Stumping doctors, 85-year-old’s kidneys working again

A business owner and Vietnam veteran, Wayne Davis, 85, got a new lease on life when his kidneys — which failed when he had open-heart surgery in December 2018 — started functioning again.

Needing dialysis for more than 14 months, three times a week for three-and-a-half hours each session at one point, “I was very elated, obviously, and thankful for my recovery,” said Davis, a Farragut resident who celebrated his 85th birthday Friday, May 8, after getting news of his recovery in March.

“The good Lord is taking good care of me, obviously. He must have something else He wants me to do,” added Davis, owner of Farragut Lawn & Tractor, a John Deere dealer at Dixie Lee Junction, and member of The Rotary Club of Farragut.

“I thought, ‘I need to determine what that is.’”

He noted doctors did not know how his kidneys started functioning again.

“It’s just that they said it’s very rare that you come back online anyway, and also very rare at my age,” Davis said.

“Based on monthly tests they did at the dialysis center and my renal doctor, they determined that my kidneys had come back online sufficient to stop the dialysis. … So, I got a new lease on life,” he added.

Davis recalled his wife, Patti Davis, and four children were “probably more excited than what I was.

“They were very thankful and pleased,” he added. “It was a big relief, obviously, to my wife.”

Not having to undergo dialysis “allows me to get to work. I enjoy what I do or I wouldn’t be coming to work at my age,” Davis said. “I enjoy the people I meet on a daily basis. … This is part of the assets of this type of business.”

Davis was a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army whose Vietnam tours of duty ran from 1966 into 1967 and from 1970 into 1971.

“I’ve been told my exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam probably contributed to my kidneys failing when I had the surgery,” he said.

Davis had his first dialysis session on New Year’s Eve 2018, when he was still in the hospital recovering from the surgery.

The three day a week, three-and-a-half-hour sessions changed to twice a week for four hours each session.

“They did that at my insistence so I could have my Wednesdays available to go to Rotary,” he said.

Davis advised anyone about to go on dialysis to “get some good reading material” and laughed.

“You’re lying in a lounge chair for three to four hours, so it gives you an opportunity to get caught up on your reading,” he added.


Davis moved to Farragut in 1988, after retiring from a 25-year career in the Army, and bought Farragut Lawn & Tractor in 1991, partnering with a friend, Jim Montgomery of Farragut. Montgomery then retired in 1996.

“It’s a great place to live,” Davis said. “I enjoy doing business here.”