Gene Hilson III is ready to come home.
His life-saving kidney transplant from his mother on the day after Christmas worked just like everyone wanted.
"He's pulling out IVs and ripping strips off his incision. He's pretty much the active little boy that I thought he was going to be," said Angela Cheff, the child's mother.
The 6-year-old boy, released Wednesday from a Pittsburgh hospital, wants everything back to normal, Cheff said.
"I'm good," Gene said by phone Thursday.
Surgeons removed Cheff's left kidney and used it to take the place of the boy's two failing kidneys. Tests in June showed the boy suffering from chronic renal failure. He underwent dialysis three times a week until the surgery.
Doctors reported no complications from the operation, Cheff said.
"Everything's been pretty uneventful," she said.
For about two weeks, the family will stay in the Ronald McDonald House in Pittsburgh, as doctors observe Gene and calibrate his anti-rejection medication.
"He's always going to have to be on some kind of medication to suppress his immune system," said Dr. Paul Fadakar, a pediatric nephrologist at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh at UPMC, where the transplant was performed.
Cheff, a licensed practical nurse at Elderwood at Wheatfield, a Niagara County nursing home, stayed in another hospital, UPMC Montefiore, for only a day after doctors removed her kidney.
She said surgeons removed Gene's right kidney and also his appendix, apparently to make room for the transplanted kidney and prevent any future problems with the appendix.
Gene will undergo weekly checkups in Pittsburgh for the first month or so, and then the frequency will slowly decrease. She hopes her son can return to his first-grade class at Hyde Park Elementary School in the first week of February.
In the meantime, Gene plays as much as possible.
"He got a lot of new toys. He had a second Christmas. When we arrived on Christmas there was a Santa bag full of toys (from the hospital), and a lot of people have been sending him stuff," Cheff said.
Most of the toys came from relatives and school friends, while strangers sent e-cards to wish Gene well.
Gene especially likes the play kitchen at the Ronald McDonald House. "Hot dogs," he replied, when asked what he likes to cook.
"He wants his own room at Ronald McDonald House," Cheff said, noting the family stays in the equivalent of a one-bedroom apartment.
"I said, 'No, we'll be going home soon enough,' " Cheff said.