that letter they mention how their son was a big Star Wars fan. I’m quite rational. I’m not religious or even very spiritual, but that still gives me goosebumps.”
Holly’s blue eyes brightened. “I would drive up to Bristol after work every day to see him. Armed with snacks, I’d sit with him and we’d talk until the nurses came to kick me out. People usually take months to recover, but five days later he was already on his feet and doing things. A year later we were in the van headed for Europe. No dialysis tubes. Just us and the road.”
When have you felt that luck was on your side? I have always felt extremely lucky that Harv and I met as it felt very right when we got together….That is a bit cheesy! (Holly)
What did you want to be as you were growing up? Is that what you became? I really wanted to be a surfer. That was when i moved to Devon. I wanted to be really good at it. I would say that, yes, that is what I have become. I work for a surf brand and think about it all the time. In the future I really hope that Holly and I can set up a little business connected to outdoor sports. (Harvey)