[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Written By: Barbara Abrams for AAKP Kidney Transplant Today
The words, “I would like to help you out with your kidney,” jump off the screen and hit me in the face like a knockout punch. Dazed and numb, I feel like a prize fighter who is “Down for the Count.” I slowly drift back to reality. Am I dreaming? Nightmare? Is this a bad joke?
I deliberately concentrate on the remaining text emanating from my Facebook page. The next sentence reveals our connection to each other. I have an acquaintance Arline who saw my kidney blog and told her friend Janie about me. I breathe out an audible sigh and talk to the computer. Guess what this is real. This is not a dream. I am not imagining it. I contact her to give her the phone number of the donor line at Yale Transplantation Center. She is accepted as a candidate to donate to me. THIS IS Miracle #1!
We plan to see each other for the first time at the Transplant center. It just so happens Janie and I are scheduled for appointments on the same day in the morning. I call her after my appointment. She answers and whispers, “I’m waiting in a room for the social worker to see me. “Oh hell, I’ll be right out.” It’s as if I have known her all my life. We give each other a hug. We chat for a couple of minutes. She tells me she has always wanted to do this to help someone. It seems to me like a calling of sorts. Every step of this journey is more amazing than the one before. She goes back inside and I strut down the hall smiling like a Cheshire cat. Smug as a bug in a rug.
Halfway through her testing I receive a text. Barbara, “I am a match for you.” I am in shock. I hear myself saying, “Are you kidding me?” Miracle #2. She finishes her testing within a few short months. She now has to be reviewed by a board of doctors to give the go ahead. Waiting, waiting, and more waiting.
A couple of months go by. Out of my control. Then the phone rings. I am in the Milford Public Library picking out movies to pass the time at dialysis. Four hours I sit in a chair hooked up to a machine (dialyzer) that works the same way as healthy kidneys. My access to the machine is with two needles in my arm. The dialysis is keeping me alive. I hear my donor on the other end of the phone say,
“Are you busy Dec. 13th?”
“I don’t know, what day is it?”
“It’s a Tuesday.” Suddenly the phone cuts out. I scramble around to get the signal back.
“Did you hear me?”
“Yes, something about Dec. 13th.” I’m thinking she wants to invite me for lunch or dinner. It doesn’t even cross my mind that the news is going to be earth shattering.
“I don’t think I’m busy. It’s a few weeks away.”
“Well, don’t make any plans. It is our transplant date.” Miracle #3
I well up with tears of joy. I can’t breathe. I scream silently. After all, I am in the library. It must be the same feeling an inmate experiences when he walks out of prison to be free.
Free, Free, Free, I say it over and over again. Free of dialysis, No more needles and everything that goes with it. No more getting up in the dark at 5:00am to be at dialysis for 5:45. I can get some decent sleep. I CAN EAT ANYTHING I WANT. Look out candy aisle. I’m buying up Baby Ruth bars, Nestle Crunch, Snickers, and Milky Way, to name a few. Imagine, denying me chocolate and nuts. I am going to Costco to buy the gigantic jar of cashews. I don’t care if all my avocados ripen at the same time. I’ll make guacamole. These foods were forbidden because they contain phosphorus. I had a high phosphorus level.
I am getting a new kidney, a new used kidney from a perfect stranger. A living donor is the best choice for the transplant. I tell the librarian, a young girl. She looks at me as if I have two heads. The hell with her. I’ll tell someone who cares. Do I believe in miracles? Now I do. I’m living proof. It is now three weeks and two days since my transplant. Everything is terrific. Being grateful doesn’t cut it. How could I top the ultimate sacrifice of my donor giving her organ willingly and lovingly? The point is, I can’t. She doesn’t need my accolades.
In her heart, she fulfills her lifelong dream of helping another human being who can live with one kidney. Life is precious and unpredictable. Please don’t ever take it for granted. I did, until I got sick. Now I relish everyday as a gift, a true miracle.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]