By Gary Lloyd
PINSON — This Christmas gift was five years in the making for a Pinson man.
Karl Pruitt, the associate dean for Liberal Arts and Sciences at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham for the past 14 years, was first diagnosed with renal disease about eight years ago. He’s been waiting on a kidney for the past five years.
On Dec. 12, Pruitt, 56, finally got the call he had been waiting for.
Representatives from a kidney foundation called, telling the Pruitt family that a kidney was available. There were three people on the list for the kidney, though, and Pruitt was told that he would be third in line, that two people appeared to be a better match.
Pruitt was admitted to UAB Hospital on Dec. 12, and on Dec. 13 at about 1:30 p.m., the doctors determined through a tissue sample that he was the best match for the kidney. He had surgery the same day. Pruitt’s health had been diminishing prior to the donation.
“He’s doing great,” said his wife, Cheryl Pruitt.
Cheryl said her family, which includes daughter and Rudd Middle School eighth-grader Arielle Pruitt, doesn’t know who the donor is or the circumstances surrounding the donation.
Pruitt, who previously taught chemistry and biology at Holy Family High School, did not have to be put on dialysis while waiting on the kidney.
“He stuck it out all the way until they called him,” Cheryl said.
Cheryl said Pruitt has been very active in the community, helping tornado victims because of his certification through training with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He’s used spare time to teach classes at Lawson State and Jefferson State Community College.
Pruitt will not work for at least the next five weeks. After that, he can return to work if he feels comfortable. He wanted to return last week.
“That’s the type of person he is,” Cheryl said. “He knows his students miss him. They’ve been calling him on the phone.”
On Christmas Day, Pruitt went to UAB Hospital to have his lab tests evaluated. Doctors were going to re-admit him if his kidney function levels were not where they should have been. The doctors told him to go home, to enjoy his Christmas.
“It’s been joyous,” Cheryl said.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.