Ira Tedoff is on the Renewal waiting list for a kidney donation. Renewal is holding an information meeting at Young Israel of Toco Hills on Sunday May 7 at 7pm. Read more about the Renewal here…
Ira Tedoff, now a 70-year-old clinical psychologist in Morningside, suffered great tragedy as a child. At 5, he lost his brother to leukemia, and when he was 10, his father died from kidney disease.
Now the father of three is awaiting a kidney transplant — a process that could take eight years — because he has just 7 percent kidney function.
His New York accent is full of light, though, like a softer version of Jerry Seinfeld. He holds a lingering hope that things will turn in his favor.
In 2012, Tedoff developed a simple cold, and a virus entered his heart. During an 11-day hospital stay, his vital organs shut down, fluid was drained from around his heart, and his kidneys suffered a major blow.
“We all thought my kidney function would return, but it accelerated degeneration,” Tedoff said.
Nearly two years have passed since he started feeling symptoms of decreased kidney function: fatigue and fogginess. He cut back on his psychology practice. His quality of life declined. His health and his young twins became his priorities.
“It’s a juggling act,” he said. “I take a nap when they are at school so I have the energy to be with them after school.”
When Tedoff spoke with the AJT, he was on the verge of having a shunt put in, one of the first steps toward starting dialysis.
His nephrologist said that if he can endure the symptoms a little longer, he can hold off on dialysis. But Tedoff said the doctor doesn’t want an emergency.
“While I don’t want to go into one of the (dialysis) centers three days a week, I also don’t want to do it at home. Can you imagine with 7-year-old twins? How do you keep them away?” Tedoff said. “But the question is, ‘How much discomfort can I tolerate?’ ”
Awaiting a match is tedious, nerve-racking and frustrating. Tedoff thought he had a match with a friend’s son who had overdosed on drugs; the patient turned out to be in worse health than Tedoff.
Soon after, a Facebook connection led him to a woman in North Carolina. She called him, a violation of protocol, and said she wanted to give him a kidney.
Then the entire situation turned on its head. After months of talking and prepping, the potential donor claimed that she met someone in a grocery store whose wife needed a kidney.
“I don’t know if it’s true. She could be trying to find a way to back out. She had insisted on meeting me and my wife. She said wouldn’t come to Atlanta (for the surgery) unless she met us,” he said.
Last month the potential donor let Tedoff know that if her other donation plan doesn’t work out, she will give him the kidney only if he travels to Duke University.
“What do we do now?” he said.