Local florist donates kidney to father

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Local florist donates kidney to father

Rhonda Bullington, owner of Loess Hills Floral Studio, talks to shop pet and mascot Ripley on Wednesday. It was Bullington’s first day back at work after undergoing surgery to donate one of her kidneys to her father, Ron McNulty. After being away from her shop for two weeks, Rhonda Bullington was eager to get back to her flowers as the store mascot, Ripley, lay in his bed on his counter perch to watch as she worked. Bullington had undergone an extended trip to the Nebraska Medical Center — not because of the various illnesses creeping around this season, but to donate a kidney to her father, Ron McNulty of Lincoln, Neb. “Even if I hadn’t turned out to be a candidate to donate to him, I would have easily given to someone else on the list,” she said. Her business, Loess Hills Floral Studio, is on the ground floor of the Harvester Artist Lofts building. On Wednesday, she was busy slowly readjusting to life while still feeling the impact of being opened up. But regret it? No way, she said. “Everyone who can do it should,” she said. “It feels like I’ve done something good for someone else.” Last June, McNulty’s health began to worsen, she said. He began to suffer renal failure and had to be put on dialysis. While he was added to the list for donors, being 75 years old meant he wasn’t likely to see a kidney coming his way for some time. Bullington said the idea to donate one of hers was something that simply came to her without question or hesitation. In fact, it was more difficult to get McNulty to go along with the plan, she said with a laugh. “He was worried, of course. He kept thinking what if something went wrong,” she said. While there are risks connected to the surgery and changes she will deal with the rest of her life afterward, it didn’t weigh heavily on her mind. Thus began a battery of tests to make sure Bullington was suitable for donation. And, wouldn’t you believe it, she was a near-perfect match in terms of blood type and antibodies, easing the process for McNulty so the kidney won’t readily be rejected by his body. “I had everything tested. And I mean everything,” she said. That included an ‘intravenous pyelography’ test which injected dye into her system to test her kidneys’ efficiency. Everything was set. The surgery date of Jan. 17 neared, but McNulty came down with pneumonia, and things were postponed — he had to be as healthy as possible before undergoing surgery. Which meant more time for Bullington to mentally prepare herself. Going under surgery when one isn’t actually sick is a different kind of experience, she added. But the staff at the hospital made sure the process was as unintimidating as possible. So on Feb. 15, she and her father went under, and the operation went flawlessly, she said. Donors usually return home much sooner afterward […]