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Husband, wife recover after kidney transplant

Musical benefit for Doug and Sonie Gibson will be Sept. 8 at Station One.

He’s struggling with low blood pressure that has led to two falls.

She’s lost 22 pounds, marched through her fair share of pain and has been sapped by fatigue at the end of days caring for him.

But three weeks after Sonie Gibson’s kidney was removed from her body and transplanted into her husband Doug’s, the two say the worst is behind them.

They also are looking forward to a first date at a fundraiser to be held in their honor.

Scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, at Station One, the benefit will be as full of music as might be expected at an event for the accomplished drummer that Doug Gibson is.

Drummer Gary Nickell will sit in his place as members of Gibson’s popular 1980s band, New Music, gather to perform.

Among the others scheduled to take the back patio’s stage are One-Eyed Jack, Leadfoot, the Doug Moore Band, Top Shelf, Patrick Dawson and the Hugely Bros.

Those unable to attend can contribute at

Although Sonie Gibson said she has developed a high tolerance for pain because of a chronic back issue, she said she still is uncomfortable three weeks after her Aug. 2 surgery at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.

Incisions to remove her kidney “going three different ways” proved a challenge when she was caring for herself when she arrived home, then were aggravated when she rushed to slow her husband’s fall as he slid down a wall after his return.

She said her appetite is also just beginning to return after the pain killer she received post-surgery made the smell of food unappetizing.

Doug Gibson, who was hospitalized for 10 days, said his surgery was “absolutely uneventful,” which wasn’t the case when he received his first kidney, along with a pancreas 13 years ago.

“One and done, everything went smooth,” he said in his characteristic rhythm. “I’m just a little sensitive around my incision.”

“And the kidney she gave me was awesome,” he added.

While most kidneys take time to gear up, Doug Gibson said his new one “was working 100 percent as soon as they hooked it up to the artery.

But low blood pressure that caused him one fall in the hospital persisted after his release, and he was readmitted five days after discharge to be pumped up with fluids to try to counteract the problem.

His re-admittance happened after his wife strained herself trying to stop his fall.

“It kind of hurt, but we made it through it,” Mrs. Gibson said.

The two also have both fond, if somewhat panicky, memories of the morning of the surgery.

Because a transplant scheduled before them had been cancelled, the nurses came to both of them earlier than they expected, meaning their families hadn’t arrived and they’d been unable to see each other.

Sonie Gibson said that when a nurse told her she could see her family after her surgery, “I said, no, I’ll see them before.”

As that nurse was walking Sonie Gibson toward her husband’s room for a visit, a phone in the nurse’s pocket rang. On the other end was the nurse from Doug Gibson’s room saying he refused to go to surgery without seeing his wife.

Family members arrived a few minutes later, shared time with both, and the husband and wife went to the pre-op room thinking they’d see one another after surgery.

But when Doug Gibson heard his wife’s voice on the far side of a curtain, nurses parted it and they shared a few moments together.

Mrs. Gibson, who’d never had surgery, “was calmer than me,” her husband said. “She looked like she was going to buy a pair of new shoes.”

“It was almost scaring me that I was that calm,” agreed Mrs. Gibson, who recalled watching the sun rise that morning in her hospital room.

Despite their struggles, the two, who at 54 have been married for half of their lives, have at least one comical memory to share.

When both have had to get around the house, she often has led the way, he has followed with a hand on her shoulder, and their golden doodle Vince, has trailed as caboose.

One would be hard pressed to think of a more charming act for a fundraiser.

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