POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- What God led David Morgeson to do is probably a first for Poplar Bluff.
On Jan. 24, he entered Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis and donated one of his kidneys to Carol Aldridge, 49, someone he didn't know.
Aldridge said, "It saved my life."
"I work with her husband, Greg, and we go to the same church," said Morgeson, 38.
Greg and Carol Aldridge of Poplar Bluff and David and Candi Morgeson and their daughter, Autumn, 7, of Harviell, Mo., attend Westwood Baptist Church. David and Greg work at Gates Rubber Co.
Greg Aldridge's kidney was a match for his wife and he tried in August to donate a kidney but he failed the intensive pretesting.
"Greg was going to do it," Carol Aldridge said. "He was on the verge of high blood pressure and he got turned down."
Carol Aldridge suffered a heart attack in August 1994 and soon after started having problems with her kidneys. They deteriorated to where her doctor told her she would have to have a transplant within two years.
"The kidney doctor I go to kept me going six years," she said, and had put her on dialysis last March.
She did the dialysis for 12 1/2 at home every day, she said, hooking up to the machine at night. By September, Aldridge felt she had been on a roller coaster ride from being on the organ transplant list.
Initially she had mixed emotions when she overheard Morgeson at church tell her husband that he would like to try to donate one of his kidneys.
"I was excited but I didn't want to get overenthused," she said.
"Greg had introduced me to him before, but I didn't really remember him," she said.
In the meeting at the kidney transplant office, Aldridge told her husband that even if Morgeson changed his mind, he had blessed her with his enthusiasm to do it.
Aldridge said she was scheduled and prepped for a kidney transplant in October from a cadaver but the kidney was bruised and couldn't be used.
Morgeson said he prayed about it for a week and that he felt in his heart that it was something God was directing him to do.
Morgeson had initially thought about offering a kidney to Aldridge in July but held off after he heard her husband was being tested.
"From the very beginning we always felt this was what God wanted him to do," Candi Morgeson said.
David Morgeson used six weeks of sick leave at work to have the surgery and allow for recovery time. He spent a week at Barnes Hospital and was released Jan. 26.
Morgeson said his kidneys tested normal.
"They say the kidney I have left will double in size, to take care of the one missing," he said, adding that he has to go in for tests in two months and then yearly to test his kidney function.
Kidney tested fine
Aldridge's transplanted kidney tested fine last week, but she has to go in for further heart testing.
"I would do it again," Morgeson said.
"All he would say after surgery," Candi Morgeson said, was "'It was worth it.'"
"You don't really know someone until you know what they will sacrifice," Greg Aldridge said.