Yellowknife resident Roy Dahl has been waiting for a kidney transplant for more than seven years and Covid-19 has caused further complications.

During spring 2020, Dahl said health professionals reassured him that he would receive his much-needed replacement kidney. However, the emergence of the pandemic has kept him on a waiting list.

“That’s when I was told that everything had been delayed or cancelled,” said Dahl. “There’s a lot more cases of Covid occurring. As the days go by, it seems it takes up a lot of bed space in the Alberta system. Hopefully I’ll get that magic phone call.”

Last June, the lead surgeon and a cardiologist reviewed Dahl’s medical file, telling him that everything looked good to receive a transplant by Christmas.

A call from the transplant coordinator in December verified that Dahl, 61, was atop the waiting list and that “(he) was going to be getting a kidney,” he recalled.

Though 2021 has come and gone without the surgery, he remains assured that everything will work out.

“Not much I can do about it except continue the dialysis and hope for the best,” he said.

Dahl’s predicament began in 2013-‘14 after he started feeling more and more tired daily.

A trip to his doctor led to blood work being done. The results revealed that Dahl’s kidney was functioning at close to 35 per cent.

“My kidneys, basically, were shutting down,” he said. “As the year wore on, I was becoming more and more anemic, I guess. I was supposed to go to university in the fall of 2014 to finish my history degree. About four days before I was supposed to leave in late August, I became really sick.”

Another round of blood work showed that his kidney functionality had rapidly decreased to around 11 per cent.

While in Edmonton for his initial dialysis treatments in December 2014, health professionals informed Dahl that he could expect to wait three to five years for a kidney transplant.

“You’re listed as soon as you start your first day of dialysis treatment,” he said. “I was fully expecting to get a kidney. Between the time period they specified — between three to five years after I started — so I was expecting by 2019 I would have kidney.”

“Then nothing happened,” he said.

All the while, he’s racked up close to 1,100 dialysis treatments. He requires them each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, each taking about 4.5 hours.

Dahl’s hopes are still pinned on a call from the hospital with good news.

“I literally jump every time the phone rings,” he said. “(I) keep hoping that it will finally be the call that says, ‘We have a kidney for you. Do you wish to proceed with the procedure?’”

But Covid still looms large. An individual close to Dahl recently tested positive for the coronavirus, meaning Dahl must also get tested.

“No idea how it’ll affect me except contracting it will delay any transplant by at least a month,” he said of the potential for more waiting.

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