Father feeling 'awesome' after kidney donation from son, organ working 'straight away'

A father who recently received a kidney donated by his son says he is feeling "really, really good" after the transplant operation and is happy to use his "plumbing" again.

Father and son Evan and Vyron Smith spoke to The AM Show in October ahead of the operation, describing how the 59-year-old, who had kidney disease, had to hook himself up to a dialysis machine every second night to clean his blood, making it difficult to stay away from home for long periods of time.

After seven years living with the illness, Vyron was found to be a match and in November was able to donate his kidney to his dad.

Speaking to The AM Show on Tuesday, Evan said he was now feeling "awesome".

"Really, really good. You know those simple things like going to the toilet," the father said. "I haven't used my plumbing, my waterworks for three years. As soon as the kidney went in, it started working straight away and I was going to the toilet every half an hour."

Evan, who said the operation has virtually saved his life, is "grateful for the doctors and the surgeons and the nurses" at Auckland City Hospital.

"The kidney works straightaway. I was up trying to go to the toilet straight away. For some people it takes a while for it to wake up. I guess his kidney is so healthy that it wanted to work straight away....it's alive and kicking.

"You stay in hospital for a few days. I actually beat [Vyron] out of hospital. Then I've got to go back to the hospital every day for a month for blood tests so they make sure your body's not rejecting your kidney."

Vyron told The AM Show he had had a "tough few days" right after the operation.

"I'm feeling way better now 10 days in and I'm just so grateful that it all went well and you can just see all the changes in dad every day, that he's getting better," he said.

The son has been a young rugby player, previously playing with North Harbour in the Mitre 10 Cup before moving to Sydney with the dream of signing with the New South Wales Waratahs. The operation means contact sport is now out of the question.

"I just have to look after myself, which I plan to do, just eat healthy and keep fit and keep the one that's in there nice."

According to Kidney Health New Zealand, about one in ten Kiwis have undiagnosed kidney disease. Eight people will start dialysis every week, but only roughly 170 people will receive a kidney transplant each year. 

Symptoms of kidney disease include discomfort when passing urine, blood in urine, pain in the loin, lethargy and shortness of breath.